Direct Train Lines From London to the Alps Could Be Removed Due to Brexit Border Issues

Quintin Mills | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Eurostar train
Eurostar train. — Photo credit Eurostar

The European train company Eurostar, which has international routes through Northwestern Europe and the United Kingdom, has recently announced that the direct trains from London to the Alps may be canceled for the upcoming winter. These reports stem from the additional passport checks and border issues between the UK and the European Union. 

The UK withdrew from the European Union in January of 2020 amidst strenuous debate, and it became known as Brexit. This means that EU laws no longer supersedes UK laws, and UK citizens are no longer part of the EU socially, politically, or economically.

What is Eurostar?

Eurostar began service in 1994 to better connect the UK, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands with different routes of high-speed trains. The regional train operators of London Continental Railways, Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français (France), and Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Belges (Belgium) collectively own it.

Eurostar began these weekly direct routes from the London St. Pancras International Railway Station to Moutier and Bourg St. Maurice in December 1997. The lines have been increasingly popular throughout the UK, and through a partnership with Travelski, you could buy a train ticket, resort ticket, and accommodation in a package deal.

Border issues

Gwendoline Cazenave, the chief executive of Eurostar, stated that the lengthy border checks and a limited number of services are forcing the company to leave hundreds of vacant seats on different lines. It is taking travelers 30% longer to get through border checks than before Brexit. 

Most of the EU is in the Schengen Area, allowing EU citizens to travel relatively freely between EU countries. The UK’s departure from the EU has seen a rise in border security, and UK citizens cannot travel freely into the EU. 

Eurostar is also wary of the new European Union’s Entry/Exit System (EES). After the summer of 2024, the implementation of the new EES is expected to increase the time required to pass through customs and border checks. It will require non-EU travelers to have their photographs and fingerprints taken when entering a new country. 

train at a train station
Man walks beside train–Photo credit–Johann

Other Eurostar cancellations

Trains from London to the Alps aren’t the only Eurostar line that has been canceled recently. The direct service between London and Disneyland Paris has been scrapped due to post-pandemic recovery and additional Brexit checks. 

They have also paused the line from London to Amsterdam for 11 months. The Amsterdam Central Station needs time to renovate its buildings to accommodate the new border check demands. 

Train travel is widely preferred in Europe and the UK largely because of the environmental benefits, ease of use, and the array of routes. The effect of these line cancellations and pauses is yet to be fully seen, but you can expect ticket prices to rise and reduce the availability of lines. Skiers and boarders from the UK may have to rely on flights and longer routes to ski areas this winter. 

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