Strikes in France: Paris woman gives birth on RER commuter train during rush hour crush

Strikes in France: Paris woman gives birth on RER commuter train during rush hour crush
RER services have been extremely crowded in recent days. Illustration photo: AFP
In the midst of the chaos caused by a mass transport strike, one Paris woman had a particularly memorable journey home - giving birth at a station on the RER suburban train network.

The young woman boarded the RER train at Gare de Lyon on Wednesday evening, heading out to the southern Paris suburbs.

But during the journey she went into labour, giving birth at the Villeneuve-Saint-Georges station on the outskirts of Paris.

 

She had a healthy baby girl, reported SNCF officials, adding that although the traffic on the line had to be interrupted, her fellow commuters reacted positively.

The RER service which links Paris to its suburbs has been badly hit by the strike, with an average of one in three services running during rush hour.

This has meant that the services have been extremely busy in recent days as desperate commuters struggle to reach the further out suburbs, from which walking or cycling into Paris is not an option.

READ ALSO Why those in the Paris suburbs are the worst hit by the ongoing strikes

The crush prompted scenes of near panic at Gare du Nord station on Monday as thousands of people tried to cram onto one of the few trains running.

 

Births in RER trains happen every so often and it has become a custom for SNCF to offer a permanent Navigo travel pass to every child born inside their rolling stock. 

This is also the case on the Metro – a boy born on the Line 6 in November 2018 was given a free Navigo card until his 25th birthday. 

“We have a new customer and we are going to welcome the newborn with a gesture,” said a SNCF spokesperson without providing any further detail.

READ ALSO How strikes are hitting transport in France on Thursday

By Jean-Baptiste Andrieux


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