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Thursday 26 January 2023

Brexit issues causing empty seats on Eurostar trains

Brexit, the gift that keeps on destroying, has severely impacted Eurostar trains travelling between the UK and France.

Post-Brexit border procedures mean more time is needed so that UK passengers' passports can be checked and stamped.

Eurostar chief executive Gwendoline Cazenave said post-Brexit border checks and current levels of border staff had seen 30% less travellers being accommodated.

She said new border formalities had caused "bottlenecks" in stations.

Eurostar is currently operating just 14 services per day between London and Paris, compared with 18 in 2019.

About 350 out of 900 seats are being left unsold on the first services between London, Paris and Brussels despite “huge demand”, British media reported.

Cazenave told local media that the company might not restore some services it suspended last year due to the ongoing problems.

"The thing is now we are not able to run the same transport offer as what we had before in 2019, because of bottlenecks in stations," she said.

"We have a main issue in Eurostar terminals because of the new boarding conditions between the UK and EU, because of the impact of Covid, because of [not enough] staff in the stations."

Cazenave added that Eurostar was working with both French and UK authorities to find a solutions - including utilising more border staff.

Eurostar last year stopped its direct service from London to Disneyland Paris and also ended stops at Ebbsfleet or Ashford International stations.

UK passengers travelling to the EU need their passport stamped when they cross the border, which has caused many delays.

An Entry/Exit System, or EES, will replace the checks, but the technology has been delayed several times and is now due to be implemented at the end of 2023.

Eurostar is currently offering only 70% of available seats on some services, leaving mny empty to avoid further delays.

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