photo of Pornic, France, by Rémi Jouan
SNCF has today announced that the proposed reopening next month of two branch railways in western France has been postponed. The lines from Nantes to the coastal communities of Pornic and St Gilles Croix de Vie have been closed since last autumn for renewal of track and other railway infrastructure. Both lines were due to reopen on Sunday 5 July, just in time for the peak summer holiday season.
This morning came the bad news from SNCF that this month’s audit of recent engineering work has revealed deficiencies in that work. So both route reopenings have been postponed.
The July issue of the European Rail Timetable (ERT) had already gone to press when SNCF made the announcement. Table 299 in the July ERT shows the much-anticipated new schedules. An interim bus service will serve both routes (though not in the same timings as the proposed train services), until such time as these two branch lines can be reopened later in 2015.
The Newslines pages for the July ERT announces the reopening of these two routes (Column 2 on the first side of the Newslines). The optimism reflected in that note in the Newslines turns out to have been misplaced.
Another French branch line reopening for the summer season will go ahead as planned. The Toulon to Hyères route has been closed for engineering work since last autumn. It will indeed reopen as planned next Monday, but here too the good news is not quite so good as expected. For during the summer months trains on this line will be less frequent than expected. That’s a real blow to the tourist trade in Hyères. The correct timings for the summer service are shown in Tables 350b and 360 in the July 2015 ERT. A more frequent service will be introduced on the line this coming autumn — but that’ll be too late for this summer’s visitors.
Poor show, SNCF! It should be possible to organise these things better.