France: Train Travel & Covid 19

The pandemic changed the way we travel for almost a year now. We need more flexibility, more safety. And we also need to take into consideration the current state of traffic. We compiled the data available on the SNCF websites (OUI, SNCF & Covid19, SNCF & Climate Control) to present the current situation of train travel in France during Covid19 :

  1. The current state of traffic
  2. The flexibility of your ticket regarding exchange and cancellation
  3. The health measures taken by the SNCF 

State of Traffic

You can check the train traffic on SNCF.com the day before your trip at 5 p.m. Just enter your train number.

Please note that if you have a ticket, you will receive an SNCF message (SMS or email) before your trip with a confirmation or cancellation. This specific information takes precedence over any other information you may obtain elsewhere.

OUI.sncf, l’assistant SNCF (in France only) and the traffic information on SNCF are updated at 5pm every day and give a reliable source of the traffic the next 3 days. 

From November 2nd, the TGV and Intercités catering services were suspended.

TGV INOUI, OUIGO, INTERCITÉS

All TGV INOUI, OUIGO, INTERCITÉS, and planned international trains will run normally. In accordance with the latest government announcements, a national curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. has been extended. If your reservation concerns a train running after 6 p.m., you can travel without modifying your ticket. In the event of a control, you must present your train ticket. For more information, please visit the government site.

TGV INOUI TO ITALY 

The frequency of traffic is currently 2 round trips per day.

TGV INOUI TO BELGIUM, TO LUXEMBOURG, TO GERMANY, TO FRIBOURG 

Train traffic between France, Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium is gradually resuming. In the context of the implementation of the state of health emergency in France and more generally in Europe, entry and travel restrictions have been put in place. Only customers with a ticket, their exceptional travel certificates and a legitimate reason are authorized to travel.

TGV LYRIA 

The current situation taken into account, the TGV Lyria traffic conditions are likely to change. Find all the information here. In addition, catering  has been suspended since November 1st 2020. BUSINESS 1ERE class is now not available for booking for travel between 1 November  2020 and 30 April 2021 inclusive.

RENFE SNCF IN COOPERATION 

2 daily high-speed services between France and Spain operate until further notice.

THALYS 

Until 13/02/2021 

  • 2 round trips between Paris and Brussels from Monday to Friday and 1 on weekends
  • 1 round trip between Paris and Amsterdam every day of the week
  • IZY trains do not run

Premium class dining services, bar service and lounge access are suspended.

EUROSTAR 

Given the impact of the new travel restrictions and the UK lockdown, the Eurostar transport plan is currently:

  •  Paris-London – From 13 January to 6 February, 2021, one daily return trip  (trains 9060 departure scheduled at 12:01 p.m and 9047 departure scheduled at 5.13 p.m). 
  • London <> Lille, Brussels, Rotterdam, Amsterdam: A single daily round trip on this route will remain unchanged.

If your reservation is for a train running after the start of the curfew, you can travel without changing your ticket. In case of control, you must present your train ticket, as well as a “curfew” travel certificate.

BLABLABUS 

The BlaBlaBus circulation has been suspended since 2 November and will resume in spring 2021. All travelers who have made a reservation for this period will be contacted by BlaBlaBus, with the terms of reimbursement. More information on BlaBlaBus.com.

BLABLACAR AND BLABLALINES

The BlaBlaCar and BlaBlaLines carpooling reservation remains available for trips that comply with the official guidelines.  More information on BlaBlaCar. In order to respect the sanitary instructions, we recommend that you:

  • do not travel if you have symptoms
  • wear a mask at all times
  • keep a safe distance
  • do not shake hands

FLIXBUS

FlixBus traffic resumed in France on 17/12. Since the curfew does not affect inter-regional journeys, buses will run normally even after 8 p.m. Your ticket including the departure and arrival times will serve as proof. In order to respect the health instructions, wearing a mask is compulsory. More information on Flixbus.

Flexibility of booking

Exchanges and refunds can be carried out online via the dedicated page of our website.

