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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

French Rail Traffic Crippled by Strikes

PARIS -- Transport workers shut down most rail traffic in France for a second full day Thursday, wearing down passengers who relied on their feet or bikes to get to work.

They faced the same fate for a third day after train and Paris subway workers voted to continue the open-ended strike. But an end appeared in sight after French President Nicolas Sarkozy took up a union offer for talks -- while insisting that his contested plan to do away with special retirement benefits must remain intact.

"Our red lines are known. They haven't changed," presidential spokesman David Martinon said Thursday. However, he also said, "We are not pessimistic."

The walkouts eased Thursday, with more trains and subways running than on Wednesday, but not nearly enough to return a sense of normalcy to the rails.