All was going so well. Eurostar 9156 departed on time from St Pancras at 1904, and arrived at around 2057 (local time, as scheduled) at Calais Frethun.

Then nothing. No departure. Silence.

Then the announcement that “for service reasons” we were to wait 10 minutes at Calais. At 2108 a Eurostar arrived into Calais from Lille, presumably the slightly late running train 9161 (the 1952 departure from Brussels – full Eurostar timetable here). A few minutes later our train departed towards Brussels with a delay of about 12 minutes.

After yesterday’s experience my attention was piqued. So I found the train manager and asked him. Why, I asked, was our train delayed? What does “for service reasons” mean? “It was because of staff” he said. Do you mean, I pushed him, that we were waiting for the rail police to get out of the arriving Eurostar and to get into our train so as they can return to Lille? Yes he said.

So once again a delay thanks to the security issue, although – presumably because they trust their colleagues in London – there was no passport or ticket check of passengers in the train between Calais and Lille.

Bring it on: delay without even the faint notion that it’s in the passengers’ interests!


  1. Alex Macfie

    It really is time the paranoid border security on cross-channel passenger trains was stopped. Even trains running through the Iron Curtain didn’t have this nonsense. At the very least, the airport-style check-in procedure should scrapped, and instead there should be passport control on the train. Ideally the UK should join the Schengen area

  2. Hmmm, that’s a new one. While I didn’t see the security people on this trip, the train manager confirmed that was the issue this time. I’m on Eurostar again tomorrow, so let’s see what happens in this saga.

    And yes, I am inclined to agree with you – Eurostar is not (for a number of small reasons) as flawless as it was.

  3. On Friday night returning to Brussels on the last train, we were stopped at Calais for 15 minutes waiting for a Brussels to London train. When the train arrived, we saw out of the window the two sets of (Eurostar) staff on board switch over. It’s not just security causing delays and problems.

    Is it me, or is Eurostar not performing as it once did?

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