French rail operator unveils new routes for budget Ouigo trains

France's budget train operator Ouigo has added several new destinations for the high-speed TGV services, with tickets set to go on sale next month.

French rail operator unveils new routes for budget Ouigo trains
(Photo: Denis Charlet / AFP)

The high-speed TGV routes in France come with two options – the traditional Inoui services and the Ouigo services which are cheaper but more basic, not offering services like a buffet car.

SNCF on Tuesday announced the launch of new Ouigo services between Paris and Brest, and Paris and Perpignan for €19, and Paris-La Rochelle for €16.

In Brittany, Ouigo is extending its services between Rennes and Brest, with trains to stop at stations in Saint-Brieuc, Guingamp and Morlaix. 

These trains already linked Paris to Quimper via Rennes, Vannes and Lorient.

Stations at Niort and Surgères will be served by the new link between Paris and La Rochelle. 

Tickets for the new services go on sale from October 5th – but, at this stage, when the new services start remains publicly unknown; or whether the Ouigo operations will replace or be in addition to current TGV services.

Since its launch in 2013, Ouigo has established itself throughout France, on the TGV network, with the promise of lower ticket prices, with extra fees for luggage or access to a power point. 

In April, the company started offering a “Ouigo Train Classique” service, providing Paris-Lyon connections in slower trains.

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UPDATE: French air traffic controllers cancel strike action in September

The main union representing French air traffic controllers has cancelled calls for a strike from September 28th to 30th, after "reaching an agreement with their supervisory ministry."

UPDATE: French air traffic controllers cancel strike action in September

SNCTA, the main union for air traffic controllers said this week that they had lifted their calls for a three-day strike at the end of September after coming to an agreement with France Ministry of Transport. 

In a statement on its website, the SNCTA said “In view of the concrete progress made on the demands, the SNCTA is lifting its [strike] notice for September 28th, 29th and 30th. The strong mobilisation of September 16th was necessary and instrumental for reaching this conciliation in a very constrained calendar. Thank you to all of you!” 

The French ministry of transport has not yet commented on the above agreement or lifting of the strike.

The International Air Transport Association tweeted their support for the SNCTA’s decision to cancel further industrial action, calling Friday’s strike “unnecessary.”

The association also urged the European Union to implement a “Single European Sky.” This reform, which was put forward almost 20 years ago, has not yet reached fruition. It intends to shift the current system of air traffic organisation away from national borders and toward a “coherent zone” in order to reduce emissions and save both time and money.

The strike on September 16th left over 1,000 flights in France grounded, as well as widespread delays and over 2,400 flight cancellations across Europe. 

The SNCTA mobilised for wage increases due to the rising cost of living, in addition to an acceleration of recruitment in order to anticipate a wave of retirements. After Friday’s action, the union had called for further strikes from September 28th to 30th before reaching an agreement with their supervisory ministry.