For members


UPDATED: How strikes will hit travel between France and the UK this Christmas

Anyone planning a trip between France and the UK this Christmas or New Year is facing widespread strike action, delays and cancellations. Here is the latest on which services will run.

UPDATED: How strikes will hit travel between France and the UK this Christmas
Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP

Planes, trains, ferries and even roads look set to be affected by UK strike action, while French rail and airline unions have also filed strike notices.

The British actions come in the context of widespread industrial action from nurses to postal workers, train drivers to border guards, all of whom are striking to win pay rises above the rate of inflation that will help them cope with the spiralling cost of living.

Here’s a look at how travel will be affected;


UK-based security staff will walk out on December 22nd and 23rd. The UK’s RMT union is also taking strike action between December 24th and 27th.

The Eurostar will be running fewer services than usual on December 23rd and 24th and has cancelled several services and changed the times of others – anyone with a pre-booked train is advised to check the website or app.

Eurostar will be running no services at all on December 26th due to strike action that has closed lines.

At present services from December 27th to January 1st are listed as running normally, but things can change closer to the time. Eurostar says it is “currently assessing the impact” of more planned strikes between January 3rd and 7th.

Passengers should be notified about cancellations or changes, but some Eurostar passengers have reported not getting updates about earlier cancellations, so it would be a good idea to keep an eye on the Eurostar website or app for any timetable changes. 


Border guards belonging to the Public and Commercial Services union have called strike action from December 23rd until December 31st, with the exception of December 27th, at Heathrow (Terminals 2,3,4 and 5), Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff airports.

The UK government has warned arrivals to “expect delays and disruption” at airports – 75 percent of passport control staff are PCS union members. The main effect will be long waits at passport control (some are predicting up to 10 hours) but there may also be flight cancellations as passengers may have to wait before disembarking their plane – something that will affect other incoming flights.

Anyone with a pre-booked ticket will be contacted by their airline if their flight is cancelled, but travellers should allow plenty of time to clear passport control.

In France cabin crew working for Easyjet have withdrawn their strike notice after successful pay negotiations, and Air France says it will be running normal services over the Christmas and New Year period. 


The UK border guards’ strike will also affect the ferry port of Newhaven, so there could also be delays for passengers on the Dieppe-Newhaven route, but cancellations are a lot less likely due to significantly lower volume of traffic through Newhaven.

The PCS strike does not include staff at Dover, Folkestone, Plymouth or Portsmouth.

Channel Tunnel

The border guards strike does not include staff at Folkestone, and train drivers on the Channel Tunnel do not belong to the RMT, so Channel Tunnel services should be running as normal.

Eurotunnel bosses say that unspecified “technical difficulties” at Folkestone which caused six-hour waits on December 19th have now been resolved.

Services are expected to be extremely busy as travellers change their plans to avoid flying or taking the train. There are also possible road disruptions in the UK (more below).

Domestic travel

So that’s travel services between France and the UK, but there are also issues to be aware of on both sides of the Channel once you leave the port/airport/station.

In the UK

Rail strikes – The biggest impact is likely to be on the railways, National Rail Enquiries says: “Due to various industrial action, there will be a reduced train services across the rail network from Tuesday, December 13th 2022 until Sunday, January 8th 2023. Significant disruption is expected across the rail network. Trains will be busier and likely to start later and finish earlier, and there will be no services at all in some places.”

The RMT union is taking strike action on December 13th, 14th, 16th, 17th, 24th, 25th, 26th and 27th.

Outside of strike days, union members are also refusing to do any overtime outside of their contracted work hours – and it is estimated that this will see around 20 percent of services cancelled. It seems that the disruption is concentrated on local services, rather than intercity routes. 

Roads – travel by road could also be disrupted over the holidays because of a strike by National Highways control room staff. These workers have a largely unseen but important role – including monitoring CCTV, programming motorway matrix boards and co-ordinating with emergency services. It essentially means that work to mitigate the effects of crashes, breakdowns or bottlenecks will happen more slowly, leading to unusually long traffic jams on motorways and A roads.

These strikes are on a regional basis – December 16th and 17th in the north-west, north-east, Yorkshire and Humber, December 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th for London and the south-east, December 30th and 31st for the West Midlands and south west and January 6th and 7th for the east Midlands and eastern England.

All National Highways workplaces will take industrial action on January 3rd and 4th.

In France

French rail workers are also taking strike action from Friday, December 23rd to Monday, 26th and SNCF says that only two in five of the normal services will be running on those days – with cancellations concentrated on the high-speed TGV lines. It does not affect local TER trains or city or suburban public transport.

The busy Christmas period means that most trains are full, so that people whose trains have been cancelled are struggling to book an alternative – SNCF is offering refunds of double the ticket price to anyone who cannot travel.

However a second strike – planned for December 30th to January 2nd – has been called off after a deal was reached.

You can keep up to date with all the latest strike news in our strike section HERE, and we will also update this article as things become clearer.

