Eurostar services to run as normal

Published: Wednesday 24th June 2015 by The News Editor

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Eurostar services are scheduled to run as normal following chaotic scenes yesterday when the Channel Tunnel was shut after migrants attempted to climb aboard UK-bound lorries in Calais.

The high-speed train company said all services running from London today are now full and rebookings are being made for tomorrow.

Hundreds of passengers were left stranded at St Pancras International yesterday when services were cancelled amid the fallout from wildcat strike action by French ferry workers, some of whom broke into the tunnel.

Lorry drivers forced to slow or stop due to queuing traffic on approaches to the northern French port were faced with migrants attempting to clamber on board.

Three trains stuck outside the tunnel on the English side had to return to St Pancras while other trains on the French side were taken back to Paris and Brussels.

Anyone travelling from London today is advised to allow plenty of time to check in.

Eurostar tweeted last night: “We will be running as scheduled tomorrow, please arrive at least 45 minutes in advance for check in.”

Ferry services between Dover and Calais resumed yesterday evening after the strike action ended, and appear to be running on time according to operators My FerryLink and P&O Ferries.

But a Port of Dover spokesman said Operation Stack – where freight traffic is held on the coastbound carriageway of the M20 in Kent – would remain in place due to the volume of freight traffic.

The travel problems yesterday come amid a worsening migrant situation near the Port of Calais where numbers camped there have swelled to more than 3,000 since April.

Aid workers have reported a “catastrophic” situation, with predictions that some 2,000 more migrants displaced from war-torn countries including Eritrea, Syria and Afghanistan could arrive over the summer.

More resources will be put into screening arrivals at Dover, immigration minister James Brokenshire said, adding that extra French police officers are being deployed in Calais to deal with the problem.

He told the BBC: ” It is hugely regrettable that we’ve seen these incidents occurring as a result of industrial action in France.

“We are putting additional resourcing into the port of Dover to enhance screenings and detections there so that we’re looking at this on both sides of the Channel.”

He added: “We have been advised the French authorities are sending further policing to deal with law and order issues, and we will be keeping in close contact with them in the hours ahead.”

The deputy mayor of Calais, Philippe Mignonet, yesterday reiterated calls from French politicians for the border to be moved from northern France to Britain.

Mr Brokenshire said: ” These deployments of additional border force resourcing at Coquelles around the Eurotunnel terminal and also from our work at Calais, buttressed by further support at Dover, is about maintaining that safety and security and the integrity of the border, which is our absolute focus.”

Published: Wednesday 24th June 2015 by The News Editor

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