Eurostar may limit the number of passengers travelling from St Pancras every day under post-Brexit plans to bring in biometric border controls this year. HS1, the owner and operator of the line and stations between London and the Channel Tunnel, expressed concerns that planning for new Entry/Exit System (EES) controls at the London rail station are severely inadequate and would lead to long delays and potential capping of services as well as passenger numbers.
The Entry/Exit System (EES) is a scheme established by the European Union to register entry and exit data of non-EU nationals crossing the external border of the EU countries. It is part of efforts to strengthen and protect the external borders of the Schengen Area and increase the security of EU citizens. It will replace the stamping of passports for UK travellers and require passengers to enter personal information and other trip details instead.
The implementation is expected to happen in October 2024, but after the infrastructure was not ready, the finalisation of this process was postponed several times. The French government said that only 24 EES kiosks had been allocated, even though calculations indicate that about 50 would be required during busy periods.
Eurostar operates about 14 trains from St Pancras to Paris daily, and each train is eligible to carry up to 900 passengers. HS1 also noted that implementing the EES at the Grande-listed St Pancras building would be challenging because of space limitations, and the queuing process would be complicated due to insufficient space. This is definitely a development that you want to keep an eye on if you have plans to travel from St Pancras.
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