HomeUncategorizedLast train on UK-Paris link, new hybrid ferry: 8 French travel updates

Last train on UK-Paris link, new hybrid ferry: 8 French travel updates

1. The Last “Disneyland Express” Leaves London

The last train from London St Pancras to the Disneyland Paris stop of Marne-la-Vallée departs at 10.34am on Monday (June 5), almost a year after Eurostar first warned it would close the route. .

The live service has been popular with British families since its launch in 1996, but the company said last summer it would focus on “core routes” as part of the process. recovery after the Covid pandemic.

Read more: Eurostar cancels direct London-Disneyland Paris train for June 2023

Eurostar added it will oversee the development of the EU’s proposed new digital border system and wants to “focus on providing reliable service with the experience our customers expect.” properly”.

Read more: New European immigration system: 9 important things to know in advance

British tourists to the theme park will now have to travel to the Paris Gare du Nord and then take the RER to Marne-la-Vallée. Also, they can change in Lille.

In related news, it was reported last week that Eurostar’s Amsterdam link could also be suspended from June next year until the end of May 2025 when the capital’s main station is renovated.

Dutch media reported that Dutch infrastructure secretary Vivianne Heijnen had warned that no Eurostar trains would run to or from Amsterdam Centraal during construction.

However, following harsh criticism from tourists and following a meeting with Eurostar CEO Gwendoline Cazenave on Monday, Ms. Heijnen is now looking into whether the existing station can continue to be used during the transit. renovation process or not until a temporary facility is ready.

2. Road investment falls in France as government outlines regional transport package

French Transport Minister Clément Beaune outlined how increased investment in regional transport could take place over the next five years.

In a media address on Tuesday (June 6), he said the state will pour 8.6 billion euros into regional traffic during this period, an increase of “50%” compared to the previous period. 2015 to 2022.

Mr Beaune said priority would be given to rail and public transport, with the budget growing by 90% every year, Mr Beaune said – “nearly doubling the effort”.

In February, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne announced her desire to invest 100 billion euros in rail infrastructure between now and 2040.

Read more: Strikes, Eurostar deals, Brittany Ferry: Eight France travel updates

“We are starting discussions with the regions about the concrete implementation of the 100 billion euro plan,” Mr. Beaune said.

The government has earmarked 800 million euros for urban RER systems, including in Strasbourg, Lille, Nantes, Rennes and Rouen.

Read more: Macron announces RER commuter train project for 10 French cities

Around 900 million euros will also go towards freight projects while funding for waterways, ports and bicycle routes will also increase.

“The share of road traffic will decrease as 70% of funding will be spent on railways and public transport. Therefore, we will have to be more selective with regard to road projects,” said Beaune.

The contract is expected to be signed with the local government in the fall.

3. France prepares for a bumper rail travel summer

Environmental concerns and soaring airfares are responsible for unprecedented rail bookings in France this summer.

So far, bookings on SNCF Voyageurs are up 20% this summer compared to last year, as passengers appear undeterred by the cost-of-living crisis in their quest to holiday. .

Read more: Train ticket discounts in France from €3: where can I buy them?

“We have had a record summer in 2022, with more than 23 million passengers on main routes in France. This year we hope to at least achieve the same,” said Christophe Fanichet, Director executive officer of SNCF Voyageurs, told AFP.

“The indicators are all positive,” he added. “The entire travel and entertainment industry is saying the same thing. Tourism is doing well!

“Despite inflation and a bit of gloom, the French still adore a bit of holiday happiness.

He said French people see rail fares as a necessity when they want to go on holiday, with more and more young people attracted to the green certificates of transport.

Read more: Greener, faster, more power: see the new French TGV being tested

Mr Fanichet reassures visitors that although seats fill up quickly, the state-owned operator is doing its best to maximize resources.

“All of our trains will be departing and are being prepared for the summer,” he said.

“Despite industrial activity in recent weeks, we have managed to stick to our maintenance schedule, look ahead, and have the necessary components in place to ensure that all air conditioning systems are not The gas is fully updated and the fleet is always 100% ready.”

