Mayhem in sight at Montparnasse station. Part of the South-West rail traffic (Paris-Bordeaux, Paris-Hendaye and Paris-Toulouse) was severely disrupted this Sunday, due to a power supply problem at Massy (Essonne), indicated the SNCF with Parisian and on his website.
The technical problem, which occurred midday, was resolved at the end of the afternoon, indicates the SNCF. At 6:05 p.m., “the incident on the Atlantique high-speed line (electrical power failure near Massy) is over”, we can read on an Internet page of the railway company, which specifies that “the circulation of trains gradually resumes. “Delays will continue until the end of the day,” adds the text.
By mid-evening, several trains expected between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. were between 10 minutes and 3 hours late. TGVs to Poitiers and Bordeaux, whose departure was scheduled after 9 p.m., were announced 1 hour 20 minutes late.
Many connections were affected by the outage throughout the afternoon, causing delays estimated at between 30 and 60 minutes on departure from Paris Montparnasse station, and between 30 minutes and 2 hours on arrival. Trains to and from Brittany and Pays de la Loire were “diverted by the classic line”, which extended “their journey time by 60 to 80 minutes”, indicated the SNCF.
Delays of up to 6 hours
But the duration of the delays appears to have been much longer than the railway company’s estimates. On its dedicated page, the Montparnasse station was three hours late for a Ouigo train supposed to leave at 12:47 p.m. towards Quimper, a delay which extended by an hour upon arrival. Several trains departing from the station announced delays ranging from 40 minutes to 2.5 hours.
The consequences were also significant on the arrivals side. A Ouigo train, which left Bordeaux and was expected at 11:30 a.m. in Paris, was at least 6 hours late. Other trains, which left Bordeaux or La Rochelle at the start of the afternoon, were 5 hours 10 minutes late, still according to the same station table. Other trains had a delay of between 55 minutes and 3 hours 40 minutes.
On social networks, some travelers said they were unhappy at having wasted their day in transport. “We are told we will arrive at 6 p.m. in Montparnasse, we will have spent almost 7 hours stranded,” testified an angry Internet user on X (formerly Twitter).
A cut cable at the origin of the incident
The cause of the breakdown was “a power supply fault that occurred near Massy”, which interrupted train traffic on the Atlantic line, SNCF indicated at 12:20 p.m. A power cable was broken at the entrance to the tunnel, requiring technical intervention which lasted until mid-afternoon.
The damage also caused the blocking of a Bordeaux-Paris train under a tunnel, reports Cyril, one of the passengers of the Ouigo concerned. “We took the train at 8:40 a.m. from Bordeaux, we were supposed to arrive at 11:31 a.m. in Montparnasse, and the train stopped in the middle of a tunnel before arriving at Massy,” the 27-year-old man testified to du Parisien, shortly after 4 p.m.
Cyril, who returned from a weekend spent with his colleagues, says he suddenly found himself “in the dark, with very little light”. Staff “asked some people to secure everything, open some doors because it was very, very hot.” Problem: the train being an Ouigo, without a bar car, the refueling possibilities were limited. “They have no food available, and very few bottles of water, so priority is given to the most fragile,” Cyril reported.
A 200% refund
A rescue operation was launched in the afternoon to allow stranded travelers to change trains and be brought safely to Montparnasse. The operation, according to the SNCF, ended around 5:50 p.m., and took time due to the large number of travelers: “There are 1,200 of us, the evacuation is very long,” confirmed Cyril.
According to BFMTV, travelers stranded and evacuated from the tunnel between Bordeaux and Paris will receive compensation “up to 200%” of the price of their ticket. Travelers who have taken other routes affected by delays will be able to benefit from compensation linked to the G30 guarantee. This guarantee allows you to obtain a refund of 25% to 75% of the ticket price, if the train arrives at its destination more than 30 minutes late.
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