Eurostar train manager reveals little known 'prison cell' on all cross channel trains

7 July 2023, 08:46

Eurostar trains have a seat for people under arrest
Eurostar trains have a seat for people under arrest. Picture: Twitter/Alamy

By Kit Heren

Every Eurostar train has a space for someone to be handcuffed to their seat, a train manager has revealed.

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Blake Cracknell, a London-based manager for the service, said that if French or British police were moving criminals or people under arrest from one country to another, Eurostar had to be ready to accommodate them.

He told his Twitter followers: "Here’s a little known Eurostar fact for you all, we’re required to provide space for the national authorities to move someone under arrest on our services, thus each of our trains has a private space with these points to attach handcuffs".

Mr Cracknell added that he had to sit in the seat for prisoner when he was travelling to Paris as a passenger the previous day, because the train was full.

"Thankfully not locked in though," he joked.

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Mr Cracknell said that he had only seen it used once for its intended purpose of one of the trains he was managing - when a suspect was being extradited from France to the UK.

The current version of the handcuff space is minimalist, and could be mistaken for a cupholder.

Mr Cracknell also shared a picture of an older version, which looks more menacing.

Some people saw the funny side. One person joked: "I'm assuming an at seat service of drinks and light refreshments is not served?"

"Only things that can be opened with one hand," Mr Cracknell replied.

An older version of the restraint
An older version of the restraint. Picture: Twitter/@TMBlakeEurostar

Another said: "On the South side of the tunnel it's the baguette holder, on the north side it's for the umbrella".

A third person quipped: "I'm travelling with my son in August. He's a bit of a fidget. Can these facilities be booked in advance."

But it's unlikely you'll be sitting in the space on your next trip across the Channel - Mr Cracknell said that the handcuff seat is not given to normal passengers "unless absolutely necessary".

He added that the space is usually used by Eurostar and border authorities staff.

Asked if there were special procedures to remove the handcuffs in the case of an emergency, Mr Cracknell said yes - but that he couldn't reveal the answer publicly.

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