Posted 25th January 2023 | No Comments

Brexit red tape blamed for fewer Eurostar passengers

Eurostar has warned that Brexit formalities are threatening its business, although it is holding out hopes that a new digital immigration system will simplify the procedure in due course.

Chief executive Gwendoline Cazenave said more rigorous border controls, combined with a shortage of security staff and the effects of the pandemic, meant that passenger numbers had fallen by 30 per cent.

Speaking at an event in Brussels to launch the new combined business which has been formed by the merger of Eurostar and Thalys, she said: ‘The thing is now we are not able to run the same transport offer we had before in 2019, because of bottlenecks in stations. We have a main issue in Eurostar terminals because of the new boarding conditions between the UK and EU, because of the impact of Covid, because of staff in the stations.’

She also unwilling to say if the international trains will ever call at Ebbsfleet and Ashford again, pointing out that the big cities like London, Amsterdam, Paris and Brussels are Eurostar’s main traffic objectives. She explained: ‘These are the main cities, these are the main markets we are working for, which is our main role, I would say.’

The Brussels event also saw the unveiling of Eurostar’s new brand, which will be carried by Eurostar and Thalys trains.

Eurostar said it had chosen ‘an iconic star as its symbol and new logo inspired by l’Etoile du Nord, the original train service linking Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam and as a tribute to the first Eurostar logo’.