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Problems continue after days of Eurostar chaos

The Connexion, Jul 8

Problems continued on the Eurostar on Sunday after delays and a “surprise strike” by Paris Gare du Nord personnel caused passenger chaos on Friday and Saturday this week.

Two more trains were cancelled to and from London on Sunday, due to “operational problems”, the Eurostar website confirmed.

The cancellations come after two days of chaos and crowding at Paris Gare du Nord, on a holiday weekend over which one million passengers were expected to travel.

On Saturday (July 7), a “surprise strike” by personnel left hundreds of passengers stranded for up to eight hours, many without information, according to many tweets and social media mentions by those affected.

It was confirmed that Eurostar personnel had launched a strike demonstration at the Gare du Nord, in action that was not said to be connected to the SNCF strikes by unions CGT Cheminots and SUD-Rail.

Eurostar lines had previously been characterised as “operating normally” in all strike updates.

The Eurostar management described the issue as an “operational problem”, and offered passengers the chance to request a refund or change their ticket online.

Passengers that are delayed for more than 60 minutes on Eurostar are entitled to request compensation.

The strike followed a signalling failure in the Pierrefitte area (north of Paris) on Friday, which had already caused significant delays on both Eurostar and the Thalys services a day earlier.

Signal problems began just before 10h on Friday, and were resolved by 11h, but delays of between 40 minutes and two and a half hours continued throughout the afternoon and into the evening.

Away from the Eurostar lines, Saturday (July 7) saw another strike by unions CGT Cheminots and SUD-Rail, affecting one in five TGV lines, three in 10 Intercités, one in four Transilien lines, and two in 10 TER trains.

This week, director general of the union CGT Cheminots Laurent Brun confirmed that strikes on the vast majority of national train networks - not including Eurostar - would be continuing into the summer holiday season.

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