Please note; all changes from last update are highlighted in blue
LATEST NEWS: EUROSTAR UPDATE Monday 15:30
Eurostar has been conducting a series of test-runs to ensure that the modifications that it has been making to its trains are working effectively.
The test-runs that have been conducted this morning have worked well and if the later test runs are similarly successful, we will be resuming a limited service tomorrow.
We continue to strongly advise customers whose journeys are not essential not to travel, and to change their tickets for travel on a later date or have their tickets refunded.
Please continue to check this website for updated information as we will provide a further update as soon as possible.
EUROSTAR WILL NOT BE OPERATING SERVICES TODAY, MONDAY 21 DECEMBER 2009
We sincerely regret to announce that we will not be operating services on today in light of forecasts of further snowfall in northern France.
We have been carrying out test runs as of yesterday and as a result of these tests we now understand the cause of the disruption over the weekend and have identified the modifications that are required.
As we suspected, the acute weather conditions in northern France have caused the disruption. Every year we carry out a ‘winterisation’ programme of the entire fleet which to date has successfully protected our trains. We now know, however, that we need to further enhance the snow screens and snow shields in the power cars of the trains.
We have already started making the modifications and to ensure that these new protection measures work effectively we are conducting a further series of test runs today. Our priority is ensuring that when we resume services we provide our customers with a robust and reliable operation.
We sincerely regret having to take this decision and we understand how frustrated and disappointed travellers will be, particularly those who have been waiting to travel for the last two days.
We strongly advise passengers whose travel is non-essential to change their booking to a later date or claim a refund on their tickets.
For customers who have been unable to travel over the last few days, Eurostar will cover the cost of out-of pocket expenses, for example, hotels and taxis. Full details of our compensation policy are on www.eurostar.com
We’ve been collating questions from Eurostar’s customers since yesterday and have done our best to answer them below. We hope you’ll find this information useful and we apologise again for the delay in being able to provide them and the inconvenience caused.
When will Eurostars services return to normal?
We have managed to pinpoint the cause of the problem we experienced over the weekend and our engineering team are working hard to make the modifications needed to prevent this issue happening going forward.
Eurostar is committed to getting back to normal services as soon as possible however the service must be robust and that will depend on the results of continual testing and weather in Kent and Northern France. Please continue to check www.Eurostar.com for the latest service updates
How do people go about changing their tickets to a later date?
People should contact their original point of sale for an exchange. Anyone with queries can call our contact centre on 08432 186 186, although due to the current volume of calls, we would recommend that you wait until after the Christmas period to exchange your ticket if you can. Exchanges and refunds can be carried out for up to two months after the original date of departure.
How does ‘first come, first served’ work?
Some people have asked if we will run a ‘first come, first served’ policy for travellers when we do resume a service. This is a process that we only use following extreme disruption. All actual bookings for specific trains and seats become null and void and all tickets for trains during the disruption period become valid for any seat in the same class on any train. However, we know that this situation is particularly unique due to the numbers of people who want to travel in the run up to Christmas, so we are currently developing a prioritisation policy which will take effect when we do resume any services. Details of how this will work will be posted here and on www.eurostar.com as soon as it becomes available. As there will be many people wanting to travel, we are strongly advising travellers against making journeys that are non-essential over the next couple of days.
When will the first come first served be available/ start?
As soon as we are running services, however again we will need to manage large numbers of people to clear the backlog, so please see www.eurostar.com for our latest service updates. We are strongly advising travellers against making journeys that are non-essential over the next couple of days
People in France are being told to queue up at Gard du Nord from 6.30 Monday morning? Is this true? Will the same apply to people traveling from St Pancras?
All trains have been cancelled subject to test results, as soon as we are able to make an announcement regarding the resumption of services we will post the full details both here and on the FAQ section on the Eurostar.com website
As all bookings the have previously been made for this week are now void, what should these people do?
We are strongly advising people without an urgent need to travel to obtain a refund for their tickets or exchange them for a later date. This can be done up to 2 months after the initial planned travel date, from the original point of sale. The bookings for this week are not void as such, but obviously we are not currently running services and, when this does happen, we will be running to an amended timetable, therefore we will need to re-accommodate people as best we can. We will post more information online as soon as we have it re any service resumption. Our main priority at this stage is to work to resume a safe, reliable service for our travellers as soon as possible.
How will this affect passengers travelling from Ashford of Ebbsfleet? Will a certain number of seats be kept for passengers boarding at this point?
