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EUROSTAR

Eurostar UPDATE: Long queues again at Gare to Nord as French customs protest continues

Eurostar is again warning people not to travel from Paris as passengers reported long queues on Monday morning.

Eurostar UPDATE: Long queues again at Gare to Nord as French customs protest continues

EUROSTAR LATEST UPDATE: No end in sight to French customs protest, says union

The situation on the Eurostar had seemed to ease on Friday, with the company saying things were “progressively returning to normal”, but on Monday morning passengers were again reporting long queues and chaotic scenes at Paris' Gare du Nord station.

Eurostar's official advice was for passengers not to travel as industrial action by French customs staff continues.

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A Eurostar spokesman said: “Due to industrial action, we are experiencing very long queues in Paris Gare du Nord and some delays on trains from this station.

“We would advise not to travel from Paris unless necessary and it will be possible to change the date of your journey free of charge or claim a refund.

“Should you wish to travel, please arrive at the station at the time indicated on your ticket. We will do everything we can to accommodate you onto the next available service, if necessary.”

 

 

One train was cancelled on Monday – the 21:03 from Paris to Ebbsfleet International and London St Pancras.

On Friday Eurostar had claimed on Twitter that the work-to-rule protest by French customs unions was suspended, but the union hotly denied the claim.

A spokesman for Eurostar on Monday admitted that there had been a “misunderstanding” and the work-to-rule protest continued. 

A union official told The Local that the improvement in the service was due to travellers cancelling their trips rather than officials ending their long-running industrial action.

Vincent Thomazo from the UNSA union told The Local: “There is still a French customs movement. The reason the queues are better is because Eurostar's measures of asking people to not to travel or change their plans has worked and fewer people are travelling.”

The work-to-rule protest began on March 4th, and on Thursday the customs union told The Local that it could not say when it would end.

“I completely understand the frustration of the passengers and I'm very sorry for them,” sad Vincent Thomazo from the UNSA union.

“But the government aren't responding to us at all so we have to put pressure on them.

“We don't have any concrete information on when it will end – we'll have to wait and see but we are hoping it won't go on beyond the end of the week.

“The situation is tiring for everyone including those carrying out the industrial action.

“We're hoping to hear that government is willing to give us what we need by the end of the week and we really hope the action will not continue into April and beyond.”

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, currently 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 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.

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EUROSTAR

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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