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French regional train services cancelled due to driver shortages

The Local France
The Local France - [email protected]
French regional train services cancelled due to driver shortages
Photo credit: Bertrand Langlois, AFP.

A shortage of drivers and other staff has led the French rail operator SNCF to announce that it will have to cancel some regional services in October.

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SNCF announced on Thursday that it would be cancelling 140 of the regional TER services in the north of the country at the end of October, to deal with the ongoing shortage in train operators, according to Le Parisien. 

Full details of the cancelled services will be announced shortly, the operator said.

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The services expected to be most impacted are the lines between Paris and Saint-Quentin, Compiègne and Amiens, Paris and Beauvais, and Beauvais and Creil.

In response to the driver shortage, SNCF will implement an "adapted transport plan" (PTA) at the end of the month - with the goal of training and recruiting drivers in the Oise area of northern France specifically.

The national rail service is seeking to recruit at least 440 employees for the Hauts-de-France region's TER service, which has been particularly hard-hit by staff shortages. 

The lack of staff at France's national rail service has been an ongoing problem for several months.

When discussing the trains to be taken out of service at the end of October, Franck Dhersin, the regional authority for transport, told Le Parisien that "the truth is that these trains are already out of service."

"Every day, between 80 and 90 trains are cancelled. SNCF can no longer manage because for years they have not recruited. We strongly regret this transport plan that is imposed on us and demand the return of these trains when the training has been done," said Dhersin.

France's national rail service has been struggling to recruit - a problem that 20 minutes attributes to low pay and other constraints, such as non-ideal shift work schedules. 

On top of struggling to recruit, SNCF has faced a rise in employee resignations and dropouts of those currently undergoing training to work as train drivers. 

In the Paris region, the lack of drivers has also resulted in many cancelled services, with the impact primarily being felt on the suburban Transilien trains and RER services.

From the beginning of the school year to the end of the month of September, around 21 trains per day were cancelled on the RER D and 19 on the RER C, due to a lack of drivers to run them. 

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