Orient Express to halt UK leg because of Brexit checks
The UK leg of the Orient Express will be temporarily halted next year because of fears over delays caused by new Brexit border checks being brought in by the EU.
Belmond, the operator that runs the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, has said it will temporarily end the London to Folkestone section ahead of additional biometric checks being brought in for UK travellers.
A Belomond spokesman told The Telegraph the company will only operate the Venice service to and from Paris “ahead of the introduction of enhanced biometric passport controls” between the UK and Europe.
“This temporary measure is meant to minimise risks of travel disruption and continue to provide our guests with the highest level of service,” the spokesman said.
The decision means Belmond’s service, which usually starts from Victoria before travelling to the continent and ending in Venice, will now begin in Paris.
On the current service, passengers are taken from the central London station to Folkestone in a vintage Pullman train before boarding coaches to cross the Channel and then join a new train in France.
Photos and fingerprints required
Belmond said it would continue to run services in the UK for the remainder of this year and hoped it could reopen the route in the future.
The temporary scrapping of the UK leg comes ahead of the EU introducing biometric checks on travellers entering EU countries from outside the bloc next year.
The checks, known as the entry/exit system, will require travellers to have their photos and fingerprints taken instead of just having their passports checked and stamped. At Folkestone and Dover, this will happen on UK soil.
Earlier this month, The Telegraph revealed that even babies would be required to give biometric details.
The implementation of the system has been repeatedly delayed and it is now not expected to be introduced until after the Paris Olympics next year.
The move brings a temporary end to 41 years of the London leg of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.
The service was made famous by Agatha Christie’s classic novel Murder on the Orient Express, which follows Hercule Poirot’s attempts to solve the murder of an American businessman when the train is forced to stop near Croatia.
This Easter, coach travellers were forced to wait up to 18 hours after a higher than average number of passengers ahead of the bank holiday weekend led to huge queues at Dover.
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