Eurostar passengers face five-hour queues in Paris as French customs protest rumbles on

Eurostar continued to warn people not to travel through Paris and London on Tuesday as the ongoing work-to-rule protest by French customs officers continued to cause havoc to travel plans.

Eurostar passengers face five-hour queues in Paris as French customs protest rumbles on
There are long delays at Gare du Nord. Photo: AFP

READ ALSO: Eurostar chaos LATEST: Paris passengers advised not to travel until April

Several trains on Tuesday and Wednesday have been cancelled as there are reports of delays of up to five hours at Paris' Gare du Nord station.

Eurostar has told its passengers not to travel 'unless absolutely necessary' on Tuesday and Wednesday.

A statement on the company's website on Tuesday said: “All Eurostar trains are experiencing delays and long queues for journeys from Paris Nord due to industrial action by French customs until March 20th.

“These delays impact our planned timetables and cause subsequent cancellations.

We recommend not to travel unless absolutely necessary.”

 Two trains have been cancelled on Tuesday – the 07:04 from Paris to London St Pancras and the 21:03 from Paris to Ebbsfleet International and London St Pancras – and three on Wednesday – the 07:04 from Paris to London St Pancras, the 08:37 from Paris to London St Pancras and the 21:03 from Paris to Ebbsfleet International and London St Pancras.





Eurostar's manager at Gare du Nord said the situation was “extremely complicated” and warned that queue times were even longer than those seen over the last week.


Passengers travelling from Paris can change their ticket to a future date for free, or claim a full refund, Eurostar added.

The industrial action has caused traffic havoc over the last two weeks for Eurostar passengers at Paris Gare du Nord and Lille Europe, the port of Calais and the entrance to the Channel tunnel which links France and Britain.
The customs agents are demanding an increase in overnight pay, a danger allowance, and more staff and resources to help with greater controls that will be put in place once Britain breaks away from the European Union, currently scheduled in just over two weeks.
French unions representing the around 17,000 workers on Wednesday rejected a 14 million-euro ($15.8 million) budget boost offered by the government as it was “not sufficient compared to the agent's demands”, Jean-Marc Jame of the CFDT union told AFP.
“When divided by the number of agents, there is not much left,” he said.
Eurostar has also announced a reduced timetable for “operational reasons” until the end of March.

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Eurostar’s souvenir bomb warning after Paris station evacuated

Passengers on Eurostar have been warned about bringing shells that have been turned into souvenirs onto the trains after Paris' Gare du Nord station had to be evacuated.

Eurostar's souvenir bomb warning after Paris station evacuated
The Eurostar terminal at Gare du Nord was evacuated
The Paris transport hub had to be evacuated early on Monday morning after a World War II shell was found in a passenger's bag.


The evacuation, which happened at about 5.45am on Monday, was completed by 10am, but has led to longer than usual queues for Eurostar services.

It is the latest in a series of security alerts caused by passengers trying to take souvenir war artillery on to trains.

Eurostar issued a special warning ahead of the First World War commemorations in November 2018, but with just a month to go until memorial events for the D Day landings, there are fears that the problems could recur.
“As you're travelling during the commemoration period, please remember that you can't bring any real or replica bombs, shells (complete or partial) or weapons on board – even if you bought them from a gift shop,” Eurostar told passengers last year.
“If you bring them with you, they'll be confiscated at security and may result in the need to evacuate the station.”
Old World War I shells turned into flower pots have been popular souvenirs in Belgium and France ever since the end of the conflict, but passengers attempting to take them on board trains for Britain have sparked bomb scares in recent years.
Some of the alerts, which happen every few months, have also been caused by war memorabilia collectors bringing back disarmed ordnance unearthed by farmers at battle sites in northeast France.
Eurostar said even disarmed shells can set off X-ray alarms.