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France hit by train strike after airport action

Up to 70 percent of train journeys in France were canceled Thursday. Above, a station in Marseille.

Claude Paris /Associated Press

Up to 70 percent of train journeys in France were canceled Thursday. Above, a station in Marseille.

PARIS — After two days of air traffic controller strikes, French rail workers walked off the job Thursday to protest a reorganization of the national rail and train companies.

Up to 70 percent of train journeys in France were canceled. The action began Wednesday night, affecting overnight international travel, and ends Friday morning.

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Commuter traffic around Paris is especially hard hit, with only one in three trains guaranteed. The national railway company, SNCF, tried to limit cancellations and disruptions to high-speed links to London and other international destinations.

The strike came just as an action by air traffic controllers protesting a plan to simplify the continent’s airspace was ending. Thousands of flights around France were canceled over the past two days, but traffic was returning to normal Thursday.

Like the air traffic controllers, SNCF workers are protesting a plan that involves privatization of some transport services.

The French government said it would result in more modern infrastructure and more reliable train service.

“We are in the middle of it all and we wait. What can we do? Nothing,’’ said Denis Robert, trying to get home to the southern city of Montpellier from Paris.

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