الإثنين , يونيو 8 2020

Channel Tunnel rail services resume

Queues building up at St Pancras Queues building up at St Pancras station, Eurostar’s London terminus, on Sunday

Train services have resumed through the Channel Tunnel after a fire caused it to be closed for most of Saturday.

The 08:19 GMT service to Paris was the first Eurostar train to leave St Pancras station in London on Sunday.

Eurostar has warned of delays of between 30 and 60 minutes because only one tunnel is open.

Eurotunnel’s shuttle services for cars and lorries started running again during the night after “residue smoke” was cleared from one of the tunnels.

Eurostar said a “near to normal” service would run on Sunday, with passengers advised to check in as normal if they were already booked to travel.

People whose trains had been cancelled on Saturday should not arrive at stations on Sunday unless they have already re-booked, the company added.

The Eurostar website is showing seats are still available for travel this weekend.

Clearing backlog

BBC News correspondent Andy Moore said an extra Eurostar train from London to Paris was being laid on, with 800 seats available, in an attempt to ease the queues.

Despite the company organising re-bookings, accommodation and refunds, it could be Monday before the backlog is cleared, he added.

Eurostar – which operates passenger services between Paris, London and Brussels – said 26 of its trains were cancelled on Saturday afternoon, affecting at least 12,000 passengers.

Eurotunnel said its vehicle and freight services restarted from the UK at 02:45 GMT, and 03:30 GMT from France.

The company added that it expected to operate a reduced Le Shuttle timetable, with two departures every two hours from both the UK and France. Its customers have been advised to check in as normal.

Entrance to Channel Tunnel at Calais on 17 January 2015The fire broke out near the French side of the Channel Tunnel

Eurostar passengers at St Pancras station on 17 January 2015Eurostar passengers tried to rebook or get refunds on their tickets

Eurostar departure boards at St Pancras on 17 January 2015The departure boards told the story of the day

The alarm was raised when two CO2 detectors were triggered at 11:25 GMT on Saturday at the French end of the north tunnel.

Eurotunnel said a load on a lorry on board one of its trains, en route from the UK to France, had been “smouldering”.

John Keefe, Eurotunnel’s public affairs director, said: “We are in the process of moving the train from the incident site. That will enable us to get our technicians in to clean up and conduct any repairs that’ll be necessary.”

The affected tunnel is expected to be brought into service on Sunday, with “everything back as it absolutely should be” on Monday.

Lines of lorries

Eurotunnel said passengers were safely evacuated from trains in the tunnel, and the fire “was quickly brought under control” by French emergency services.



Eurotunnel trains

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Passenger Ben Lawton describes how his cabin filled with smoke

Firefighters examined the site and a Eurotunnel spokesman said it did not look like there was any significant damage.

During the day, at St Pancras station and in Paris, there were long queues of passengers after services were cancelled. At Folkestone, lines of lorries built up near the Eurotunnel entrance.

Eurotunnel had anticipated resuming services on Saturday night through its south tunnel, which was unaffected by the fire.

But in a tweet shortly before midnight, the company said it was “taking slightly longer than anticipated to recommence services, we need to be sure any residue smoke cleared completely before we do so”.

Empty trains were sent through the tunnel to ensure it was clear and customers were offered transfers to ferries until the service recommenced, Eurotunnel said.

Eurostar’s customer care number is 03432 186 186, or +44 1777 777 878 for people outside the UK.

Eurotunnel’s information line is +44 8444 63 00 00.

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