Eurostar passengers in Paris and drivers in Calais hit by more travel chaos

The Local France
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Eurostar passengers in Paris and drivers in Calais hit by more travel chaos
Illustration photo: AFP

French customs officials caused huge delays for Eurostar travellers and traffic blockages in Calais on Thursday, as they continued their protest over pay and their demonstration of what life might be like after Brexit for cross-Channel passengers.


Eurostar passengers are being forced to wait up to two hours as border guards are staging “Brexit-style” security checks at the Gare du Nord station in Paris. People have described the situation as absolute chaos with little or no information being relayed to those stuck in solid queues.

Eurostar apologised on Thursday morning for the impact on people's travel plans.

In an official statement, they said "We are expecting sizeable delays and congestion in Paris Gare du Nord today (07/03/2019).

"We would recommend not travelling unless necessary, it will be possible to change or refund your ticket for free should you decide not to travel. Should you need to travel, please make sure that you proceed to the ticket gates at the time indicated on your ticket. Arriving later could risk you missing your train."

There were also continued traffic problems around Calais where reinforced checks by custom officers resulted in trucks being backed up for several kilometres along the motorway on the A16 motorway.

Two truck storage areas were in operation, and trucks from Belgium were being forced to turn around.

Traffic was very disrupted on the A16, A26 and A25 this Thursday morning, according to local newspaper La Voix du Nord.

Eurotunnel advised that if you are driving to their Calais Terminal, you should avoid the long queue of lorries and use Junction 42. 

Policy Director of the UK's Road Haulage Association Duncan Buchanan said these delays showed "when one part of a supply chain does not function properly."

Some motorists have filmed the lengthy and static traffic jam of lorries.

This is a protest that could run and run.

Vincent Thomazo from UNSA union told The Local on Wednesday that "it's a strike that might last a long time because officers are just doing their jobs."

It began on Monday to press their demands for higher pay and demonstrate what will happen if greater controls are put in place once Britain leaves the European Union, planned for later this month.

"Agents are doing longer checks than usual and it creates traffic jams immediately," said Thomazo.

Thomazo said the extra checks would continue because customs' agents wanted to get the message across to the French government that they were simply not ready for Brexit.

"Our aim is to attract attention to our worsening conditions of work which will only get worse once Brexit happens," Thomazo said.

"We are simply not ready. The administration has simply waited too long to get things in place," he said.

The French government has announced the recruitment of an extra 700 customs officials, a number seen as insufficient by some unions.

Once Britain has left the EU "there will be stronger controls. Today you have a demonstration of what is going to happen," said Philippe Bollengier from the CGT union.


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Anonymous 2019/03/17 21:16
It's only their pay they are interested in, nothing else. These 'Brexit rules' are just so much cr*p. Before the EU we were just waved through,in fact as a teenager I was disapointed when we just got a wave and nopassport stamp. So we go back 50 years, no change.
Anonymous 2019/03/07 14:21
Typically French unions - it's like living in UK in the 1970s

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