Eurostar UPDATE: ‘Don’t travel from Paris until at least April 3rd’

The beleaguered Eurostar service has warned against all but essential travel from Paris until April 3rd as the French customs protest continues.

Eurostar UPDATE: 'Don't travel from Paris until at least April 3rd'
There are again long delays at Paris Gare du Nord. Photo: AFP

After almost a month of travel chaos at Paris' Gare du Nord station, Eurostar on Thursday warned that industrial action was likely to continue until early April.

READ ALSO What are my rights if i have bought Eurostar tickets?

The company said on its website: “Due to industrial action by French customs, we are experiencing lengthy queues at Paris Gare du Nord station and expect this to continue until April 3rd. We strongly recommend that you do not travel during this period unless necessary.”

READ ALSO What is the French customs protest all about?

The operator is offering free refunds or ticket changes during this time.

Gare du Nord's statin mqnqger Lawrence tweeted on Thursday morning that the disruption was easing.

He said: “Situation seems to have eased (for now). Minimal queue times, around 15-30min.

“We are doing our best to limit any delays today.”

Eurostar cancelled two trains out of Paris on Thursday – the 08:37 and 21:03. Various trains have also been cancelled over the coming days. You can see if you are affected by clicking HERE.

The work-to-rule protest by French customs unions has been ongoing since March 4, and union leaders told The Local this week that there was no end date in sight.

“We have no information on when it will end and we haven't heard what we need to hear from the government. We want it to end because it's tiring for us too but we can't give up until our demands have been met,' Vincent Thomazo from the UNSA union told The Local.

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 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.

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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.