The above question must be asked following Brexit.
I was drawn to a piece in US publication “Trains” written by Keith Fender of UK industry magazine IRJ.
Regular readers will have seen the pieces we published regarding Eurostar’s current and sparse schedules.
These are reduced to a core service from London comprising one train to Paris and one train to Amsterdam, via Brussels. Belgium’s capital currently has no dedicated service for the first time in Eurostar’s history.
The one train of the day from London to Paris waits to leave St Pancras this morning. pic.twitter.com/cjGIQEfglk
— Justin on eurostar (@EurostarJustinp) January 14, 2021
In normal times one could expect Eurostar to operate more than 20 trains a day out of London St Pancras.
Now “Trains” is saying that Brexit will place further demands on the operator’s business plan.
Brexit means passengers face more time-consuming checks for immigration controls.
Although these checks will be less for Business Premier customers (as indeed they should, judging by the Business Premier price) Eurostar’s website currently displays a check-in time of 45 to 60 mins.
However that’s today’s situation. What will the situation be like when services return to some sort of normality and when Eurostar’s trains carry their full load of 900 passengers?
“Trains” indicates the check-in time might be as much as 75 minutes.
Some readers might think I am overly fussy but I have reported on Eurostar since the beginning of the 1990s.
Back then the check-in time at London Waterloo were as little as ten or 20 mins. At that time it was a real development and one which could only really be compared with flights departing London City Airport.
I asked Eurostar for a comment and it replied, “Ticket gates will continue to close 30 minutes before departure and therefore advice has generally been to arrive 45-60 minutes before.
“However with the additional checks due to Brexit, as well as coronavirus measures, we are advising those customers with essential needs that are planning to travel to arrive a little earlier than normal so that they have plenty of time.”
In June last year we reported that Eurostar is to trial biometric technology at St Pancras this spring, with passengers experiencing “an accelerated pre-boarding option” as ticket checks and border exit processes would have been completed without needing to come into contact with people or hardware.
Let us hope for better times to come.