Eurostar passengers in Paris face four-hour queues

A work-to-rule by French frontier officials is causing four-hour queues for Eurostar passengers at Paris Gare du Nord.

The firm, which runs trains between London and the French capital, is telling passengers “not to travel unless absolutely necessary up until 24 March”. 

Eurostar warns: “Queues are up to four hours long due to ongoing industrial action by French customs.”

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One London-bound passenger, Jennifer Williams, was booked originally on the last train of the evening at 9.03pm on Tuesday, which was cancelled.

She was re-booked on the 9.03am on Wednesday morning, which was delayed by a further half-hour, but which she missed due to the length of the queue.

“I was supposed to arrive at 10.39am in London,” she told The Independent. “Don’t know what train I will actually be on.”

All trains on Thursday are either cancelled or delayed.

Eurostar has cancelled a total of 25 trains from Paris to London up to 24 March, and says: “The queues at Gare Du Nord are very uncomfortable and are quite lengthy.”

Around 17,000 French frontier officials are seeking higher pay and improved working conditions. A week ago they rejected a government pay offer as insufficient.

Their work-to-rule has slowed the processing of London-bound passengers at Paris to a crawl. It is also affecting travellers boarding at Lille.

Additional checks are being made, apparently to represent the red tape that would be required in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Passengers who must travel are being told: “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.

“If you arrive at your destination more than 60 minutes late you can claim compensation.

“We’re so sorry for the impact this may have on your plans.”

The Foreign Office is warning travellers: “Passengers travelling from France to the UK via the Eurostar, Eurotunnel or northern ferry ports should be aware that industrial action by customs officers is causing significant delays to all services.”

Eurotunnel says that freight traffic from Calais to Folkestone is facing four-hour delays because of the work-to-rule: “We have waiting time pre check-in in France due to the ongoing industrial action by French Customs.”

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