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France braces for major train strike

France is bracing for a major train strike on Wednesday as unions protest against a proposed railway reform aimed at containing the sector's soaring debt.

PARIS: France is bracing for a major train strike on Wednesday as unions protest against a proposed railway reform aimed at containing the sector's soaring debt.

The strike is due to kick off on Tuesday evening but will mainly impact railway transport on Wednesday, including train links to other countries, according to the SNCF state rail body.

Only one high-speed TGV out of two or three will work, and regional trains will also be affected, particularly in the Paris region.

Eurostars will run as normal, while three out of four Brussels- and Amsterdam-bound Thalys trains will be operational.

Trains to Germany will be unaffected, but those going to Spain will be disrupted.

The strike takes place just one week before France's lower house examines a proposed railway reform that aims to tackle the sector's soaring debt.

Transport minister Frederic Cuvillier said Tuesday the railway sector's debt currently stood at more than 40 billion euros ($54 billion), and would likely soar to 80 billion euros by 2025 if nothing was done about it.

The unions that have called the strike, however, feel that the measures included in the reform will not help contain the debt.

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