Chaos in France as the SNCF Strike Makes History:We had a rather challenging day yesterday trying to get from Cologne to Metz (in France). Our train trip was to be Cologne – Mannheim – Saarbrücken and from there to cross over into France to Metz. I found out while checking the Oui.SNCF website a day ago that the Saarbrücken to Metz French TER train was cancelled so we decided to quickly buy a Flixbus ticket instead. I thought we were all set when we were on the train from Cologne to Mannheim.
Alas, we had internet access on the ICE train and I got an email saying that the train from Mannheim to Saarbrücken was also not running. I asked the train conductor and he said that it was because of the strike. What, but this is a German train I said. Ah, he answered, but its end destination is in France.
Check your train’s destination
It was a Deutsche Bahn train, going from one German city to another and it didn’t occur to me that it could be caught up by the strike in France. But because the train was crossing into France later after Saarbrücken they cancelled the whole journey. The moral of the story is to check your train’s end destination.
We ended up having to catch two very slow local trains (with a brief five minute connection, bit of stress there) to Saarbrücken station, where we piled into a taxi to take us to catch our Flixbus. There were lots of other people scrambling around trying to find alternative options for their travel. Our journey started at 10 am and we finally arrived in Metz at 4 pm.
To add insult to injury, there were no taxis at the Metz Gare Routiere (bus station), so Tony had to walk 1 km to the train station to fetch one. The taxi driver said that it was “une catastrophe” for the taxi business as well. If no-one’s arriving by train, then there’s no business for them. It’s the longest strike in French history. Sadly, it doesn’t seem like there’s going to be an end soon.
If you’re travelling by train during the SNCF strike, be aware that you would most likely be affected. Our apartment landlady’s daughter said that she was in Paris a couple of weeks ago and the Metros were also not running.
There’s another French strike and “manifestation” planned for the 9th January, when we are supposed to be enjoying a restful journey to Paris in TGV first class; the omens are not auspicious for us having such a relaxed trip…