French rail operator charges strike sabotage
21 November 2007, PARIS - France's state-owned rail operator SNCF said Wednesday there was a "concerted campaign of sabotage" on the tracks of the high-speed TGV network aimed at stopping services resuming amid a national strike.
21 November 2007
PARIS - France's state-owned rail operator SNCF said Wednesday there was a "concerted campaign of sabotage" on the tracks of the high-speed TGV network aimed at stopping services resuming amid a national strike.
In a statement, SNCF management said there had been "several acts" occurring "at the same time on the network".
These included several fires, including a "very large" blaze on the Atlantic branch that damaged 30 kilometres (18 miles) of the signal network and forced TGV trains to use normal tracks.
On the northern and southeastern TGV lines, "the deliberate shutting of signal switches is creating signal problems, and other arson attacks on cables have been reported," SNCF said.
On the eastern line, "a deliberate arson attack on cable arteries has prevented normal train traffic since 6.10 am (0510 GMT)."
Transport Minister Dominique Bussereau condemned "these grave and reprehensible acts of violence. ... What is totally unacceptable is their apparent coordinated nature."
The head of the railway branch of the General Labour Confederation (CGT), Didier Le Reste, said: "These acts of violence could have serious effects on rail safety. They are unspeakable acts carried out by cowards."
A nationwide rail strike over pension reforms dragged into its eighth day Wednesday, but talks were set to take place between unions, management and government representatives, raising hopes of a deal.
Subject: French news