Readers who visit our forum pages will have seen a thread regarding Eurostar’s cancellations between London, Paris and Brussels. The London-Amsterdam through services remain unaffected.
Originally the cancellations were expected to last for one week only in mid-February.
The week in question was the week of the schools’ half-term when fewer business people would be travelling.
For that reason the service cancellations did not affect the Disney service which continues to operate as normal.
But the matter has become somewhat more serious with the news today that Eurostar will be cancelling a number of services through to March 6. And the cancellations may continue beyond that date.
Although we are talking only about a very few services per day, many of these operate at peak times when they would be used by business people.
Eurostar says it is contacting affected travellers but I believe that is simply not good enough as the cancellations are often at busy times.
When we first requested comment from Eurostar last week I was told it was for “operational reasons.”
Rail consultants tell me that it may be down to maintenance causing more trainsets needing repairs than usual. Eurostar will neither confirm or deny that.
It would seem Eurostar is short of spare trainsets. As Business Traveller reported in September 2016, Eurostar is scrapping almost all its original Alstom-built trains.
And one of the spare Alstom trains, which would have managed to operate these cancelled services, has been leased to Franco-Belgian operator IZY and is now in operation between Paris and Brussels.
Readers asking why Eurostar cannot lease a TGV from SNCF (the train firm’s majority owner) must remember that only specific trains are permitted to operate through the Tunnel and this does not include the mainland [Europe] TGVs (unless hauled by one of the Tunnel’s special diesel locos which is not practical).
In a statement to Business Traveller Eurostar said: “The cancellations are due to operational issues.
“Following snow and bad weather in northern France earlier this month, we have had to carry out a programme of additional maintenance on our trains.
“To ensure that we do this as efficiently as possible and minimise the impact on our customers we have slightly modified our timetable.
“We are making sure that any customers affected are re-accommodated on another service and able to travel.”