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Eurostar chaos LATEST: Paris passengers advised to scrap travel plans for the rest of the week

Eurostar passengers were advised not to travel until next week as industrial action by French customs staff will be extended until Sunday.

Eurostar chaos LATEST: Paris passengers advised to scrap travel plans for the rest of the week
Passengers have reported queues of up to six hours at Gare du Nord. Photo: AFP

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

Eurostar has warned its passengers of another four days of queues and cancellations amid chaotic scenes at Paris' Gare du Nord station.

The company said: “All Eurostar trains are experiencing delays and long queues for journeys from Paris Nord due to industrial action by French customs until Sunday, March 24th.

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

“We recommend not to travel unless absolutely necessary.” 

READ ALSO: What is the French customs protest all about? 

“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.”

Passengers have reported queues of up to six hours at Gare du Nord as the work-to-rule protest continues.

Eurostar has cancelled three services 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 and will be cancelling other services on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

 

(There are long waits at Gare du Nord. Photo: AFP)

Gare du Nord's station manager advised passengers to: “Arrive 90 minutes before departure, be very patient, long queue times, use main station toilets before arriving on our mezzanine.”

 

 

 

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 reason behind the industrial action, which began on March 4th, is customs officials are trying to press 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.

Instead of going on strike – meaning they would not work at all – the customs officers have been carrying out work-to-rule industrial action which means that they only do what is required by the rules of their contract. 

This means that they precisely follow all safety or other regulations, which has means lots of checks and questions which has slowed down the flow of passengers through terminals at Eurostar, Eurotunnel and the ports in Calais.

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 last week rejected a €14 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.
   
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