Take what happened to me just last week. I'm up at 4:45 am to catch a 6 am train from Dijon to Lyon. There, I was to switch to a train headed to Annecy. Adding to the misery of such an early departure, it was pouring down rain. All was going well, including the short nap taken on the first leg, until checking the monitors at Gare Lyon Part Deux (the Lyon train station) for the platform of my connecting train only to find my train wasn't on the departure list. Believing there was some error on my part by not looking at the "right" monitors, I headed to another bank of screens. The result was the same--my train was not listed! Rail workers were on strike! Now what?
I have been extremely fortunate that in all of my 15 years of European travel, this is the first encounter with a rail strike. The first thing my travel experience taught me was not to panic. There's almost always another way of going about getting to your destination--it may cost you more in money and/or time, but there's usually a way. Next, I headed to the Information booth to assess the situation. My train wasn't listed, but plenty others were. It wasn't apparent that a strike was occurring. It wasn't until the person at the Information counter looked at my ticket that I learned about the strike and my travel options.
If you find yourself in this predicament and there is no Information booth, go straight to the ticket office. Inquire about other train options for getting to your destination. The rail officials can often provide you with alternate transportation means through some of their partners, like the bus. Depending on your destination, renting a car or taking a plane may be other viable options. Not all strike victims have a happy ending, but many do so don't fall prey to panic prematurely.
How did my story end? I landed on a 2-hour bus ride (about the same amount of travel time as the train) through some of France's most beautiful and mountainous countryside. The quiet hum of the bus and the drizzly rain even lulled me into a brief nap, making up for some of the sleep I had lost by the sounds of an early alarm.