Officially confirmed now, only 12 of the 25 trains on the Metz-Luxembourg line will conform with new ERTMS regulations. Consequently, there will be a reduced service as of 15 December.
By law, only trains equipped with the new ERTMS system will be able to travel through Luxembourg as of 1 January 2020. With the railway system already beholden to cancellations, delays, and overcroweded trains, French commuters will have to cope with added stress, as France has not yet updated its entire fleet to conform to ERTMS regulations. Unfortunately, the 12,000 to 16,000 users of the TER Nancy-Luxembourg service will bear the brunt of the pain.
Over the past few months, the question has revolved around how many trains will be appropriately equipped ahead of 1 January. The latest information supplied by SNCF confirms that 12 of the 25 trains making up the Metz-Luxembourg fleet will be able to travel. On Friday, representatives at a press conference confirmed that the remainder of the fleet will be ready by June 2020.
Currently, nine trains are delivered and equipped, two of which remain at the Metz Sablon maintenance site before being brought into operation.
SNCF will offer services required some journeys to change at Thionville station as of 15 December. The measure will allow the equipped trains to be used on the Thionville-Luxembourg stretch of the route, allowing the same frequency of trains without extending the delay between Lorraine and Luxembourg.
Practical information, train by train
Of the 109 TER trains travelling in the area between Monday and Friday, each day 14 travel between Thionville and Luxembourg and 95 between Metz andLuxembourg and/or Nancy and Luxembourg. There will be 25 changes at Thionville as of 15 December and one change at Metz.
From France to Luxembourg:
- Of the 22 journeys in the morning (from the first train until just before midday), eight will involve changes at Thionville station. Seven (out of twelve) will change during rush hour, which is from 6 am to 8.50 am.
- Of the eight journeys from midday to 4 pm, there will be no need to change trains.
- Five out of eleven journeys between 4 pm and 7 pm will require transferring at Thionville station.
- There will be no changes on the six evening trains after 7 pm.
From Luxembourg to France :
- Six of the 15 morning journeys (from the first train to before midday) will require transfers in Thionville.
- Only one of the journeys between midday at 4 pm will require a change at Thionville station.
- Five of the 21 evening journeys (from 4 pm to the last train) will require transfers at Thionville station (between 4 pm and 7 pm) and one will require a change at Metz station.
In short, of the 95 trains doing a return journey, 69 will be direct journeys. SNCF confirmed that there will be no impact on trains between Thionville and Luxembourg, nor at the weekends.
Changing trains at Thionville station
22 out of the 25 rush-hour train changes will take place on the same platforms in order to facilitate matters for commuters. SNCF hopes to guarantee changes within five minutes, but will endeavour to reduce the time to two minutes between trains.
The three changes requiring a platform changes will only occur during rush-hour in the opposite direction to traffic (from Luxembourg to France in the morning and vice versa in the evening), as to affect the smallest amount of travellers as possible.
Four stops will be removed
In order to guarantee successful 5-minute train transfers at Thionville station, there will be four stop cancellations: one in Bettembourg, one in Hettange-Grande, and two in Uckange:
- The TER 88805 at 8.10 am from Luxembourg to Metz will not stop in Bettembourg,
- The TER 88715 at 8.06 am from Luxembourg to Metz will not stop in Hettange-Grande,
- The TER 837717 at 8.34 am from Luxembourg to Metz will not stop in Uckange,
- and the TER 837716 at 8.08 am from Metz to Luxembourg will not stop in Uckange.