Eurostar strikes to hit services as Allianz stalks

TRAVELLERS bound for Brussels face chaos today after Eurostar was forced to axe train services due to industrial action on the Belgian railways.

The cross-Channel train operator said it would fail to run any services between the UK and the Belgian capital due to a 24-hour walkout by Belgian rail workers. The strike started last night at 10pm local time in Belgium and was due to last until 10pm tonight. Belgium rail workers are protesting against a deadlock in talks with state railway SNCB over an unpaid bonus to workers.

Eurostar said the action would significantly disrupt the Belgian rail network and it was advising people against making non-essential journeys to Belgium. For those people unable to avoid travelling, Eurostar is running a coach service between Lille in France and Brussels, extending journey times by about two hours.

Meanwhile, German insurer Allianz is understood to be planning a £2bn bid to buy the high-speed rail link between London’s St Pancras station and the Channel Tunnel from the UK government, which owns it through London & Continental Railways.

The government is selling off the 68-mile link as part of several privatisations to help cut the budget deficit.