Italy border chaos: Train link to France may be out of action for two months, minister warns

An SNCF train at a station platform. SNCF is one of the providers impacted by the landslide.
An SNCF train at a station platform. SNCF is one of the providers impacted by the landslide. Copyright AP Photo
By Charlotte Elton
Share this article
Share this articleClose Button

Everything you need to know about Italy’s cross-border rail and road closures.

Travellers faced chaos this week after landslides closed rail and road links between Italy, France and Austria.


On Monday (28 August), thunderstorms led to landslides which shut down key rail and road corridors between the countries.

700 cubic metres of rocks tumbled down the mountain, bursting through a safety barrier and littering train tracks.

All TGV and TrenItalia services running on the Chambéry-Turin line were cancelled between Monday and Wednesday, and disruption is still ongoing.

On Thursday, French Transport Minister Clement Beaune indicated that Franco-Italian rail link will be out of action for at least two months. 

This is not the first time a major geological event has disrupted rail traffic on the France-Italy line. In 2019, a mudslide stopped traffic for three weeks.

Which train lines and roads are closed?

French train operator SNCF said on Monday that train traffic would be interrupted until further notice between Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne and Modane. Trains between France and Italy are still running via Nice or Switzerland.

Regional TER trains in the Maurienne Valley have also been disrupted. For TER trains, the terminus is now Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, and for TER coaches, the last stop is Saint-Michel-Valloire.

Frecciarossia - high speed trains run by Trenitalia - between Saint-Michel-Valloire and Mondane have also been disrupted for several days.

The Frejus tunnel remains closed to trucks and trains and the Brenner tunnel to rail traffic. The Frejus tunnel will likely reopen to trucks in a week or so.

What compensation am I entitled to if my train was cancelled?

The landslide falls under ‘extraordinary circumstances’ - an event that the company could not foresee or control.

This means they are exempt from paying the usual amount of compensation (25 per cent of their ticket price for delays of over an hour and 50 per cent for more than two hours delay in most circumstances.)


However, you still have rights if your travel has been disrupted - including the entitlement to a full refund. The EU regulations are as follows:

"If you are delayed due to a cancelled train, meaning you would arrive at your final destination with a delay of more than 60 minutes, you have the right to choose between:

  • A refund of your ticket within 30 days – this may be a full or partial refund (covering the part of the journey not made), and a return journey to your initial point of departure, if, the delay due to the cancelled train prevents you from fulfilling the purpose of your trip, or
  • Continuing or re-routing your journey under comparable conditions to reach your final destination at the earliest opportunity, at no additional cost, or
  • Continuing or re-routing your journey at a later date of your choosing under comparable conditions, at no additional cost. This includes alternative transport to get you to your final destination when the train is blocked and the service is suspended."

More information can be found here.

When is the Mont Blanc tunnel closing?

The planned closure for maintenance of the Mont Blanc tunnel between Italy and France has been postponed due to the landslide, Italy's transport ministry said on Thursday.

The tunnel - which links Courmayeur in Italy with Chamonix in France, and was used by more than 1.7 million vehicles last year - was supposed to close from 4 September for 15 weeks for planned maintenance works.


It's unclear when works will now commence. According to Reuters, the closure could be delayed by up to a year.

Share this article

You might also like