Eurostar launches biometric trial for check-in at London St Pancras

World-first for train enables passengers to complete ticket and passport checks securely at home

Eurostar, the high-speed passenger rail service linking the UK with mainland Europe, is trialling a contactless fast-track service called SmartCheck.

SmartCheck aims to revolutionize the passenger experience at check-in by making it easy for the passenger, maximize privacy and increase security. The aim is to eliminate queues and speed up the boarding process.

SmartCheck enables passengers to complete secure ticket verification and UK exit check on their mobile devices prior to travel.

As part of the trial, Business Premier and Carte Blanche ticket holders will be able to scan their identity documentation using their iPhones before arriving at the station, completing a biometric face scan to verify that they are the genuine holder of the identity document.

The biometric face verification is then linked to their e-ticket with confirmation sent to the passenger.

On arrival at St Pancras International station, passengers proceed through a dedicated SmartCheck lane. A face scan at the ticket gate verifies the passenger has completed the ticket check, with no sharing of paper or electronic tickets needed.

A second face scan at the UK Exit Check allows Eurostar to verify that the passenger has completed their passport information, again replacing the need for passengers to hand over documentation.

The concept is being brought to train travel as part of the First of a Kind 2020 competition run by Innovate UK, funded by the Department for Transport (DfT). The initiative supports research, development and innovation in the UK rail industry. At this time, the trial involves a limited number of invited passengers and is focused on the check-in and exit control processes operated by Eurostar at St Pancras Station and not the UK or Schengen Entry controls.


The primary company is  iProov, a company that works in biometric face authentication technology. 

The trial was developed in close partnership with Eurostar and WorldReach Software, now part of global identity and data security company, Entrust

N.B. Image credit: Eurostar

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