TGV INOUI, OUIGO, INTERCITES AND INTERNATIONAL TGV JOURNEYS 

In this context and to allow you to better prepare your trips, you can now book your tickets without hesitation on OUI.sncf: All tickets are exchangeable and refundable free of charge for TGV INOUI, OUIGO, INTERCITES and international TGV journeys (TGV INOUI to Italy, TGV INOUI to Belgium, TGV INOUI to Luxembourg, DB-SNCF in cooperation, TGV INOUI to Friborg, TGV Lyria, Renfe SNCF in Cooperation) until March  7 inclusive and up to 3 days inclusive before departure

Note: in the event of an exchange, if the price of the new ticket is higher, the fare difference will be at your charge. In the event of cancellation of this new trip, you can request a refund of the fare difference by using the SNCF complaint form.

Less than 3 days before your departure, the “classic” pricing conditions will apply

Here’s how:

  • TGV INOUI and INTERCITES: exchange or cancellation of your tickets can be done up until the departure of your train via the ‘My bookings’ section or via the ‘My trips’ section on the mobile app. If you make your request after the departure of your train or you have an issue cancelling your ticket, you can request a refund via the Customer Service, within 60 days, using the following SNCF form
  • OUIGO: exchange free of charge up to 1h30 before the departure of your train from this link. To cancel and obtain the reimbursement of your ticket free of charge (up to 1h30 before the departure of your train), complete this form
  • TER ticket without a connection: your TER ticket is refundable until D-1 before departure. Certain promotional rates remain non-exchangeable and non-refundable.   
  • TER tickets in connection with a TGV or INTERCITES route: In the event of an exchange, if the price of the new ticket is higher, the price difference will be your responsibility. If your request is made after the departure of your train or you cannot cancel your ticket, you can request a refund from the Customer Service only, within 60 days, via the SNCF complaint form.

EUROSTAR

If your trip has been scheduled between 8 September 2020 and 28 February, 2021, you can benefit from a refund in the form of an e-voucher or a free exchange in the same comfort class as the reservation (free of charge). Your voucher will be valid until 1 June, 2021 for travel to any Eurostar destination (subject to availability). You can also quickly exchange your ticket if you really need to travel. The deadline for submitting your voucher request is the day before departure (of your outward journey in the case of a return journey), at midnight. You will not be able to retrospectively request an electronic voucher for a past travel date.

If you are requesting an electronic voucher because your train has been canceled, please note that your request must be submitted within 60 days of the originally scheduled travel date. Unfortunately, you will no longer be able to request a voucher after this date.

Your request for reimbursement in the form of an e-voucher is made via the dedicated Eurostar form.

  • If you do not wish to be reimbursed in the form of an e-voucher, this is also possible, however, the reimbursement processing times will be extended. You can make the request via this link 
  • For an exchange, we invite you to make your request from the “My bookings” section, you can exchange your tickets free of charge according to the conditions. An additional charge of € 40 / £ 30 per person per way apply for exchanges within 14 days of original departure.

TGV LYRIA

The light bypass currently in force until 31 January is extended until 7 February inclusive (exchange and reimbursement free of charge for travel until 7 February inclusive. From 8 February, the exchange remains free of charge but the refund increases to € 30 / CHF 33.). Full details on: https://www.tgv-lyria.com/fr/fr/booking/special-offers/exchange-refund 

All this information on https://www.tgv-lyria.com/fr/fr/timetables-and-fares/traffic-information

After the train departure: online reimbursement on SNCF customer service via SNCF.com> “SNCF at your service”> “Complaints”> reason: “I did not use my ticket”.

If you have booked your ticket through a travel agency, please contact them to find out the exact exchange / refund conditions. If you are unable to cancel your order through the above channels as a priority, please do not hesitate to contact our customer service: info@lyria.com

THALYS

Exchange and cancellation fees are waived for any ticket purchase until 31 August 2021:

  • Exchange according to the price conditions of the ticket.
  • Refund possible if requested up to 30 days after departure, only for trip not completed.

Reminder of pricing conditions:

  • Mini rate: non-exchangeable
  • Standard: Exchangeable free of charge until the train departure time indicated on the ticket. Any price difference between the old and the new ticket applies.
  • Comfort: Exchangeable free of charge until the train departure time indicated on the ticket. Any price difference between the old and the new ticket applies.
  • Premium: 100% refundable in the event of cancellation before the departure time indicated on the ticket. Exchangeable free of charge until the train departure time indicated on the ticket. Any price difference between the old and the new ticket applies.

