Eurostar cancels trains between London and Paris

Eurostar has started canceling services between London and Paris due to a national strike on French railways.

So far, four services have been canceled today due to strikes scheduled for Tuesday amid an over-salary dispute.

During the day, service interruptions to other services are expected by the Channel Tunnel railway operator.

Despite the strike, SNCF, the French state operator and holder of a majority stake in Eurostar, manages to operate some of its high-speed TGV services as normal. Belgium-based Thalys, which has merged with Eurostar, experiences not only minor disruptions in services from France to Germany and Spain.

Eurostar is canceling local time trains 1331 and 1901 that were supposed to leave London for Paris and trains 1113 and 1613 that were supposed to leave Paris for London, Reuters reported.

The cancellations will cause a new headache for Gwendoline Cazenave, who took over as Eurostar’s chief executive on 1 October.

Last month, Eurostar admitted it was facing an uncertain future as the cost of living crisis triggered a drop in bookings, raising the specter that the company will be forced to resume emergency talks with investors.

The operator warned in its annual accounts that a recession or “high levels of inflation reducing the disposable income of potential customers” could put Eurostar in financial difficulty.

“Severe demand damping” could lead the company to breach promises made to its lenders to maintain a minimum level of cash reserves, he added.

Despite growing demand for overseas travel, Eurostar said in August that it was suspending direct trains to Disneyland Paris, saying it wanted to focus on the “main routes” despite the service – which took less than three hours between London and the park. theme – was popular with many British families.

Relations between Eurostar and French officials remain cold. In July, the Telegraph revealed that French border officials were derailing plans to increase services.

Eurostar had pushed to increase services in part to honor the commitments contained in the leasing contracts for Eurostar’s fleet of Velaro trains, built by Siemens for a cost of 600 million euros (510 million pounds).

Failure to achieve the increase in attendance could cause financial problems with paying rents in full time, city sources warned at the time.

Meanwhile, Eurostar passengers reacted angrily when the train operator shut down customer service phone lines over the summer, forcing people to use an online system instead. Phone lines were pulled back in August and September as the operator was overwhelmed with customer questions and complaints.

Britain sold its Eurostar stake in 2015 for £ 750 million under David Cameron. It is majority owned by the French state operator SNCF, pension funds including Canada’s Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and Hermes Infrastructure, which is a major investor on behalf of UK local government pension schemes.

Shareholders injected € 200m (£ 178m) into the business in 2020. After being rejected by the UK government, shareholders and lenders agreed on an emergency restructuring of the £ 250m business. pounds to safeguard its financial future in the spring of 2021.

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