Eurostar “confident” of travel for all before Christmas

Eurostar “confident” of travel for all before Christmas

Long queues at London St Pancras are continuing today as passengers scramble to travel on Eurostar before Christmas.

Eurostar has issued a statement saying it is running services throughout the day today but advised travellers not to come to St Pancras this afternoon as all of the available seats for travel today had been allocated.

It says it will be running services tomorrow and remains confident that there will be sufficient seats for everyone who wants to travel before Christmas.

A Eurostar spokeswoman had earlier urged passengers to wait until the afternoon “because we don’t want people to be standing in the cold. We want to avoid the frustration. It’s quite busy this morning.”

However this did not prevent passengers forming long queues that stretched outside the station passenger waited in the hope of travelling to the continent ahead of Christmas Eve on Thursday.

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Those with tickets from the weekend were put on trains on Tuesday. Eurostar also announced that customers due to travel anytime up to Thursday would be let on trains on Wednesday and Thursday.

The normally high-speed Channel Tunnel service was brought to a halt on Friday by what a spokesman described as “fluffier” snow than expected that caused the electrics to short circuit, stranding tens of thousands of people both sides of the Channel.

Passengers seeking alternatives to Eurostar resulted in the drive-on, drive-off Eurotunnel train service shutting its check-in yesterday after bookings trebled.

Travel comparison sites have reported huge spikes in searches to and from Paris and Brussels.

Bob Atkinson, travel expert for Travelsupermarket.com said: “I have never know a Christmas like this one for travel disruption. Searches for flights to Paris increased by 219 per cent yesterday.”

Ferry operators are also experiencing a surge in bookings as people seek alternative routes.

Yesterday P&O laid on coaches so that the 500 Eurostar passengers who had headed straight for the ferry terminals could make it home.

Spokesman Chris Laming said: “Passengers who haven’t been able to use Eurostar have been coming to Dover under their own steam by domestic rail services.”

“To avoid them having to spend a night at terminals in either Calais or Dover, we’re putting on these coaches to enable them to get across the Channel and get on with what they want to do.”