M20 disruption and Eurostar: For peace of mind, take the train to Ashford rather than driving

Extra traffic has led to congestion and delays around Ashford

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The Independent Travel

Q. I am booked to travel on Eurostar's direct train from Ashford to Marseille one Monday later this month. If we miss it, we have lost our holiday. There is loads of gloom and doom in the press and on the news about the M20 and reaching Ashford at all. Do you possibly have advice for Eurostar passengers in a situation like this? Richard Kyle

A. Ashford has been difficult to reach for travellers hoping to head east along the M20, because the motorway has been intermittently closed for use as a lorry park in "Operation Stack". This is related to the migrant crisis at Calais, and the disruption caused by striking MyFerryLink workers at the French port.

While the old A20 has remained open throughout, the extra traffic has led to congestion and delays around Ashford. However, there is every chance the roads will be open and flowing normally. The peak days for Europe-bound trucks are Wednesdays and Thursdays and, barring very significant disruption to ferries or Eurotunnel, it is unlikely a Monday morning departure would be affected.

A simple way to avoid potential traffic problems would be to travel by train to Ashford. The station has early-morning arrivals from a wide range of stations in Kent and Sussex, including Canterbury, Margate, Maidstone and Hastings. At Ashford you will be able to connect easily to the Eurostar departure.

Finally, if your train to Marseille St-Charles is disrupted because of problems with the Tunnel, don't panic. Eurostar is well aware of the number of people who depend on its new link to the south of France, and will prioritise the train. In the most unlikely event it is cancelled, arrangements will be made to get you there via Lille or Paris.

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