TGV train seating during the strike
June 4, 2016 2:04 PM   Subscribe

Hi everyone. My wife and I are traveling from Paris to Lyon on the TGV Monday. Our train has apparently been cancelled, but I've been told by SNCF that I can board any TGV that's running that day, with the caveat that there's no guaranteed seating. When I board, are the reserved seats clearly marked, so that I'll know where the free seats are? I've only ever taken the TGV during regular conditions, so this is all very new to me. Thanks all.
posted by reformedjerk to Travel & Transportation around Paris, France (6 answers total)
This is a German example, but they usually look like this on a little screen above the seats--these seats are reserved beteween Dortmund and Hamburg. If it's before Dortmund or after Hamburg, you're welcome to sit there.

There are some pictures of the interior of TGVs knocking about. You can clearly see the screens in the "older interiors" picture. You can just make them out in the video on that site.

(By the way, "no guaranteed seating" may mean "you're welcome to stand part or all of the way". I don't know enough about French trains, though.)
posted by hoyland at 2:21 PM on June 4, 2016

Best answer: TGV seats are not marked so the only way to know is to choose a seat and wait until the train starts. If nobody claims this particular seat it's yours. If someone shows up with the seat reservation, try to find another one and if all seats are taken, you'll have to stand for 2 hours or sit on the ground somewhere...
posted by elgilito at 2:24 PM on June 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: My last experience of TGV strikes is that there are no assigned seatings at all. Granted, this was in 2008, so things might have changed since then. You get on the train and pick the first seats you see.

I have seen people show up to request their assigned seats, but those are pretty rare. I've seen people refuse to give up their (non-assigned) seats on strike day (or any other day for that matter). As I was young at the time, I would have given up the seat and tried to find another one but no one ever requested my seat.

Many French people avoid trains during strike days so this tends to free up enough seats. That said, I have seen people stand for a few legs of a train ride.

My tip: be there early so you can be on the track the minute they announce the train is coming.
posted by Milau at 2:25 PM on June 4, 2016

Best answer: All the seats have numbers as normally TGVs are reservation only. But as elgilito and others say, you can pick a numbered seat anyway, and hope that no one has reserved it.

There are actually places in the stairwells you can sit. Some TGVs have padded bench-type seats there. You can also sit in the bar/restaurant car. Or on stairs.

Bon courage!
posted by fraula at 4:10 PM on June 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: What fraula said. Definitely get to Gare de Lyon early to scope things out.
posted by anathema at 4:49 PM on June 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for all the help guys! It was basically what everyone here said. We showed up, and just sat down on some steps. But just as the train was leaving, a nice local guy came out and told us there were a couple of seats unclaimed in the 1e class compartment, and that during these strikes it was totally acceptable to just sit wherever and move when asked. We ended up sitting there the whole trip. The actual staff weren't really super helpful though. But in any case, we got to Lyon earlier than our original train and had a great time.
posted by reformedjerk at 11:09 AM on June 12, 2016

« Older How to Netflix for my parents   |   Cork, Cobh, Ring of Kerry in 7 hours? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.