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Paris to Barcelona - Theft

I travelled with my husband from Paris to Barcelona on Wednesday 28 September. The 10.07 train was late leaving Paris as most passengers boarded the incorrect train after announcements told us to do so. After retrieving our luggage and moving the correct train found our seats in a first class compartment. Two small bags were placed in the luggage rack above our heads, along with a jacket. We saw no staff members prior to arrival in Valence - except for a group of French Customs agents. Passengers alighted and boarded in Valence. About 15 minutes before the train stopped in Nimes, I left my seat to go to the bathroom. When I returned five minutes later - the bathroom door was locked but I was unable to ascertain if someone was inside - I returned to my seat to find my husband looking frantically for his bag which had 'disappeared'. I ran through the compartments trying to find SNCF staff members, but was only able to find someone as the train was coming into Nimes. I told him that a bag had been stolen - but he said (in limited English) that it was too late as the train was coming to a stop. Another staff member who appeared at this time - near one of the exit doors downstairs - said exactly the same thing had happened the day before! There were no announcements to advise people of the danger of leaving luggage in the overhead racks or that thieves were operating on the train. We did not see any ticket inspector until much later in the journey. I eventually found the train manager, who spoke no English. He endeavoured to find a staff member who did have English - but this was not the case. This person spoke only French, and through the limited English of the person working in the buffet car, I was told that the theft was my fault, that I should not have left anything on the luggage rack and that I should have alighted the train in Nimes to report the crime to the police there. A totally unrealistic scenario, given the limited time people had to get on and off the train when they were completely prepared - and impossible given the circumstances.
From the very start of this journey, there seemed to be complete chaos aboard both the first and subsequent trains. Announcements were very few - and could barely be heard or understood when they were made.
We tried to report the theft in Barcelona but as we have little Spanish, there was no interest in assisting us. We did eventually report the crime to Barcelona police later that night.
This experience completely ruined our holiday/journey. Fortunately for the thief, the bag contained a significant amount of cash which was to have paid for our accommodation in Spain, together with numerous personal items such as an iPad, a jacket, sunglasses, etc. But perhaps the most disruptive 'loss' was that of passports which took significant time, effort and cost to replace.
This journey was a dreadful and distressing experience, particularly because SNCF staff were totally disinterested in our situation.

Fran Madigan
Fran Madigan
Marjolaine de l'équipe SNCF
Marjolaine de l'équipe SNCF
Equipe

Hello Fran,

I too am very sorry you had such a bad experience during your journey.

As michael P says, you can write to the Sncf customer relations service but no financial compensation can be made as your luggage are interely under each passenger responsabilty.

Nevertheless, they will be able to pass the message on to the staff on board concerning the way you have been handled.

Best regards

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Bonjour,

Sorry you had a so bad experience during your train travel.

To be clear in the words, I looked for uk train regulations and it is exactly the same in french trains :

"The train company isn't responsible if you lose your luggage or it's stolen. Train companies may charge you a fee to return lost property."

SNCF keeps found properties and collects your claim : https://www.gares-sncf.com/fr/nos-services/objets-trouves

You can contact SNCF customer service ;

Join your bank informations.

Cordialement.

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