For a free refund, go to:

  • The online form available on the SNCF website: SNCF complaint form. 
  • By post via the address: Service Relation Clients SNCF, 62 973 ARRAS Cedex 9

For any other request not corresponding to the cases listed above, the conditions of exchange and refund of your ticket apply.

Health Measures

Climate control

France’s High Council for Public Health (HCSP)2 has issued two recommendations on Covid-19 and climate control: use outside air to exchange the inside air as frequently as possible, and favour systems with indirect air flow. 

The high-performance ventilation systems in the trains meet the first recommendation because they routinely exchange inside air with outside air. Here’s how it works: the system draws air from inside the train, filters it, then mixes it with filtered air from outside the train. This mixture is heated or cooled as needed, and circulated inside the train. The exact proportion of outside air varies depending on the train:

  • Aboard high-speed TGV INOUI and OUIGO, the mix is around one-third outside air and two-thirds inside air, which is refiltered every three minutes. That means that the entire volume of air is exchanged every nine minutes.
  • Aboard TER regional trains, the mix averages 40% outside air and 60% inside air, so the entire volume of air is exchanged every five to eight minutes—again, depending on the trainset.

The second public health recommendation is to avoid air flow that’s too direct. Although data isn’t conclusive, two cases of contagion have made experts question whether direct air flow can spread Covid-19 by propelling droplets from an infected person toward others and transmitting the virus to them (if they aren’t wearing masks). But since there’s no direct air flow aboard our trains, we can rule out this scenario. To keep passengers comfortable, our trains routinely use light, indirect flows and channel air up from the floor, reducing the risk even further.

The current cleaning and maintenance practices—including filter replacement—are more than enough to ensure optimum air quality aboard our trains. New filters are inserted every 90 days on average, and the air inlet and ducting are completely disinfected whenever a new filter goes in.

Wearing a mask 

Where possible, the access to the train station, train and points of sale will be filtered.  All adults and all children ages 11 and older must wear a mask in our stations and aboard our trains. Clients not wearing a mask will not be allowed to board the train. For any clients who do not have a mask, masks will be on sale in the station and the surrounding areas.  All of the train agents on board are equipped with masks to ensure the protection of everyone. Law enforcement and Railway Security officers will check for compliance at the entrances to major stations (subject to a €135 fine).

Disinfection

In the station as well as at points of sale, both staff and clients will have hand sanitizer available. You may purchase masks and hand sanitizer from vending machines and in-station shops. You’ll also find hand sanitizer in nearly 200 dispensers installed in 120 stations.

Cleaning

The cleaning in the SNCF boutiques has been increased and protective glass has been installed. On board, a full disinfection of the train will be carried out. The cleaning of trains has been increased and all contact surfaces are disinfected with a virucide product a number of times each day.

New in-station crowd flow measures

  • In large stations, separation of inbound and outbound foot traffic.
  • New floor markings promote social distancing in waiting areas, under the main departures and arrivals boards, at self-service machines, on escalators and on platforms, and we’ve installed queue management solutions in front of sales areas and shops.
  • Posters and loudspeaker announcements remind everyone to practice social distancing.
  • To avoid having to wait in the station, please buy your tickets remotely whenever you can

Assistance Services

The SNCF maintain the assistance services for people with disabilities and reduced mobility during the pandemic of Covid19, but ask that you reserve your assistance in advance to guarantee it.

Customers arriving at the station between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. without a reservation for assistance will be taken care of during the service opening hours if possible. For assistance before 7:00 a.m. and after 8:00 p.m., reservation becomes mandatory. This measure does not apply to the Transilien network.

To guarantee a service of quality, please contact the reservation services in case of change or cancellation of your trip.

Wearing a mask is mandatory: be careful, if you are not equipped with a mask, the service will be refused. In the specific case where you have a medical mask exemption certificate, it is mandatory to wear a visor at stations and on trains. To benefit from an assistance service, the wearing of a visor will be necessary as well as the presentation of the medical certificate and any document attesting to the disability. Customers benefiting from an assistance service must also be able to comply with all other barrier gestures, and in particular the rule of physical distancing with other travelers.

Get in Touch with us!

You might also enjoy

Scroll to Top