Eurostar delays: Travelers cautioned not to travel as French strikes spark mass disruption


Five trains between St Pancras and Paris Nord have already been cancelled

Following a few days of disruption for Eurostar travellers among London and Paris, travelers booked on trains today and tomorrow from the French capital have been told to travel only “if absolutely necessary”.

Five trains between St Pancras International and Paris Nord have just been cancelled in light of industrial action by French frontier officials.

Long queues, delays and cancellations will be the order of the day.

Eurostar had been planning to run every one of the 13 departures from London to Paris, yet overnight the 7.41am was cancelled and travelers set on different trains to the French capital. The inbound service has likewise been cancelled.

As travelers enter the Eurostar area at St Pancras, they are cautioned: “We recommend not to travel unless absolutely necessary.”

The cross-Channel train operator says: “We are experiencing severe delays and very long queues for all Eurostar services from Paris to London.

“You can change your ticket free of charge to a future date, or claim a full refund.

“If you do still need to travel please proceed to the ticket gates at the time indicated on your ticket. We will then do everything we can to accommodate you onto the next available service.”

Frontier officials, numbering around 17,000, have been looking for higher pay and improved working conditions for some time. Last Wednesday their associations dismissed an government pay offer as insufficient. And now the dispute has a Brexit twist.

With the date for the UK to leave the EU just 11 days away – except if an arrangement is come to or a postponement happens – the French officials say they will need many more staff to process British travellers, who would become “third-country citizens” and subject to much greater scrutiny and tough new rules on passport validity.

The staff have been on duty, yet seem to have been repeating the work they would need to do in case of a no-bargain Brexit – scrutinising issue and expiry dates, and questions of travellers. Normally all they do is check that the passenger has a valid passport or national ID.

French authorities likewise check international IDs at St Pancras, yet delays caused by the dispute have been minor.

Services to and from Amsterdam and Brussels seem, by all accounts, to be unaffected, however with long postpones influencing Paris-London services it is possible some of the trains will be out of position and therefore there could be knock-on delays.

Eurostar is putting forth full refunds or free postponements.

Any individual who chooses to travel yet is deferred by a hour or more is qualified for pay.

The work-to-rule is due to end on Tuesday evening – but in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it is possible there could be similar scenes.

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