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Yet Another Good Reason.........


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As I am going to France soon, I have been looking at rail fares in France and they have gone up ENORMOUSLY since I lived there. I had been considering flying to Roissy and catching the train down, but it is simply no longer worth it, and that is booking well in advance.

Better in France, from my point of view it isn't.

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I regularly get the train between where I am in Normandy to Paris. Fares vary between about 15€ and 28€ according to when you travel and how far ahead you book (and if I got my act together I could probably save by getting a pass). I think that's pretty good for a two hour journey in an air conditioned train that is normally spot on time. Quicker, cheaper and more convenient than taking the car.

I seem to recall that when I left the UK rail fares were getting scary, can't remember any figures but used to have to travel Leeds to London once a month and I do remember that towards the end I switched to National Express, there must have been a reason for that. But don't know what UK fares are like now so can't compare.
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In the UK it does depend upon what time you travel at.

A couple of years back I needed to travel from Sutton in Surrey to Skegness in Lincolnshire and the fare was cheap, in fact, cheaper than by National Express coach.

Just done a search now via National Rail - all involve 3 changes:

Trains leaving at:

10:38 and 10:53 £70.10

11:38 and 11:52 £28.50

12:38 and 12:52 £22.00

So if time is not critical cheap fares can be had.

When I was looking a couple of years back direct with National Rail was cheaper than via one of those independent booking companies and checking now there is no difference in price.
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Hmm... I cannot, offhand, remember "train fares" coming up in conversation with anyone, either side of the channel, as being on their list of reasons for moving to France. Others may know differently.

I can just imagine the conversations round breakfast tables over the last few days "I see train fares are increasing again, dear" "Oh no! Well, that's the last straw! We're emigrating!"

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Have you looked at the Ouigo site?


Marne La Vallee to Lyon or Valence for as little as 10€ single booked far enough in advance.

OK you have to get from CDG to MLV and from L/V to the final destination so the total cost will be more.
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Perhaps you should enjoy ticket prices while you can. The infrastructure and railroad of the French railway system is in a deplorable state, excepting some TGV lines, with gross under-inverstment, overmanning and huge debt.

Two examples: a recent report on a very serious accident pointed out that the rail track was faulty because it had not been maintained, faults had not been spotted or reported or had been ignored by the company responsible for maintaining the track (State owned). In this case only a handful of people were killed when the carriages flew off the line and crashed into the station, a platform full of people..

Second case, out local line has been so bad that coaches have been used for years to replace sections of the track which are broken, worn out and dangerous. Often the train cannot run or is slower than bicycles.

We were told that there was no money to maintain it, so the local authorities were obliged to cough up.

The debt is something like 500 million euros and growing.

The taxpayer cannot afford to subsidize to the extent it has been as well as modernize the system. Something has to give.

The Unions will agree to nothing which challenges their status and their perks, as well as changing the policy on staff never being fired and overmanning.

Management needs to either sell off some of the huge landholdings of the SNCF or develop them, preferably in concert with the private sector, to release capital.

But under the government with which France is currently saddled, I doubt much will be done. It is easier to shout and scream at the Germans (see Mr Montebourg's speech of Saturday and today.)

Oh well, back to the book.
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Thanks andyh4, I have had a look, but it would be complicated for me and not really any cheaper. I would have 6 trains to catch and make sure that none are late. Sometimes we go with the cheap option, I have caught the Megabus once, but for such a very long journey, I think that a flight would be better.

IF the eurostar people were not so useless, a word I do not use lightly, I would perhaps use that service from at least London.

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But we're not talking about 25 years ago, we're talking about now, surely.

Annot, Bretigny/s/Orge, Denguin...in little over 12 months.

Wooly's point relates to the current situation re. SNCF, as evidenced by their - recent - bad safety record.

Taking an arbitrary period of 25 years may show the UK in a worse light, but does it take account of the improvements in one country versus the lack of investment by another over the same period?

I guess if you believe people might emigrate over rail fares, then anything's possible with the right slant.

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Gluestick, they showed the stats on french news a couple or so weeks ago and I seem to remember that the UK was doing better than France.


And I have rarely seen the french do 'irony' like this.

I just cannot see french news getting it wrong and saying that any other country was 'better' than France when it was not correct. Have  you any different statistics we can see?

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Which sort of compared apples with tomatoes.

The Eurostat statistics mentioned in the link posted by Idun, however, give us this:

Accidents de train France vs Grande-Bretagne



Nombre de passagers transportés (par 1000 km)

381 995

480 512

Nombre d’accidents



Nombre de personnes tuées

ou blessées



Nombre de personnes tuées



And interestingly enough, the article also mentions that France's rather poor safety record is eclipsed by only one other country: Poland. Maybe there's a reason it's cheap to take the train there..

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