Travel by rail

The focus of this guidance is rail travel between the UK and main land Europe. Whilst there are regulations to support rail travel around Europe, there are likely to be significant variations in how regulation is interpreted and how physical services and infrastructure are used to support disabled passengers, especially those with a guide or assistance dog.

As with other modes of international travel, it is advisable to notify the rail operator or the agent you are booking your rail travel with, that you are accompanied by a guide or assistance dog, enabling them to make the appropriate provision for your dog. The following information is based on rail travel between the UK and mainland Europe with Eurostar, although other rail service providers are likely to offer cross-channel services in the near future. Additionally, you should also read and familiarise yourself with the section of this website on  Welfare Considerations.

If advised that you are travelling with a guide or assistance dog, Eurostar will block off a seat next to you to provide floor space to accommodate your dog. This additional space does need to be booked, but there is no charge for it.

Eurostar are only able to carry four assistance dogs on any one train, due to Eurotunnel safety procedures (e.g. in the event of a tunnel evacuation). In the unlikely event that there are four dogs on a train, guide or assistance dog owners would be asked to travel on the next available service, which should be a short wait. Although guide and assistance dog owners should be able to turn up and go without booking, Eurostar suggests it is advisable for guide and assistance dog owners to book travel with them, so that Eurostar can ensure that two or more seats can be booked side by side, and paperwork is in order, e.g. the PETS Passport, for transportation of your dog.

On an outward journey from the UK, the stations able to accept and process assistance dogs are London St Pancras and Ebbsfleet International, and your travel is unlimited as to where you go on your onward journey.  Returning from the continent, you can only travel back to the UK with Eurostar, because of PETS checks restrictions, from Paris, Brussels, Lille or Calais.

As with other modes of international or European travel, guide and assistance dog owners will need a PETS passport to travel on Eurostar services out of and back into the UK. Eurostar will carry out PETS checks on both sides of the Channel on return journeys to the UK. So, for a Paris to London journey, staff in Paris will carry out PETS checks and your dog will be checked again upon arrival in London. The purpose of the checks in Paris is to catch any issues before they become major problems, and reduce the possibility of a guide or assistance dog owner having to be separated from their dog due to PETS passport procedural requirements not being met.

When accepting dogs travelling to the continent, Eurostar only check that they have a qualifying PETS passport (and microchip) and that they are certified assistance dogs.  No other checks are carried out outbound. Eurostar remind dog owners to make sure that all the necessary checks are done before returning to the UK, including Tapeworm treatment.