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September rail schedule change - not good

San Francisco, CA
Level Contributor
24 posts
34 reviews
September rail schedule change - not good

I just noticed that effective September 1 the rail schedules from Paris to Bayeux change. What was a 2 hour trip will now usually take over 4 hours, and as much as 5 hours, and require either an extra connection or long layover in Rennes. The earliest weekday return to Paris is at 0724 arriving 1140. a 4-hour 16 minute trip with two connections.

Just a heads up for those traveling in the fall. I had to change my plans for Normandy and will probably drive rather than take the train.

17 replies to this topic
Bellflower...
Level Contributor
5,722 posts
23 reviews
1. Re: September rail schedule change - not good

Bonjour, BJBSF,

The following discussion should provide helpful information:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g18714…

As advised, I looked up schedules in the French version of www.oui.sncf and found some direct trains. They are not yet available for sale, but you may sign up for an e-mail alert.

MrsJAS

P.S. If you're planning to drive in Normandy, it may be better to train to Caen and rent a car there.

Edited: 06 June 2018, 17:58
Paris, France
Level Contributor
13,840 posts
4 reviews
2. Re: September rail schedule change - not good

The full schedules are not available yet. They should be posted sometime in the next few weeks.

San Francisco, CA
Level Contributor
24 posts
34 reviews
3. Re: September rail schedule change - not good

MrsJAS - I received an email from SNCF Oui that the train on September 5 was ready for booking. I do not use RailEurope or any third party site when booking in Europe. The only choices on the SNCF Oui English site were the longer trips I described. I check the French version and indeed the direct services were there, although not yet bookable. This is very strange.

Is SNCF trying to mislead overseas customers? This seems like blatant discrimination.

Thank you for the information. Now that I have changed my travel plans I will reconsider.

Paris, France
Level Contributor
13,840 posts
4 reviews
4. Re: September rail schedule change - not good

I already told you that the full schedules are not yet available and if you'll just wait a week or two (or maybe three) the full schedules will be available and you'll see that there are still trains between Paris and Bayeux that run on the present schedule (2 to 2-1/2 hour journey). The info they provide is the same info that French people or people from any other country see. You are not being discriminated against. Although train schedules are usually available 3 months in advance (sometimes more), when there are schedule changes every September then what you are experiencing now on the sncf website (weird connections, excessive travel times) happens every year around this time. Sometimes the September schedules aren't even fully released until the end of June. Just be patient and keep checking the website and soon enough the regular schedule for September will be available.

Paris, France
Level Contributor
13,840 posts
4 reviews
5. Re: September rail schedule change - not good

Amendment - Yes, the French sncf version may show the tentative September 5th schedule but as you noticed it is not yet available for booking. If you noticed then you can see that you can sign up for email alerts (M'inscrire à l'alerte email) and you will be notified when those tickets go on sale (using the French version). Right now they are only showing direct journeys from Paris to Bayeux on Sept. 5th but soon they'll show all the trains (meaning the ones where you transfer in Caen).

Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
2,398 posts
33 reviews
6. Re: September rail schedule change - not good

<<The info they provide is the same info that French people or people from any other country see.>>

Not by default it isn’t. You’re based in France, so the website auto-detects that and sends your browser the full, French-language version of www.oui.sncf. This shows trains whose tickets are already available to buy as well as those that aren’t.

If you’re not in France, like most posters here, the website auto-detects that instead and serves up a reduced version of the site that (mostly) only includes trains where the tickets are already open for sale.

I don’t know if you could call it “discrimination” exactly, but you could claim it gives French people, who subsidise SNCF heavily, first bite of the cherry. Which is probably fair enough.

Edited: 07 June 2018, 06:27
Paris, France
Level Contributor
13,840 posts
4 reviews
7. Re: September rail schedule change - not good

Well I'll take your word for it since I can't travel outside of France just to check the sncf website but the poster said in #3 " I check the French version and indeed the direct services were there, although not yet bookable.", which is exactly what I saw when I checked oui.sncf (only direct trains but not on sale yet). So they were seeing exactly what I was seeing. And many times I've been involved in train threads where the poster or a responder sees exactly what I'm seeing using the French version of the oui.sncf site. So I'm not so sure it's a standard thing based on where you're located.

Edited: 07 June 2018, 13:22
Paris, France
Level Contributor
13,840 posts
4 reviews
8. Re: September rail schedule change - not good

Just to be clear, I'm only speaking about the French language version of oui.sncf, not the English language version. So my point was I've never heard from anyone using the French version (not matter which country they're in) who has seen anything different than what I see using the French version. I just checked (using Great Britain as my country) the English version of sncf for Sept. 5th from Paris to Bayeux and I see what the OP sees. The schedule is entirely different from the French version.

However, since the sncf site still has the nasty built-in feature of redirecting folks who speak English to the RailEurope website if they don't know what they're doing, I'll say that a certain amount of discrimination is obviously evident.

Washington DC
Level Contributor
4,205 posts
64 reviews
9. Re: September rail schedule change - not good

Since I'm in the US, I don't know what French people see, but I use the site in French, get all my emails from SNCF in French, etc. It does NOT detect where you are and then make you only see English and see reduced schedules. So that is definitely not true. I can go to the website right now from my US-based computer and see all kinds of schedules for September of trains that are a couple hours in duration. Non, I can't buy them yet, but that's always true far in advance.

So it may be language, but it is certainly not detection of where your computer is located.

Personally, I don't see anything wrong with it, tourists in foreign countries aren't subsidzing that railroad like French citizens are.

Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
2,398 posts
33 reviews
10. Re: September rail schedule change - not good

<<It does NOT detect where you are and then make you only see English and see reduced schedules. So that is definitely not true.>>

Of course it's not true if you know to go to the French site in the first place. But that is the whole point. You're an experienced user, whereas most new posters here will have no idea that the non-French versions of the site are reduced and they may not get full information from them.

A random person based outside France just typing www.oui.sncf into their browser for the first time WILL be auto-detected and sent to the reduced, non-French version for their country. Or they will see the non-French version in the Google results and click on that. They probably think it's a good thing, because it's in their language.

Edited: 11 June 2018, 04:45
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