Between contradictory information and many train stops, the users who have joined Nice, Biot, Antibes, Cannes, Mandelieu or Draguignan have a real galley this Monday evening, but also this morning of November 30. Story from an ordinary daily?
This evening of November 29, the castaways of the TER along the Riviera sea suffered. A first tweet announces a resumption of traffic at 8:15 p.m. The decor is set. Difficult start to the evening for users of the Monaco-Draguignan axis.
Approaching Biot station, around ten people are waiting for relatives, taxis or possible response solutions. A train stagnates on the rails, with a view of the Siesta and in the distance, the Fort Carré Antibois, it is heading towards the city with the ramparts. Some passengers have one foot on the train, another on the platform, they block the doors from closing before throwing their butt into a last swirl of smoke. Everything has been at a standstill for very long minutes, some leave the station, others hesitate.
After lowering his window, the driver indicates that to his knowledge, there are several problems on the track. It evokes “a kind of derailment”, from “people to be evacuated from a train between Antibes and Cannes”. No precise news reaches him by radio, impossible for him to give precise indications to the travelers. A lady with graying hair, raises her tone a little: “you tell us that there is for a few minutes, I’ve been waiting for more than half an hour”.
Near the small Antibes-Est station, young passengers descending from the TER are in line with their parents. A handful of minutes after having spoken with the driver, a train coming from Antibes, in the opposite direction, traces on the track. The TER, which had been parked for long minutes, resumes its journey in the dark night. Without a town crier. No announcements from speakers or sounds coming from the train. People who were reluctant to re-embark are flabbergasted “we weren’t even warned” launches a young man, “it’s incredible” gets angry another who continues with a “what a mess”. Two young women hurry to try to find a taxi.
It is almost 9 pm, the screens of the station are announcing delays of 1h40, we will have to be patient. A coral train on the Nice-Marseille link had a technical problem approaching the tunnel leading to Cannes station, people had to be avoided, the two tracks blocked. This will be confirmed by staff at Antibes station on the morning of November 30. The fixed line of the SNCF press service was called, but no one picked up.
Many try to reach the SNCF by phone. The number 08.00.11.40.23 is one of the few to appear on social networks, it is saturated with calls and no operator staff is answering.
On the tweeting thread, not too much news, a tweet is even pinned to the top of the page, nothing to do with the ongoing disruptions. We talk about the Advent calendar, and promotional offers.
Another train arrives and stops at the end of the platform. Users run to the doors that refuse to open. The driver tells them that for safety reasons, he cannot let anyone get out or get on.
The driver explains that there is “5 trains in a row”, and that the service resumes normally. At 9:10 p.m., the SNCF telephone line finally picked up. A train going to Cannes – and which is due to open its doors this time – is announced at 9:16 p.m. He will arrive at 9:33 p.m. in Biot.
At this hour there, it is dead calm in the wagon. No nervousness, what’s the point. The dozens of people passed by while surveying the cars all have their eyes riveted on their smartphones. Series, social networks, mail, sms. Some are online with their loved ones, to apologize for the delay or to tell about their nightly galley.
“It’s a shame, but we’re used to it”, comments a young woman delighted to have taken advantage of Black Friday to afford her smartphone that she – really – has time to discover and set up. She could not find more information on what happened, or the reasons for such a delay.
A worker who holds one of the evening’s records, announces the entry color in one of the wagons: “I left Monaco at 6:11 p.m.”. She’s been there for 3:20. A few minutes away. She got up well to stretch her legs but she ended up asking: “No longer want to move”. Disillusioned, this employee uses the TER every day to go to work in the Principality. After a full day of work, she believes she has counted 4 or 5 long stops on the tracks, in Nice in particular. Nothing to eat or drink, dinner is still a long way off. She will finally arrive a little before 10:10 p.m. at Cannes station, her destination.
Antibes station, 10 minutes pass without any announcement from the driver. Even when approaching stations, the names of towns are no longer mentioned. A foreign user, unfamiliar with the journey, sticks his nose to the glass. He tries to guess where he is. At that time of the evening, in this silent train where dozens of passengers are found, the stations are no longer announced by the conductor or the internal billboards.
The words “Welcome aboard this TER Zou bound for Les Arcs-Draguignan” continues to scroll on the row of leds which details the route.
The driver finally speaks, specifies having spoken to his regulator and that the traffic finally resumes its normal rhythm.
A young man in his twenties, black mask and his hands in his pockets, shows himself to be a philosopher. He boarded the train in Nice at 6:48 p.m. at a Nice station, it is almost 10 p.m. “All seasoned users know what to expect on this line. After two hours of waiting, many have resigned themselves, they have sought to find other solutions, taxis or Uber. money, but I have time ” he explains in Olympian calm. A little wisdom to end this evening that looks like a dirty trick.