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Queues at the Eurostar
Photograph: daintyshot / Shutterstock.com

Those queues at the Eurostar terminal? Brexit is apparently to blame

Extra passport checks have now forced the rail operator to cut capacity by a quarter

Written by
Ellie Muir
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Most of us knew that Brexit would mean longer wait times at European borders after we left the Schengen free-movement area. In May this year, Eurostar passengers reported chaos at St. Pancras International with queues snaking down the roads outside the station. This was in part due to the new Brexit-related passport checks that the station’s border staff now have to adhere to.

And now Eurostar’s CEO has confirmed that post-Brexit controls have caused a 25 percent drop in the number of passengers able to board services to Europe from London’s St. Pancras each hour. 

The station can only process a maximum of 1,500 passengers per hour when border-control booths are fully staffed. This number is down from 2,000 in 2019, before the end of free movement with the EU. 

Jacques Damas, chief executive of Eurostar, said in a letter to Huw Merriman, chair of the House of Commons transport select committee, that Brexit had led to ‘significant increase in processing times’ of passengers at stations. Apparently, the stamping of British passports by European police adds a minimum of 15 seconds to the time it took before Brexit.

In other news, there are are some cuts coming to Eurostar’s services. The rail operator has announced plans to suspend its direct train service between London and Disneyland Paris from June 5 2023 for the duration of the summer. 

ICYMI: this UK airport is permanently closing and most flights have been cancelled.

Plus: temperatures are set to plunge to -2C in the UK next week.

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