HomeTravelsInterrail passes blocked on the Côte d'Azur train line

Interrail passes blocked on the Côte d’Azur train line

After 50 years in which international visitors have been able to travel by train at will along the French Riviera and in the Alpes-Maritimes, Interrail tickets are no longer valid on many trains in southeastern France.

PACA, the regional rail company that runs Transport Express Régional (TER) services in the Provence-Alpes-Maritimes-Côte d’Azur region, says passes issued by Interrail – and its global variant, Eurail – will not are more welcome on its trains.

The ban covers the coastal corridor from Marseille via Toulon, Cannes and Nice to Monaco and the Italian border town of Ventimiglia. In addition, regional trains from Lyon to Marseille, serving Avignon and Arles, are prohibited.

Interrailers can travel on high-speed TGVs on these lines, but only with prior reservation and payment of a supplement.

Some of the most spectacular railways in the country will require pass holders to purchase regular tickets. They include the line from Marseille to Gap and Briançon, Cannes to Grasse and Nice in the mountains to Turin in Italy.

The Interrail organization, based in Utrecht in the Netherlands, has launched an “Urgent message concerning TER trains in the south of France”.

The bulletin explains: “The regional transport authority of the SudPAC region in France (Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur) does not accept Interrail/Eurail Passes on board TER trains.

“We are currently investigating the matter directly with SNCF (French national railway company and [a] shareholder of Eurail BV) to understand what this means for you as a passenger.

Mark Smith, the international rail guru known as The Man In Seat 61, compared the move to “Cumbria pulling out of the Senior Railcard scheme”.

“It makes a big hole in Interrail/Eurail in the whole south of France,” he said.

He warns: “Until this problem is resolved, international travelers are strongly advised not to include the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in their travel plans.

After the issue became widely known to rail travellers, the Interrail organization has taken the remarkable step of guaranteeing that it will refund the tickets that pass holders are forced to buy – and even pay their fines on board.

Interrail customers have been told: “We want to ensure that this development affects your plans as little as possible, so at this time please purchase a full fare ticket in order to continue your TER train journey. We will reimburse any costs incurred for make this possible.

“If you received a fine on board, we will reimburse you for these costs as well. Please retain as many documents as possible to submit with your claim. This includes receipts for tickets or fines, the number of the train you were on and the date the fine occurred.

Interrail celebrated its 50th anniversary in May with a half price sale. Tens of thousands of British travelers are said to have bought the passes.

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