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personal finance

Eurostar forces home the message that it didn’t mislead us over missed connection


We used Eurostar to travel from London to Brussels for a connecting service to Cologne last August. As we approached Brussels, there was an onboard announcement that the connecting Deutsche Bahn train to Cologne was delayed by an hour and would no longer be stopping at Brussels Midi.

Affected passengers were instructed to travel from Midi to Brussels Nord to catch the train. We did so, only to find the Cologne train had not been delayed by an hour and had already left.

We headed back to Brussels Midi but there was no connection to Cologne. We returned to the Eurostar terminal where there were about 70 fellow travellers who had also missed their connection.

Staff assured me that Eurostar would arrange a hotel for us at its expense. Ten minutes later, we were told management had decreed that they were not liable for the missed connection, and that it was up to us to sort out accommodation and forward travel plans.

Security staff were forcibly stopping Eurostar customers filming when we demanded the manager explain in person, and insisted they delete any footage.

Our request for the manager’s name was refused. The manager then appeared with three armed security staff. The atmosphere was now threatening and my partner and I left to find a hotel.

Eurostar has since accepted no responsibility for its misleading announcement. It has apologised for the behaviour of staff in Brussels but states that it’s an internal matter and will be dealt with by them, and that’s the end of it. LN, Worcester

Eurostar told me, with smooth understatement, that it was sorry that the journey was “not as easy as expected” but that the fault lay with Deutsche Bahn.

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“Unfortunately, in this instance, the information was changed after we received it, and we apologise for the confusion this led to,” it says. “The passengers’ Eurostar ticket was for London to Brussels and the onward journey to Cologne was a separate booking with Deutsche Bahn. We were therefore not able to support delays from Brussels, where their journey with us had finished.”

It says comments about Brussels staff had been “dealt with” and that a decision was made to close the terminal because “the behaviour of some of the passengers was felt to be aggressive towards staff”.

Over to Deutsche Bahn, which confirmed that the service had been delayed due to a passenger accident, but not by as much as an hour. Too much time has elapsed for it to confirm what information was supplied, but the German operator has offered to refund the Brussels to Cologne fare, albeit only in travel vouchers.

If you need help email Anna Tims at your.problems@observer.co.uk or write to Your Problems, The Observer, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Include an address and phone number. Submission and publication are subject to our terms and conditions



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