Belgian strike hits Eurostar services

Belgian strike hits Eurostar services

Striking workers in Belgium have seen virtually all Eurostar services to the country cancelled, as industrial action moves into a second day.

Disruption across Belgium’s rail network started yesterday when a 24-hour strike began at 21:00 BST.

Thousands of passengers will now have to change their travel plans, with Eurostar confirming no trains would operate from London to Brussels during the period.

Service 9158 – scheduled to depart at 19:34 from London – is expected to the first train to operate later today.

The operator said a “very limited” replacement coach service would run between Lille and Brussels.

“We would therefore recommend that customers planning to travel between Belgium and the UK during this time postpone their journeys if possible,” explained a Eurostar statement.

“Customers whose travel to/from Brussels is essential should present themselves to a member of Eurostar staff at check-in.”

Eurostar will run a revised service between the UK and Lille, but trains to Paris will operate as normal.

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Industrial Action

Eurostar added the industrial action meant it was unlikely there would be any high-speed rail connections from Brussels to destinations in France, the Netherlands and Germany.

The company said customers could exchange their tickets free of charge within 60 days for a journey in the next 120 days.

Eurostar usually runs 20 trains to Brussels on weekdays, each with a capacity of 750 passengers.

Deutsche Bahn

German rail operator Deutsche Bahn also completed its first safety test in the Channel Tunnel over the weekend.

Following initial tests earlier in the week, an ICE3 train carrying passengers passed through on Saturday evening.

At present only trains operated by Eurostar have the relevant safety clearance to travel through the rail link, with Deutsche Bahn keen to expand competition on the route.

A link between London, Frankfurt and Cologne has been mooted by the operator.