Christmas Holidays: Over 4.5 Million Travelers Have Already Reserved Long-Distance Trains
As the holiday season approaches, the French rail network is experiencing a surge in demand, with more than 4.5 million travelers already booking long-distance train journeys. Recent figures released by SNCF to BFMTV indicate that this includes reservations for TGV Inoui, Intercités, and Ouigo trains, with one in five travelers opting for the latter. This overall reservation figure shows a slight increase compared to the previous year, which was marked by significant strikes in December.
Holiday Travel Trends
SNCF reveals that a total of 12,000 journeys will be facilitated during the entire holiday period, with various train services operating. Popular destinations include Brittany, Rhône-Alpes, the Southwest, Provence, and Grand-Est. The company anticipates a significant influx of passengers this weekend, with one million travelers expected. Additionally, nearly half (45%) of the 2,000 trains in operation are already fully booked.
Challenges for Eurostar
Earlier in the day, Getlink, the operator of the Channel Tunnel, announced a complete interruption of rail traffic between France and the United Kingdom due to an unexpected strike just before the Christmas holidays. Syndicates rejected the year-end bonus of €1,000 announced by the company’s management, leading to a call for a strike to demand a threefold increase. This unforeseen disruption raises concerns about chaos on Eurostar services.
Eurostar’s Response and Minister’s Call to Action
Eurostar, on the X social network, advised travelers to postpone their journeys if possible due to the closure of the Channel Tunnel and “persistent uncertainty.” The traffic interruption is expected to last at least until mid-afternoon, with Eurostar mentioning that evening trains are currently scheduled to run. Responding to the situation, French Minister of Transport, Clément Beaune, expressed his dissatisfaction with the Channel Tunnel blockade, stating that an immediate solution must be found. He urged everyone to act responsibly to ensure smooth holiday travel.