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Long queues return at Dover and Eurotunnel as first day of train strikes begins

There are fresh queues at Eurotunnel and Dover as the first day of train strikes saw extra cars on Kent's roads.

Ferry operator P&O Ferries warned passengers of “major queues” and to expect a two-hour wait to complete checks before they can board a ship.

Long delays have returned to the Port of Dover. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA
Long delays have returned to the Port of Dover. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA

Meanwhile, those using Eurotunnel say they have been stuck in tailbacks in Folkestone for 90 minutes.

One lane of the A20 is also closed for Dover TAP.

The extra waiting time is due to high demand at border control and check-in.

P&O Ferries posted on Twitter: “There are currently major queues at border controls in Dover.

“Please allow up to two hours to complete all checks ahead of your sailing.

“If you miss your sailing, or if you complete the checks early, we will put you on the first available sailing when you check in.”

The delays come on the first of two rail strike days, with hardly any Southeastern services running anywhere in the county.

RMT union members have gone on strike across the National Rail Network today, affecting all train operators across the country, while the ASLEF union strike is due to go ahead on Saturday, again bringing services to a halt.

More than 40,000 workers walked out today in the ongoing row over job security, pay and working conditions.

The industrial action includes thousands of staff from both Network Rail and 14 train operating companies - who all stopped work on three separate occasions in June.

There are delays on the ferries
There are delays on the ferries

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch says he won't give up until his hundreds of thousands of members are offered a pay deal that takes into account the escalating cost of living.

Network Rail spokesman Paul Dent-Jones, apologised to passengers for problems created by the strikes and he hoped the dispute underpinning the strikes could be resolved.

"First off, let me just apologise to all our passengers," he said. "I'm really really sorry for the disruption you're going to experience this week, especially off the back of the heatwave. We're doing everything we can to keep some services running but obviously we've got people out on strike.

"We've trained an extra 250 people to step into those really critical roles so that we can keep some services running, but even with their support it's nowhere near the number of people we need to run a normal railway, so we've had to prioritise the lines where we can move the most passengers with the limited resources available."

He said the key message for passengers was to only travel if it's absolutely necessary, and to check travel information before any journey, but he admitted the situation was "a nightmare".

"Obviously we're urging the RMT to get back around the negotiating table because really it's up to us to fix," he added.

"We want to get a pay deal sorted - our people deserve a pay rise. "

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