Eurostar: Hundreds of seats on trains unsold to avoid long queues at stations | UK News

Hundreds of seats on Eurostar trains from London to the mainland are deliberately left unsold so that long queues do not build up at stations, the company has admitted.

A reduction in the number of border officers means it takes nearly 30% longer to process passengers leaving St Pancras International than before Brexit and the pandemic.

The post-Brexit requirement to stamp UK passports for overseas travel is also contributing to the delay.

The number of seats is now limited to avoid bottlenecks in stations.

The first daily services linking London to Paris and Brussels can accommodate up to 900 passengers.

But 350 of these seats are intentionally not sold.

Eurostar operates the only high-speed trains that directly link the UK to France and Belgium via the Channel Tunnel.

As well as St Pancras in London, it also runs UK services from Ebbsfleet and Ashford, both in Kent.

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Eurostar chief executive Gwendoline Cazenave said it was essential that the first trains depart on time to avoid a training problem.

“If you delay the first train, you delay the second and that’s a very bad customer experience,” she said.

“Our customers say it’s awful.”

Eurostar trains to St Pancras
Picture:
Eurostar trains to St Pancras

Passengers are urged to arrive up to 90 minutes before departure so they have plenty of time to clear border controls, which is three times longer than before the pandemic.

malek

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