Eurostar adds extra Christmas trains after ‘last-minute strike’ leaves travelers stranded

Eurostar is back to running a full timetable of trains out of London, Paris and Brussels after a “last-minute strike” by French rail workers caused chaos Thursday.

Services passing through the Channel Tunnel were thrown into disarray after Eurostar staff members walked out as part of the unforeseen strike.

Related: When European airports and trains will face Christmas strikes

The strike was called at 11 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time, and it carried on throughout the evening, leading to the cancellation of 30 services out of London, Paris and Brussels. The LeShuttle (which transports vehicles through the Channel Tunnel) was also affected.

As a result of the last-minute strike, thousands of passengers found their Christmas plans severely disrupted.


Eurostar has confirmed that normal service has now resumed and that it will be adding eight additional services between now and Christmas — comprising more than 10,000 extra seats — to ensure travelers can still reach their destination,

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“A full Eurostar timetable out of London, Paris and Brussels is running today with eight extra services added and over 10,000 extra seats available for the next three days,” a Eurostar spokesperson said. “Eurostar’s full focus today and over the weekend is on getting people home and on holiday for Christmas. At such an important time of year for families and friends getting together, extra trains have been organised to help customers whose plans were disrupted, and all staff have been mobilised to provide support.”

Eurostar added that all affected customers were contacted and given the option to exchange their tickets or receive a full refund for their troubles.

The staff walkouts included staff members across the Eurostar organization, including those who manage infrastructure for the company and run trains. According to the BBC, the strike was prompted after staff members were offered a bonus of 1,000 euros ($1,103), falling short of the union’s request for around three times more than that amount.

Bottom line

Christmas travel in Europe plunged into chaos when Eurostar staff members staged a last-minute strike with little warning over proposed discretionary bonus payments. The walkouts forced the cancellation of 30 Eurostar services during one of the year’s busiest travel periods. Full services have resumed, with Eurostar adding additional train services to accommodate affected passengers.

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