Dealing with the SNCF


The SNCF: A Teacher of Patience or Frustration? 

If you ever take the train in France, you have to deal with the SNCF. They are the ones that schedule the trains, they're the conductors, they're the only rail group in France. Whether it is the TGV, the TER, or the InterCites, it's all part of the SNCF, which should be great for organizational purposes, right? Not exactly.  I have a love hate relationship with the SNCF. Probably because it has taught me about patience and learning that something will probably go wrong. 

I love the SNCF because it gets be all the places that I want to. I hate the SNCF because I always manage to run into a problem. I should have learned that summer day in July when a kid peed his pants on the train and the controller didn't know what to do and we ended up late. I should have known when one controller said the train would leave in ten minutes as the train starts leaving. Clearly communication is not its strong suit. I should have learned when they had us get off a one stop because of work being done at the rails. The busses were late to take us to the next stop, and instead of having the train be late, because they're always late, they sent it off with no passengers, making all us have to wait an extra hour for the next train. Oh an my favorite was when I booked a ticket and they cut two cars, and of course I was in one of those cars, so I got to wander around the train until I found an open seat. Yay! And I should have known from the countless times the train was late. Yes this year is teaching me a lot about patience and letting go of control. Because if there's a flight or a train that is going to be late, I'm going to be on it. So while I have no faith in it, I've started to give up on caring if I'm late or not. I think I'm officially on Paris time now. 

So how do you handle this unreliability of the SNCF while traveling?. Download the SNCF Direct app. They will tell you the platform number and send you alerts if there's any problem. Now I always check before leaving if I'm going to be on a late train. 

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