Eurostar run extra trains from St Pancras as Christmas travel scramble intensifies after strike and Euston station chaos

But further disruption could occur to train services after Thursday's travel chaos
Big queues for Eurostar trains at St Pancras on Friday morning
Jeremy Selwyn

Eurostar is running extra trains from St Pancras on Friday as the Christmas travel scramble intensifies after a day of widespread disruption.

The damage was fixed by 1.30am on Friday morning. However, some residual disruption due to strong winds caused by Storm Pia could still occur, Network Rail has warned, with passengers being urged to check before travel.

At least 30 Eurostar were cancelled in Thursday’s chaos, but the company has promised to run six extra trains between Paris and London into the weekend – an extra two trains each on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Separately, a shortage of train crew is causing disruption to a number of routes across the Southeastern rail network.

Some trains may be cancelled, and disruption is expected until the end of the day, the train operating company said.

As a result of the suspension in cross-Channel rail services, the M20 coastbound carriageway between Junctions 8 and 9 was also temporarily closed on Thursday.

Kent Police announced the “emergency measure” to allow freight bound for the continent to queue on the empty section of motorway to try to minimise disruption to Kent’s wider road network.

The Port of Dover reported 90-minute wait times for tourists at French border control into Friday morning due to the lingering effects of the Eurotunnel strike.

The RAC estimated 13.5 million leisure journeys by car would take place across the UK between Friday and Sunday, up 20% on the three days before Christmas Day last year.

Road congestion is likely to peak on Friday – the last working day before Christmas Day – as drivers embarking on leisure trips competed for road space with commuters and business traffic.

Motorists were being advised to travel before 11am or after 6pm if possible to reduce the chance of being stuck in long queues.

Likely traffic hotspots on the M25 identified by transport analysis company Inrix include clockwise between junction 7 (for the M23/Gatwick Airport) and junction 16 (for the M40/Birmingham), and anti-clockwise between junction 17 (Rickmansworth) and junction 12 (for the M3).

Other motorway stretches expected to see long queues included the M1 north from Woburn, Bedfordshire, to Daventry, Northamptonshire, and the M6 south from Wigan, Greater Manchester, to Stafford, Staffordshire.

Network Rail is preparing to launch its festive engineering works, which will cause disruption to journeys.

London King’s Cross will also be closed on Christmas Eve.

Outside of the capital, an engineering project near Southampton will cause some disruption to services, as will work to build the new Cambridge South station.

No trains will operate on Christmas Day, while a very limited service will run on Boxing Day.