Read more: New rules for train ticket refunds due to delays in France

4. Will the Lyon-Barcelona route reopen before July?

Spain’s state-owned railway operator Renfe is set to reopen a high-speed line between Lyon and Barcelona during the summer break after it was halted last December.

The line, co-managed by SNCF and Renfe, is expected to resume operations between now and July under Renfe’s own management.

Two round trips will be provided per day, according to BFM, claims Renfe has received all the necessary permits, has trained its drivers, booked train lines and conducted online tests. Only the ticketing system remains to complete.

A Marseille-Madrid route is also said to be on the card, as is one between Paris and Lyon ahead of next year’s Olympics.

Read more: New UK-France flights, TGV changes, tunnel closures: 8 travel updates

5. Landslide causes severe delays for trains between Lyon and Grenoble

Trains between Lyon and Grenoble are still facing delays after a landslide damaged the tracks between the cities.

France’s state-owned railway operator SNCF announced on Thursday that repair work on the line has begun, but services between the two cities will not return to normal until June 8. June 14th.

The landslide, which followed torrential rain in the area on Saturday (June 3), has caused some trains to be rerouted and others to be completely replaced with temporary bus service .

Trains further into the mountainous region of Savoie and Haute-Savoie were also affected, including the Lyon-Chambéry route.

Read more: The first French when the city collects parking fees related to the weight of cars

6. Brittany Ferries’ economic recovery ‘slower than expected’

Brittany Ferries is returning to pre-2019 levels of activity, but full recovery will take longer than expected.

The ferry operator, which mainly runs routes between Britain and France, says it recovered about 65% of its passengers in the winter period (November 2022 – March 2023) compared to the 2018-19 period.

Despite its focus on Anglo-French routes, the recovery has been largely driven by non-Ireland routes – the company’s France-Ireland routes have seen a 171% increase in passenger numbers and routes between Ireland and Spain increased 201%.

At the same time, the company reported a drop in tourist numbers between the UK and France.

In addition to the drop in passenger numbers on major routes, the company said fierce competition is affecting the recovery.

It says there is a fare war between operators, to the detriment of Brittany Ferries as competitors are using cheap labor outside of Europe to lower their prices.

“P&O and Irish Ferries have the means to pursue a low-cost policy, a competitive distortion that is actually undermining the ability of a company like Brittany Ferries to return to growth, which employs workers. leading French sailors,” it said.

Read more: UK-France flights intensify, ferry criticism: 8 French travel updates

7. Ryanair cancels 400 flights due to strike in France

Low-cost airline Ryanair said it was forced to cancel more than 400 flights across Europe on Tuesday (June 6), due to Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) strikes in France.

About one-eighth of all airline flights have been cancelled, what Ryanair Group CEO Michael O’Leary called “completely untenable.”

The ATCs have gone on strike as part of protests against pension reform in France, which will see the minimum retirement age increase from 62 to 64.

Ryanair said when ATC is down, it will affect all flights using French airspace, even if they don’t land or take off in the country.

The airline recently filed a petition – which garnered 1.1 million signatures – opposing the strikes.

It called for an end to priority for French domestic flights when the strike occurred.

“The French can use the TGV, they can use the highway. But those flying over France are having their flights unnecessarily canceled because the European Commission… will not act,” Mr. O’Leary said.

Read more: Easyjet boss says strike in France has ‘unacceptable consequences’

8. P&O Ferry welcomes the arrival of its first hybrid ship

P&O Ferries’ first tugboat has arrived in Dover.

The company expects Pioneer to use 40% less fuel than other ships passing between Dover and Calais.

The £230 million vessel, powered by fuel and batteries, will make its maiden voyage between Britain and France on June 19.

The company has also ordered a second tugboat, Freewill be operational by the end of this year.

In the future, tugboats may be completely carbon-free, but this depends on the charging capacity at Dover and Calais, which currently have no ports equipped to charge the ships’ batteries.

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