Eurostar suffers third day of trouble

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The Channel tunnel Eurostar service ran into trouble again yesterday, when tickets went on sale for the first time.

A telephone fault prevented passengers from calling the ticket office in Ashford, Kent, and a computer fault at Waterloo in London held up ticket sales for a few hours.

The service ran into trouble twice last week, on its first two days, due to problems with the trains. European Passenger Services, which operates the route, hopes the public will not be put off by the recent mishaps. The company was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Tickets for the Eurostar service, which promises a three- hour journey from London to Paris or Brussels, went on sale yesterday. The cheapest start at pounds 95 and a standard return costs pounds 155.

The service begins on 14 November, with two return trains a day to each city.

Last Thursday, the company suffered the embarrassment of a train breakdown in Waterloo station with 400 journalists on board. On Friday, a train with another 400 passengers, including Sir Bob Reid, chairman of British Rail, and Sir Alastair Morton, Eurotunnel joint chairman, broke down at Calais.

People queuing for the first tickets yesterday were confident, however, of an efficient and reliable service.

Abed Amada, a 27-year-old Syrian student, who had been queuing for two hours for the first ticket, said: 'I think the trains will be just fine. I think it's going to be a good service and I'm really looking forward to going on it.'