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France's railway company cuts trains amid COVID-19 crisis

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By Euronews  with AFP
Passengers wait next TGV to Paris at the Saint Jean de Luz train station, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020.
Passengers wait next TGV to Paris at the Saint Jean de Luz train station, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020.   -   Copyright  Bob Edme/AP Photo

France's national railway company, the SNCF, will cut 10% of its high-speed trains and 20% of other main line trains from next week, a spokesperson said on Friday.

The measure will take effect following a decrease in reservations due to the pandemic.

"Taking into account a 30% drop in reservations since the start of the year - particularly during the week - the TGV (high-speed train) transport plan will be adapted from next week and provided for up to 90% of the planned offer, and at 80% for the Intercités (other main lines)," a spokesperson for SNCF Voyageurs told AFP.

Travellers whose trains are cancelled will be contacted and will be able to change their tickets or be reimbursed, the company said.

The cross-Channel Eurostar service will have less than 10% of the planned trains running.

"It is not a question of unexpected train cancellations but of adapted transport plans, which can take into account the reduced number of travellers (...) but also the objective of ensuring a most reliable transport plan for travellers, taking into account the effects of reduced availability of SNCF staff affected by Covid," the spokesperson said.

Local trains have already been affected by the fifth wave of COVID-19 in France. The country has been reported record-high infections, with more than 328,000 new cases on Friday.