/More French strikes force Eurostar to continue reduced timetable

More French strikes force Eurostar to continue reduced timetable

Published on Monday, January 6, 2020

Continuing strike action in France has led Eurostar to extend its limited service until at least January 11.

The train operator had hoped its reduced service would return to normal today but has said it will be extended as more industrial action gets underway.

The nationwide general strike started on Sunday, with some Paris metro lines completely closed.

Air France said on Sunday it plans to run its entire schedule today and tomorrow, January 6 and 7, despite calls by unions to strike as part of ongoing nationwide protests over the government’s efforts to reform the pension system.

Cross-channel ferry services are likely to be affected on Thursday, when industrial action is due to take place at ports.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said: “Significant industrial action is continuing across France. This is primarily affecting transport and public services, with ongoing cancellations and severe delays to train, metro, bus and tram services.

“Eurostar is operating a reduced service between London St Pancras and Paris Gare du Nord until at least 11 January. Other international rail services such as those to the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Germany may also be affected.

“Industrial action at ports, including on Thursday 9 January, may disrupt traffic and could cause delays and cancellations to cross-Channel ferry services.

“Industrial action by hauliers on some major roads may also cause blockages or delays to road travel.

“Strike action by Air France workers and air traffic controllers may also cause disruption to air travel.

“If you’re due to travel to or within France, check the website of your chosen operator for the latest information before you set off. In the event of any disruption to Channel crossings, information about alternative routes and operators is available via this interactive map.

“As part of the ongoing industrial action, wider demonstrations are planned across France. Avoid demonstrations wherever possible and follow the advice of the local authorities.”

Eurostar said: “Trade unions in France have called for a nationwide general strike from 5 December 2019. 

“The strike action will impact our ability to deliver the usual timetable as we expect disruption to signalling along all routes. As a result, we will now run a reduced timetable until 11 January.”

French news service The Local France said travel disruption in Paris and on the railways is set to continue from today, which marks the return to work for many people after the festive season.

Metro lines will be open but will run a reduced service and some stations will be closed. Yesterday (Sunday January 5), the first day of the strike, many lines were closed. Eighty per cent of high-speed TGV trains will run, while Intercité trains that link France’s cities and Transilien commuter services in the greater Paris region are running a third of the normal number of train services.

A poll published on Friday shows 61% of French people still support the strike, although the number is dropping.

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