How will a hard Brexit affect the Eurostar?

Discussion in 'Freight, International and Other Rail' started by MARC Rider, Dec 17, 2018.

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  1. Dec 17, 2018 #1

    MARC Rider

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    I'm thinking of taking this ride if I ever get across the pond.  My research says that they have some sort of preclearance procedure for passport control, but you're still subject to customs inspection when you get off on the far end.  What is that like currently?  I'm hearing all kinds of horror stories about what might happen in April with customs lines if the UK and EU don't have some sort of Brexit agreement.  Does anybody know how that might affect the procedures for the Eurostar?
     
  2. Dec 17, 2018 #2

    jis

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    Both Immigration and Customs clearance takes place at the boarding end and there is no inspection on the arriving end. The Brits have Border folks at the station who pull select people aside upon arrival at St. Pancras International to harass err inspect further. The Continental Europeans don't do that in Paris Nord or Brussels Midi, and I doubt they will do so at Amsterdam Centraal either when that facility opens in 2019.

    The real problem is not with Customs or Immigration lines for passengers since one goes through full court inspection at the boarding end, traveling both ways, as UK is not a Schengen member anyway. Worst case they will have to move the arriving country inspection to the arriving station, instead of doing it at the departing station, which is not a big deal since they have operated that way in the past, and the facilities are already there to do so.

    The problems that might occur will be regarding validity of operating licenses of the British licensed operating crew when they get to the Continent. The Brits apparently have said they will recognize the French and Belgian licensed crew for the time being but apparently the EU side has not said anything on the matter. So there may be some crew shortage until that is sorted out. All this according to an article in Modern Railway (December (AFAIR) Issue.
     
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  3. Dec 18, 2018 #3

    cirdan

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    There are plenty of precedents for international trains between EU and non EU countries. Trains from the EU to places like Serbia, the Ukraine, Russia, Belarus etc etc.

    Not to forget Switzerland, Norway, Monaco, Liechtenstein.

    Maybe not in all cases but definitely in some cases the same crew are on the train throughout, or if there is a changeover it is not actually on the border but in the nearest major city where the train would stop anyway so that running times are not affected.

    If Eurostar is incapable of hashing out a similar arrangement, that would be very tragic indeed.
     
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  4. Dec 18, 2018 #4

    jis

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    The problem is due to uncertainty of the legal treaty situation between the UK and EU at the point of Brexit, if it is a hard one. Those other examples have little relevance, and there is nothing that Eurostar can do if politicians manage to muck up the regulatory governance and legal situation at the point of transition. Of course everyone is trying to work around the issues and avoid a disruption.
     
  5. Dec 18, 2018 #5

    cirdan

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    Why are these other precedents not applicable?

    And what makes Eurostar a special case?

    Even if you want to look specifically only at trains between the EU and the UK, there are also trains between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland.

    What makes these different to Eurostar? 
     
  6. Dec 18, 2018 #6

    John Bredin

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    Bad example. For now, the Republic-North border is a soft intra-EU border despite the UK not being in Schengen. Lots of people in Ireland (North and south) *are* greatly worried about that border hardening post-Brexit, albeit for reasons *much* bigger than the Dublin-Belfast railway.
     
  7. Dec 18, 2018 #7

    jis

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    Indeed, one of primary sticking points that might cause UK to crash out is the disposition of the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland which is a completely different thing from the border between England and France that is crossed through the Eurotunnel.

    Ironically, that would be counterproductive as far as keeping the Irish border open is concerned.

    As I tried to explain, the C&I issue is not hard to handle. The problem is with the continued validity of operating licenses for the train operators. Again an issue that can be temporarily resolved unless one side or the other wants to use it to make a diplomatic/political point, which in the current climate may very well come to pass. Eurostar may have to staff trains with two sets of crew to work around that with the train stopping mid tunnel to switch crew or something like that. No one knows how this will all roll out since no one knows what is it that will roll out, and no one will know until late January or early February as things stand.

    But we know the Brits are experts at this. No one in India (except Radcliffe and Mountbatten I suppose, and I believe Radcliffe already left India before 14th August since he was really ticked off with his work) knew where the borders of the country will be even the day the Brits handed over power in 1947. The Radcliffe Award document was delivered to India and Pakistan the day after they were handed power. So I guess what is good for the Goose is good for the Gander.
     
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  8. Dec 18, 2018 #8

    Devil's Advocate

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    A hard Brexit would undo decades of carefully negotiated international agreements and potentially saddle London with a retrograde bureaucracy more appropriate for the likes of Montreal.  The good news is that a hard Brexit would help the people who voted for it by...  I'll let you know when I can come up with something remotely plausible.
     
  9. Dec 19, 2018 #9

    cpotisch

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    This. :(  
     
  10. Dec 20, 2018 #10

    slasher-fun

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    And you may have noticed that :
    - border controls take some time (think "Amtrak between US and Canada" if you haven't seen it)
    - there's not many trains/passengers each day on these borders

    Part of Schengen area, definitely eases things as no border control is required. UK is not part of Schengen.
     
  11. Dec 21, 2018 #11

    jis

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