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Queues at the Eurostar
Photograph: daintyshot /

Eurostar trains are running a third empty and Brexit is apparently to blame

Trains from London to Paris are carrying fewer passengers due to extra border checks

Amy Houghton
Written by
Amy Houghton

It seems that even trains travelling out of the UK are not immune to the current chaos on the railways. Eurostar routes between London and Paris are apparently carrying 30 percent less passengers due to staff shortages and extra border checks post-Brexit.

At peak times up to 350 out of 900 seats are being left empty because of ‘bottlenecks’ at the St Pancras and Gare du Nord terminals, Eurostar CEO Gwendoline Cazenave said. Apparently, both Covid-19 and Brexit have contributed to the problem. New rules mean UK passports must be stamped and border police are unable to process them swiftly enough to maintain usual capacity levels, particularly since there was a huge reduction in staff numbers during the pandemic. 

At the moment Eurostar is running 14 services a day, compared with 18 in 2019. Early morning services are the worst affected and on London-Amsterdam trains only 250 seats are being filled because of the extra border checks.

There are plans in place to improve the service. A new ‘Entry/Exit system’ will replace the checks, requiring passengers to register fingerprints and a photo with their passport details. It is due to be implemented at the end of the year.

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