Travel chaos LATEST: Dover queues causing 'holiday hell' on Eurotunnel plus cancelled flights update and train strikes | The Sun

QUEUES are building at the Channel Tunnel this morning as Britain braces for a hellish week of disruption to rail, road & airline services.

Simultaneous walkouts and chaos will cripple Britain's transport infrastructure during the first official week of summer holidays for most schools.

Traffic jams swamped the Eurotunnel car terminal in Folkestone, Kent, after part of the M20 was shut to park 600 lorries.

It was a knock-on from the nightmare that gripped the Port of Dover on Friday and Saturday — with ferries struggling to clear the freight backlog.

Ferry operator DFDS told Dover passengers that there were "queues of around an hour" for French border checks this morning as they issued travel advice.

They advised passengers to "allow a minimum of 120 minutes before your departure to complete all controls" amid reports queues had eased.

Toby Howe, senior highways manager at Kent County Council and tactical lead at Kent Resilience Forum, said the current queues at the Port of Dover were "normal for a Monday morning".

Meanwhile, more than 40,000 workers at Network Rail will strike on Wednesday after no breakthrough in talks, the RMT union has announced.

And workers at Chiltern Railways, GWR, LNER, London Overground, Northern, Southeastern, TransPennine, and West Midlands will all walk out on Saturday, July 30.

In a further blow to Brits, RyanAir will also strike this week.

Read our travel delays live blog below for the latest news & updates…

  • Joseph Gamp

    Dover MP blames French police chief for travel chaos

    A FRENCH police chief who is critical of Brexit was blamed for the Dover traffic chaos which continued to cause misery for thousands of holidaymakers yesterday.

    It came as French border staff working inside Dover port carried out full passport checks for the first time since 2019.

    Fernand Gontier, 62, director general of France's PAF Border Police, has been moaning about Britain leaving the EU since the referendum in 2016 ? calling it a "regression".

    He was accused of being responsible for there not being enough French officers in Dover port to process checks on Friday.

    Families faced 30-hour queues while as few as four of 12 French border passport booths were opened at one time. And there were still queues of up to six hours yesterday as the Kent cross- Channel ferry port officials struggled to cope with the huge backlog built up from Friday.

    Dover MP Natalie Elphicke let rip at Mr Gontier after some of his border staff did not turn up to work on Friday.

    She said: "First, the French don't turn up to work, then they refuse to apologise for ruining Brits' well-deserved holidays.

    "No wonder people are asking whether this is yet more anti-British behaviour from the French to punish us for leaving the EU.

    "I'm really disappointed by Mr Gontier. How was this allowed to happen? He's responsible as the chief. He has questions to answer."

  • Joseph Gamp

    RMT statement on Wednesday's crippling rail walk-out

    RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: "Strike action will take place next Wednesday as planned and our members are more determined than ever to secure a decent pay rise, job security and good working conditions.

    "Network Rail have not made any improvement on their previous pay offer and the train companies have not offered us anything new.

    "In fact Network Rail have upped the ante, threatening to impose compulsory redundancies and unsafe 50% cuts to maintenance work if we did not withdraw our planned strike action.

    "The train operating companies have put driver-only operations on the table along with ransacking our members' terms and conditions.

    "RMT will continue to negotiate in good faith but we will not be bullied or cajoled by anyone.

    "The Government need to stop their interference in this dispute so the rail employers can come to a negotiated settlement with us."

  • Joseph Gamp

    AA warns travel chaos to jam Britain's roads during warm months

    Head of roads policy at the AA Jack Cousens shared his worries that delays will last throughout the warm months.

    He explained: "We are concerned that we could be in for a repeat of this congestion across the summer.

    "Drivers due to use both Dover and Folkestone to head into Europe on Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday mornings between now and the reopening of schools may see a repetition of these delays."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Transport for London reviewing long-term funding settlement

    Transport for London (TfL) says it is reviewing a draft proposal from the Government for a long-term funding settlement.

    TfL has been operating on a series of emergency short-term funding deals since falling into financial trouble during the pandemic.

    Andy Byford, London's Transport Commissioner, said the long-term funding – if agreed – would provide much-needed certainty for those in the nation's capital.

    He said: "Since keeping London moving through the darkest periods of the pandemic we have been making the case to Government that there can be no UK recovery without a London recovery and that there can be no London recovery without a properly funded transport network.

    "We are grateful for the support we have received so far, and maintain we have met every condition that has been set by Government as we have worked towards agreeing a multi-year funding settlement that would give certainty to London and to the tens of thousands of jobs across the country that are directly linked to TfL."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Passengers in Folkestone 'treated worse than cattle'

    Passengers at Folkestone said they were "treated worse than cattle" while stuck in their cars for up to 21 hours this weekend.

    The gridlock was blamed on the decision to shut a 24-mile stretch of the M20 due to Operation Brock.

    Kent Police effectively turned the roads into a car park for thousands of lorries in an attempt to ease congestion – which seems to have backfired.

    The AA branded the entrance to the Eurotunnel in Folkestone the "hotspot of holiday hell", warning drivers to "be prepared".

  • Joseph Gamp

    Port of Dover hanging on 'knife edge'

    Holidaymakers have been warned the Kent port is on a "knife edge" as the country's travel mayhem entered its third torturous day.

