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Odd practice by SNCF?


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On the Monday following the fatal rail crash at Paris, a couple of weeks ago, I went onto the SNCF website to try and book tickets from Toulouse to Chateauroux for two days later. (This is the line that was involved, so I wasn't sure what, if any, service would be available.)

Well, I was happy to find there would be the usual trains. So, I booked on the 16:40 out of Toulouse, arriving at Chateauroux at 21:15. It even gave me, as usual, the coach and seat numbers I'd booked.

So, you can imagine how my wife felt (the ticket was for her and a friend) when she arrived at the station to find the train was cancelled. And, not cancelled that day. SNCF had not run any trains on that line since the accident. When I booked the ticket, it was for a train that didn't exist.

Now, leaving aside the question about why SNCF didn't implement a diversion, or maybe a bus service (perhaps there were reasons why they HAD to cancel all the trains from the south of France), why did they sell me a ticket for a non-existent train? They gave her the money back, but WHY SELL IT IN THE FIRST PLACE?

I'm trying not to judge them harshly but (1) that was fraud, selling me something that didn't exist (2) did they think at all about all the travellers who wanted to travel north on that (the only) line (3) it would have been the act of seconds to stop ticket sales for those trains AND put a notice on their website explaining why.

My wife and her friend were lucky in that they were able to get a train to Brive, where I collected them by car. How many other travellers might not have been so lucky.

OK, rant over. Does anybody want to comment (about SNCF, not me, please)?


EDIT: this may not be the right place for this - maybe the moderators could move it.
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 Have you watched french news this last week? La pagaille, many trains are not running at all and in many parts of France. Even the Eurostar had many problems. I daresay the current storms will be reeking their degats in many parts of France and more trains will not be running.

The crash just added to the 'mess'.

And the SNCF, well, I suspect that the sales teams are not the same as the division of the SNCF as the actual trains.

When I got to Paris once, they sold us Metro tickets and then the clerk looked at us and said, 'ils sont en greve'. I thought my best friend was going to blow a fuse.

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