الجمعة , يونيو 12 2020

Eurotunnel hoping to clear backlog

People out of their cars in stationary traffic

There have been long queues on the approach to the Channel Tunnel

Eurotunnel says it hopes to clear its backlog of passengers overnight and run a normal service on Sunday.

At one stage on Saturday it said there were delays of up to five hours, partly caused by migrants storming its terminal in France on Friday night.

It said there was now a 60-minute boarding delay in Kent. Services from Calais are on schedule.

Passengers have been advised to arrive on time when they travel on Sunday, rather than turn up early.

Eurotunnel services have been hit by strikes and migrants trying to stow away on lorries, in their attempts to cross from France to the UK, for weeks.

Shortly before midnight on Friday, Eurotunnel was forced to briefly suspend services after migrants accessed the Eurotunnel terminal on the French side.

The operator said that caused a backlog of delays, on top of traffic issues, which it was working through on Saturday.

In other travel updates:

  • PO Ferries said services from Dover and Calais were running with delays of between 50 minutes and two hours, and extra ferry crossings had been organised
  • DFDS Seaways warned of delays of up to 30 minutes to its Dover to Calais service and 30 minutes to its Dover to Dunkirk service. The company recommended allowing extra time to get through passport and check-in controls
  • Eurostar services are running on time

Lorries have now been parked on the M20 for a total of 19 days over the past three months

John Keefe, a spokesman for Eurotunnel, told the BBC a normal service was now being run and any remaining delays were being caused by the large volume of traffic to the Eurotunnel site, in part because of Operation Stack.

It is also one of the busiest days of the year for travel, he said.

It is hoped the remainder of the backlog will be cleared overnight and a normal service without delays will be run by Sunday morning.

Passengers have been advised to check for traffic updates before travelling and not turn up early, to avoid too many people crowding the terminal.

On the issue of migrants, Mr Keefe said Eurotunnel had already spent 13m euros (£9.2m) on security in the first six months of the year – more than its usual 10m euros (£7.1m) annual budget.

Operation Stack, which was introduced by Kent Police, involves the queuing of lorries on the M20 in Kent to help deal with disruption to services across the English Channel.

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