Transport systems in France were severely crippled this week as thousands of employees working for the country's aviation and rail sectors left their posts, leaving thousands of commuters stranded in stations and airports.
Air traffic controllers started the abandon work spree on Tuesday, and was followed two days after by the French rail workers. The stoppage triggered by the air controllers were over protests on plans to create a single European airspace. The rail workers were protesting on the other hand the plan to privatize some transport services that have been long managed by the state.
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The air strike, which unions originally scheduled to continue Thursday, have been cancelled on Thursday.
However, the dilemma isn't over yet. Tourists who need to go or get out of Paris airports by trains are left helpless right smack into the rail strike.
According to local news portal www.thelocal.fr, the rail strike which began at 7pm French time on Wednesday will last until 8am French time on Friday. Although it should not disrupt the Eurostar, Thalys or Alléo services between Paris, London, Brussels and Germany, it is expected nonetheless to disrupt other routes.
The following is a breakdown of journey frequency on France's rail network, according to French television TF1.
- TGV East - 2/3 journeys, TGV South-east - 1/3, TGV Atlantic - 1/2, TGV North - 4/10, TGV province to province - 1/3
- Paris-Normandy, Paris-Amiens, Paris-St.Quentin, Paris-Orléans-Tours, Paris-Nevers-Clermont Ferrand - 1/3
- Paris-Limoges-Toulouse - 4/10
- Bordeaux-Nice - 1/2
- All overnight Lunéa Intercity trains have been cancelled for Wednesday into Thursday and Thursday into Friday
- Normal service on Eurostar, Thalys and Alléo lines to and from Paris, London, Brussels and Germany
- Trains to Switzerland - 1/2
- Trains to Italy - 1/3
- Normal service on night trains to Berlin and Moscow
- No guaranteed day or night trains to Spain
- In the Paris region: RER A - close to normal service, RER C and E - 1/2, RER B and D - 1/3
Interconnexion not guaranteed at Gare du Nord or Gare de Lyon
- Line H - 1/2, with buses running between Creil and Pontoise, Lines L and J - 1/3
- Lines N and U - at rush hour, four trains per hour between Plaisir-Grignon and Paris, and between La Verrière and La Défense
- Line R - 1/3, Line P - 1/3, T4 tram-train - service replaced by bus
- TER - 4/10
The mass action by the air traffic controllers affected 75 per cent of French flights on Tuesday and Wednesday.
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