    A "critical incident" was declared at Dover on Friday, with holidaymakers told to arrive six hours early for ferry queues lasting up to five hours.

    A ramp up of post-Brexit border checks and French authorities' understaffing checkpoints have been blamed for the hold-ups.

    Local authorities have now urged ministers to handle the issue as a "national problem" instead of the "sticking plaster" approach.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Holidaymakers warned 'long way to go' before Dover backlog cleared

    Holidaymakers and residents have been warned there is a "way to go" to clear the backlog at Dover with a "very busy" day expected but port authorities expressed relief at improved levels of French border staff.

    Some 10,000 cars were expected at the port on Saturday, with more than 13,000 passengers said to be "on their way" before 10am.

    Scenes of gridlocked roads and bumper-to-bumper cars seen on Friday were repeated as travellers, some of whom got out of their vehicles to stretch their legs while traffic was at a standstill, endured more lengthy waits.

    Port of Dover chief executive Doug Bannister indicated that five to six-hour delays could still be the case on Saturday, which was already expected to be a busier day than Friday.

    This is one of the busiest periods for foreign travel from the UK as most schools in England and Wales have broken up for summer.

    Chaotic scenes at the port have prompted Foreign Secretary and Tory leadership hopeful Liz Truss to blame France for "entirely avoidable" delays, calling on officials there to "build up capacity at the border to limit any further disruption for British tourists and to ensure this appalling situation is avoided in future".

  • Joseph Gamp

    Traffic jams swamped Eurotunnel car terminal in Folkestone

    Traffic jams swamped the Eurotunnel car terminal in Folkestone, Kent, after part of the M20 was shut to park 600 lorries yesterday.

    It was a knock-on from the nightmare that gripped the Port of Dover on Friday and Saturday —with ferries struggling to clear the freight backlog.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Just one in five trains will run during strike days

    Just one in five trains will run on strike days — with last services leaving by 6.30pm and disruption expected all week.

    A Network Rail map reveals only half of the ­network will be operating, with no services to Chester, Bournemouth, Blackpool, and most of Wales.

    Militant unions told rail users they should work from home for a week to avoid the impending travel chaos, which is set to cost the fragile economy £150million.

    Some 50,000 drivers and staff will take to picket lines, claiming their pay rises and conditions fall short.

  • Joseph Gamp

    ScotRail passengers issued with severe travel chaos warning

    A TRAVEL warning has been issued to ScotRail passengers after hundreds of trains were cancelled due to a Network Rail strike this week.

    The RMT union said industrial action will go ahead on Wednesday in a row over pay and job cuts. Daily services across the country will be hit as signalling and maintenance staff walk out.

    Only nine services will operate every hour across the central belt including two trains between Edinburgh and Glasgow and two between Edinburgh and Bathgate.

    All other trains have been axed on Wednesday.

    And 300 more have been cancelled on Thursday morning as time will be needed to prepare. ScotRail said: "Please only travel if necessary."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Holiday chaos switches to Channel Tunnel routes from Folkestone

    HOLIDAY travel hell finally eased at Dover yesterday — but switched to the nearby Channel Tunnel.

    Traffic jams swamped the Eurotunnel car terminal in Folkestone, Kent, after part of the M20 was shut to park 600 lorries.

    It was a knock-on from the nightmare that gripped the Port of Dover on Friday and Saturday — with ferries struggling to clear the freight backlog.

    Holidaymaker Manesh Luthra was one of thousands who got stuck in queues for the tunnel.

    He said: "It was the worst 21 hours we've experienced. We moved just metres in hours." Teacher trainer Marc Naylor said he moved just two miles in 21 hours, adding: "We are finally on a train.

    "Only another three and a half hours to go on the other side but that will be bliss compared to the last day."

    The AA warned drivers going to Folkestone to prepare for a long wait. It said: "Dover has recovered, but Folkestone has become the hotspot of holiday hell."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Kent County Council play down Monday morning queues

    Toby Howe, senior highways manager at Kent County Council and tactical lead at Kent Resilience Forum, said the current queues at the Port of Dover were "normal for a Monday morning".

    He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that next weekend is likely to be "very busy".

    Mr Howe said: "It's the second busiest getaway weekend of the summer holidays.

    "As we've just found out the weekend just gone, traffic numbers travelling across the Channel were back to pre-pandemic levels and with the increased checks it is slower to get through, so it takes very little to cause those tailbacks."

    On what the rest of the summer could bring, he said: "Basically it's a very vulnerable situation, it takes very little to cause further issues."

  • Joseph Gamp

    More queues at Dover as fears of 'vulnerable summer' grow

    Queues are building at the Port of Dover amid fears that the severe disruption seen in recent days could return to Kent throughout the summer.

    Ferry operator DFDS told passengers that there were "queues of around an hour" for French border checks on Monday morning, and to "allow a minimum of 120 minutes before your departure to complete all controls".

    P&O Ferries wrote on Twitter: "The queues have picked up and it is taking approximately one hour to clear passport control."

    Passengers were forced to wait for several hours on Friday as bumper-to-bumper traffic stretching for miles marred the journeys of tens of thousands of families at the start of the school summer holidays.

    This was blamed on a staffing shortage at French border control and a serious crash on the M20 motorway.

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