Upon resumption of services we have procedures in place whereby we will reserve a proportionate number of seats for travellers from each of our UK stations.
Will passengers be refunded for missing connecting trains?
Under the existing agreement Eurostar have in place with Railteam and other existing operators:
- Those travellers going to a Eurostar destination will be able to use their connecting ticket available to catch the next available service to their intended final destinations, we have agreements with SNCF and the other operators and they will accept tickets that were not used during the disruption period
- for all those who do not travel refunds will have to go back to the point of sale
I need to get to my destination as soon as possible, will Eurostar pay for the flight I have to book?
Your travel insurance should cover any additional costs incurred as a result of the disruption. You can get a full refund for the full cost of your original ticket from your point of sale. A claim for any other out of pocket expenses can be made through our traveller care team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Eurostar will be reimbursing reasonable out-of-pocket expenses. This will include hotel accommodation (to 3* level), transport (taxis, underground and parking) and meals. This will include flights where it is deemed there is no alternative for travel and will be dealt with on a case by case basis.
I’m stuck in Paris, will I be able to use my ticket in Lille and should I travel there?
There are no Eurostar services operating currently from any Eurostar terminal, including Lille. We are strongly advising travellers to not to travel or to make alternative arrangements. As soon as we are again running services we will provide information on the Eurostar.com website. All tickets are fully refundable and exchangeable from your original point of sale. We appreciate that this is a difficult time for many of our travellers and we are doing everything we can to get the services running as soon as possible. We will also pay reasonable out of pocket expenses. This will include hotel accommodation (to 3* level), transport (taxis, underground and parking) and meals. Please see the www.eurostar.com website for updated service information.
What compensation is available if I have been affected?
We will be offering full refunds to all travellers and covering any out of pocket expenses on a case by case basis.
If I have been affected by today’s disruptions how do I claim compensation?
Please email our traveller care team at email@example.com with your details
Are Ski travellers going to be catered for this Sunday and Monday?
The ski train is also subject to cancellation currently, and therefore again we would recommend exchange or refund of tickets if at all possible. We will update this site and please visit www.eurostar.com with any information as soon as we have it regarding the ski services.
For the ski train, if we get there in the next few days by other means can the return tickets be used to return back on the ski train?
As all services are currently suspended, we cannot comment currently on whether ski services will run this coming weekend. Please continue to check www.eurostar.com and this site regarding service updates. If we do run ski services, we will do our best to accommodate all our travellers on these services. However, details of these services have not yet been confirmed.
What is being done to ensure that the same problem will not affect my journey over the Christmas and New Year period?
As mentioned above, we are in the process of running test trains, with technical experts and engineers on board to ensure that we can understand fully how to mitigate the risks we’ve been experiencing lately. Our intention is to run a service as soon as we can and an update will be provided later today concerning any services which we may be able to run.
With limited seats available for a large number of customers can you explain how you intend to get each one back home for Christmas ?
We are strongly advising that all non-essential travel is cancelled. We cannot guarantee that we will get everyone back home for Christmas, but we are doing everything we can in terms of contingency planning to ensure that we can transport the most people possible before Christmas.
UPDATE: EUROSTAR BOARD ANNOUNCES INDEPENDENT REVIEW
The Board of Eurostar has announced that it has commissioned an independent review into the problems it has experienced over recent days. The review will be led by Christopher Garnett, former Chief Executive of GNER and formerly Commercial Director of Eurotunnel, in conjunction with Monsieur Claude Gressier who is Inspecteur Général des Ponts et Chaussées. The review will commence with immediate effect.
Coaches to Paris and Brussels
Eurostar has made arrangements for 500 people to travel by train, coach and ferry to Paris and Brussels. We identified 500 people with the most pressing needs i.e. eldery people, people with very young families, and those who had a very pressing need to return home. We managed to secure transport on South Eastern trains travelling to Dover, then coach transport to ferries which will take people back to the Continent. From their arrival point, these travellers will then be transferred by coach to Paris and Brussels.
Obviously the ferries are very busy and we wanted to make arrangements for as many people with the most pressing needs at the time knowing that we do not want to raise expectations for others who were due to travel. This is a one off arrangement and, for those who were and are due to travel, our primary focus now is getting the Eurostar service back up and running as soon as possible, which we are working round the clock to do. As soon as we have more information on that, we will post it here.