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For members


Everything you need to know about the new Berlin-Paris night train

After being offline for around a decade, the French and German capitals are again getting a direct night train linking them, with the first one departing on Monday evening. From frequency to costs, here’s the basics of a new rail trip from Paris to Berlin.

Everything you need to know about the new Berlin-Paris night train

For train travel enthusiasts looking for climate-friendly rail travel options between two of the biggest capitals in Europe – it’s been a long nine years. But with night trains making a comeback in Europe, Berlin in particular has been getting several nighttime options in the last year – with a service to Paris potentially being it’s biggest yet.

READ ALSO: Berlin-Paris night train returns after nine years

Who operates this train? Where can I buy a ticket?

The Berlin-Paris night train is operated by Austrian state rail company ÖBB, which will use Mannheim in Germany as a hub for its night train fleet.

With ÖBB operating night services from both Brussels and Paris at one end to Berlin and Vienna on the other, passengers leaving on a Nightjet train from either European capital will board specific train cars assigned for either Berlin or Vienna. It’ll be very important for travellers to board the right car, as they’ll be rearranged in Mannheim with one train taking the Berlin-bound cars north to the German capital and the Vienna-bound cars heading south for the Austrian border.

There’s several different ways you can book a ticket online. French rail SNCF, German state rail DB, and Austrian rail ÖBB all have online booking pages for the Nightjet. ÖBB’s page allows you to purchase from the operator directly and has one of the more user-friendly layouts for comparing prices and your various travel options. However, there are some other travel portals like Rail Europe, Nachtzug (night train), or Trainline where you can also search and book.

READ ALSO: What to know about the new planned cross-border train services between Austria and Germany

How long is the trip and when does it go?

The Berlin to Paris leg of the trip will leave Berlin at 20:18 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays – before arriving in Paris at 10:24 the next morning.

The train will travel in reverse from Paris to Berlin on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays – leaving at 19:12 and arriving in Berlin at 8:26 the next morning.

Depending on the direction, that obviously leaves a travel time of around 13 to 14 hours overnight.

Operators do, however, plan to make Berlin-Paris a nightly service by the end of the year – meaning that people will be able to travel in either direction any day.

KEY POINTS: How Germany’s long-distance train services will change next year

Where else does the train stop?

The Paris to Berlin Nightjet will stop in Halle, Erfurt, Frankfurt, and Strasbourg – in addition to the stop it makes in Mannheim to rearrange cars by destination – depending on whether passengers in the various cars are headed to Paris, Berlin, Brussels, or Vienna.

REVEALED: The best night trains running through Germany

What seat or sleeping options are there available and what do they cost?

There’s three broad categories of places on the train you can book – with each one having a few different sub-categories as well.

You can buy yourself a regular seat, a bunk in a cabin of couchettes, or a full sleeper cabin.

READ ALSO: 6 European cities you can reach from France by high-speed train

Going cheap on a night train – seat options

For seats, you can buy yourself either an individual seat on the train or a private compartment with seats for you and up to two other people. A private compartment will normally have six seats, but the night train will allow only a maximum of three people in each compartment. That way, each person can put their feet up on a second seat.

However, to do this, you need to buy the whole compartment. This will cost at least €100 and could easily be more expensive – depending on how far in advance you book and if you book at a busy time – like a holiday.

An individual seat is your cheapest option – for about €34 minimum. It might be fairly uncomfortable though for a 14-hour, overnight trip.

READ ALSO: Amsterdam-Paris-Berlin rail link likely ‘to come by 2027’

Budget sleeping – couchette bunks

People travelling as a group, particularly families, might find this the easiest option.

You can reserve a full cabin of couchette bunks for a base price of about €200. However, depending on when you’re travelling – this could end up being more expensive. So take care to look for cheaper options on a different day if you have the flexibility, or simply try to book far in advance.

Cheaper individual options will see you shell out at least €50 for a berth in a six-bed cabin or €60 for a spot in a four-bed couchette cabin.

If you reserve a couchette berth, breakfast is included and you’ll get dedicated bed linen.

EXPLAINED: How travelling by train between Berlin and the UK is now easier

Night train travelling in style

For those willing to splurge, there’s a variety of full sleeper car options available to travel in relative comfort.

The cheapest sleeper cars will see you pay a minimum of €80 for a spot in a three-bed sleeper car – or a minimum of €110 for a place in a two-bed sleeper car. Those might, however, be great options for a group of friends or a couple.

The most comfortable – and expensive way to travel the new Paris-Berlin night train, by private sleeper car. Source: Harald Eisenberger / Nightjet

Single travellers can shell out a minimum of €160 for a completely private sleeping car.

While all these options include fresh bed linen, breakfast, and a private sink – those willing to part with even more of their money can purchase “Plus” tickets for their triple, double, or single sleeper car spots.

These plus options mean the cabin comes with a private toilet and shower. These Plus options, however, can be considerably more expensive – potentially costing you double what a regular sleeper seat would. If you’re tempted, be sure to check the specific options for the day you want to travel.

READ ALSO: Berlin to get new night train service to Stockholm