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French delays compensated

01 Apr 2002

TWO sections of 25 kV overhead line on SNCF's Paris - Lyon high speed line were damaged on the evening of March 2, a peak day for holiday traffic, leading to long delays for many TGV services. Operations to rescue passengers in two stranded TGVs were put in hand, but up to 80000 passengers were delayed. SNCF agreed that compensation was due under its refunds policy, but refused to compensate 10000 people travelling on the next day, on the grounds that they were aware of the problem before they set out.

A media furore erupted, leading to passengers' associations becoming involved. SNCF asserted that anyone seeking compensation from an airline in similar circumstances would be turned away, but the railway was eventually forced to concede redress to all affected passengers.

SNCF's policy is to issue travel vouchers worth one-third of the ticket price when Grandes Lignes services are more than 30min late; the ticket must be for a journey of at least 100 km.