Our favourite mode of transport for getting to the mountains is train. The Tarentaise and Vanoise resorts are on a direct TGV line from Paris, London and Brussels. Many of the older spa resorts in the Pyrénées, Vosges and Massif Central can also be reached by regional express train. However since the Madrid bomb attacks carrying baggage on French railways has been a bit of a pain.
The 3/11 attacks highlighted just how vulnerable the rail service. An immediate response by French railways was to block access to baggage racks at the ends of wagons. A measure that was widely disregarded, in true Gallic fashion. SNCF has announced that from the 1st of July these racks will be reopened but that all luggage must be clearly labelled with the owners name and address. Labels will be available from all 165 mainline stations. The measure applies to TGVs and Corail services. Any anonymous baggage will be treated as suspect.
The measure was announced by the Ministry of the Interior. According to Mireille Faugères the director of Voyages France Europe if a guard finds an unlabelled bag he will make an announcement then call the bomb squad to investigate. French railways have suffered numerous delays post Madrid. Last Tuesday the high speed train to Annecy in the Alps was stopped for over 3 hours while the bomb squad examined a suspect bag causing numerous knock on delays.
It probably didn’t occur to the civil servants that sneaky terrorists could label their bombs… with a false name and address. Like the removal of litter bins from French streets it seems more a case of being seen to do something. Still if you don’t want to get to the mountains with the minimum of delays and don’t want your gear destroyed in a controlled explosion it is a good idea to comply. The same goes for leaving baggage unattended on railway platforms.