Rail traffic was interrupted until further notice and several roads closed after the landslide in the Maurienne valley, on the Franco-Italian border. What means are left for residents and travelers to get around?

A landslide of 700 cubic meters of rocks. The event occurred at the end of the day, Sunday August 27, 2023, in the Maurienne valley. It is more precisely in the town of Saint-André, in La Praz (Savoie), before entering the Turin tunnel that the impressive rock fall took place. While the landslide caused no injuries, it severely damaged the roads. The Savoy prefecture has therefore decided to close a section of the RD 1006 as well as part of the Maurienne motorway between ramps No. 29 and No. 30 and in both directions of traffic.

The landslide in Maurienne which occurred near the Franco-Italian border also got the better of rail traffic between the two countries. Both the SNCF and its Italian equivalent TrenItalia have interrupted the circulation of trains: “All international TGV and TrenItalia trains are canceled until Wednesday August 30 at a minimum”, said the SNCF in a press release. Traffic difficulties that fall badly in the middle of the back-to-school period, especially since these closures and interruption of traffic are decreed until further notice. In addition to securing the premises, a diagnosis must be carried out to assess the extent and duration of the work.

Not only to no longer run its trains on the axis between Saint-Jean de Maurienne and Modane, the SNCF explained that “no road substitution is possible” and invited travelers to postpone their journeys. A return to normal rail traffic “will require several days” announced the Minister of Transport Clément Beaune on the social network X, confirming the statements of the SNCF on the time necessary to “define the necessary repair and consolidation work”.

The axis passing through the Maurienne valley being closed, travel between France and Italy is made difficult. Travel is still possible with time and money for those who can. Almost all of the alternatives require connecting, either at stations in the south of France such as Nice, or in Switzerland. Despite the duration and the sometimes exorbitant prices of tickets, many trains on these lines were sold out in the hours following the landslide in Maurienne and the stoppage of traffic.

For travelers whose return is not urgent, both SNCF and TrenItalia have announced the reimbursement of ticket prices at 100% or the postponement of these tickets for another trip.

If you cannot take the train, it is still possible to travel by car thanks to the diversions in place. When the RD 1006 was closed – from the intersection with the RD 125 to the Freney interchange – a diversion was organized “by the RD 125a via the capital of the commune of Saint-André”, explains the prefecture of Savoy. This axis can be used by light vehicles, while heavy goods vehicles and buses are invited to go through the Mont-Blanc tunnel or the A8 motorway.

Despite these contours, the road seems to be the simplest and most accessible solution for travelers waiting to return. The use of carpooling has exploded in the region compared to previous days, the company BlaBlaCar told Le Parisien. The bus journeys offered by the same company have also been in high demand to the point of no longer being sufficient to meet demand. “It is very difficult to mobilize more buses in such a short time during busy periods,” the company explained. The other bus travel services experienced the same wave of demand with journeys displaying coughs full or almost, as on Flixbus. Seats on buses from Milan to Paris for the day of August 29 are €106 and €209, and they are already running out.

A last resort solution for travelers whose return cannot wait, the plane continues to connect Italian cities to French cities. Still, tickets can sometimes be very expensive: from €188, without luggage, for the day of August 29 according to the Skyscanner comparator.