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France Rail Strike -- Can I Still Get Train Tomorrow?
June 14, 2014 2:23 AM   Subscribe

In Paris with new husband, atrocious French skills. Haven't seen my Brit sister in over 15 years and she booked us hotel in Deauville-Trouville to meet tomorrow, 15 June. All I know is the train leaves from Gare St Lazare. The NCSF site requires Europe billing address so we couldn't buy ticket online, and train listings appear and disappear. We are getting frantic about what is happening. Train strike appears to be renewed, from what I can glean. Can anyone help?
posted by Locative to Travel & Transportation around France (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Related.
posted by persona au gratin at 2:25 AM on June 14


Thank you. My husband found tickets listed for the morning train on a site called Rail Europe. Not sure if that is a legit site. Should we buy them, or should we go to St-Lazare now? I am so lost in terms of train travel that even the related thread confused me. We have no Eurail tickets and neither of us have ever taken any train in Europe except the Metro. I am so confused. At least the person in the related thread holds tickets of some kind to start. Any info would be appreciated more than you can imagine.
posted by Locative at 2:36 AM on June 14


Either go to St Lazare now and get tickets for the first train (if you're lucky), or go rent a car. Your destination is not so far you should discount driving there. If you rent a car, consider doing it from the suburbs so it's a little cheaper and a lot easier to drive. Difficulty level: most of the cars here are manuals. They will give you a crash course if you need it.
posted by whatzit at 2:52 AM on June 14


Or, find a car going your way on the car-sharing service called covoiturage / blablacar which will be going your way. I imagine the drivers have their pick of passengers these days, though.
posted by whatzit at 2:54 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Thank you. Going to Gare St-Lazare now. I hope I won't need to investigate driving but thank you for listing those options as well. If anyone else has thoughts or recommendations, I welcome them -- as you can see, I need all the help I can get.
posted by Locative at 3:09 AM on June 14


Also fwiw I have bought tickets on the SNCF site with a US credit card - the key is, oddly, to select Afghanistan as your location. It is very picky about which cards it will accept though.
posted by mskyle at 3:51 AM on June 14


If you go to St Lazare, get on the train - don't worry if you don't have a ticket/the right ticker as there are no controls during strikes.

If you don't want to drive, you can check out car sharing sites like blablacar - there a couple of cars leaving tomorrow morning that look still available.

Good luck to you - this strike is particularly not fun!
posted by motdiem2 at 4:05 AM on June 14


Thank you everyone for your help. My husband was able to purchase tickets at the station for a 14:43 train departing from St-Lazare tomorrow, he even purchased insurance, which seems kind of meaningless in a strike but I couldn't dissuade him. We have never taken this kind of train tomorrow much less a train during a strike, so I'm assuming as long as we get there an hour early our train will be sitting in the station and we can just board it?

I did check out blablacar, there were several people going tomorrow -- seemed like an airbnb of rides. I will keep that site in mind, thank you.

I am sympathetic to the workers, it sounds like they are subject to some unreasonable conditions. I just wish my French and general French cultural knowledge were good enough that I could navigate this without panic.

Thank you, Metafilter!
posted by Locative at 5:11 AM on June 14


Whilst it's always a good idea to allow plenty if time to travel if you're nervous an hr is probably excessive. It's not like an airport. Trains spend maybe 5- 15 mins at stations before leaving again. You turn up, walk to the platform and board the train (if it's already arrived) or wait until it does. So by all means aim to be there in good time but if you've got somewhere more pleasant to spend 40 mins of that hr you'll have plenty of time to find out your platform and board the train. If there are strike related problems more often than not it's cancellations and delays, no train ever leaves early.
posted by koahiatamadl at 6:22 AM on June 14


Raileurope.com is a legit site. I can't speak to exactly how accurate its listings are during a strike situation like this, maybe slightly lagging, maybe as good as anyone else.
posted by gimonca at 7:14 AM on June 14


Seconding that there's no point in getting there beyond maybe a half hour. The platform (aka "quai") where the train is going to leave from won't even be announced before then, so it's not like you could queue up even if you wanted to. The announcements will be in French first, but then in English, though it may be hard to hear. However, the monitors will be updated with the information as well. Make sure you know what the final destination of the train is, which I think is Cherbourg. That's what will show on the monitor, as well as the train number.
Also, you can check the status of your train in English. From that page, your train has not been cancelled, but several others are. That's good for you. You should have or be able to get a seat reservation for the "INTERCITÉS" portion (the first leg) but be prepared that the last leg doesn't have reservations.
posted by wnissen at 7:19 AM on June 14


Thank you, everyone! It worked out and we made it. Once again MetaFilter comes through. All of your help is greatly appreciated!
posted by Locative at 8:56 AM on June 15


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