Easter weekend travel: Eurostar and Eurotunnel disruption leaves thousands on wrong side of Channel on Good Friday

Knock-on from yesterday's problems add to cross-Channel demand on other services while major rail routes also face major disruption across UK

Thousands of travellers who had been hoping to make an early getaway for the Easter break woke up this morning on the wrong side of the Channel following severe disruption to Eurostar and Eurotunnel services.

For much of Thursday, Eurostar passenger services from London St Pancras to Paris, Brussels and Disneyland Paris were disrupted by a fatality near the French city of Lille, which added two hours to many journeys. Then a car-carrying Eurotunnel Shuttle failed in the Channel Tunnel. With all the other trains having to use a single bore of the tunnel, operations slowed to a crawl. Some passengers arrived here in the early hours of this morning after a seven-hour journey from Brussels – triple the normal journey time.

Late in the day, Eurostar cancelled 14 trains, affecting up to 10,000 passengers.

Jeremy Bestwick from Loughborough said: “There was no information coming through for passengers waiting. The queues were building and the station was absolutely jam-packed. People were assuming they were going to be late, but that they were going to travel. Then around 10.30pm they were told ‘no more trains tonight’. Most people stayed fairly cheerful but a few weren’t very happy – more for the lack of communication than anything else.”

Passengers were given a letter advising them to re-book for a different date within two months or claim a refund. Those stranded in London were told they could find a hotel, and claim the cost from Eurostar, but they would not be covered if they switched to a flight.

Eurostar said it hoped to run all its trains on time today to Paris, Brussels and Disneyland. But loads were already expected to be very high, with 15 per cent more passengers booked than last Good Friday. As a result there are very few seats available for today.

Eurostar said it hoped to run all its trains on time today to Paris, Brussels and Disneyland Eurostar said it hoped to run all its trains on time today to Paris, Brussels and Disneyland Gemma Ware tweeted: “Chaos starting early this morning @Eurostar. Hundreds arriving already with tickets for yesterday and no information about what's happening.”

Passengers were segregated into people with confirmed bookings for Good Friday, who were ushered through to the departure area, and those who failed to travel yesterday – who were told to queue for possible space.

Eurotunnel shuttles from Folkestone to Calais were running last night with five-hour delays on the English side of the Channel, but overnight waits eased to less than an hour. No new bookings are being accepted for travel on Good Friday.

Meanwhile the UK’s airports are busy, with easyJet predicting it will carry more passengers than any other day in its history.

Fares are extremely high, with last-minute tickets to Spain and Portugal going for £500 or more.

On the ferries, the problems in the Channel Tunnel have added to demand between Dover and Calais, which was already looking extremely busy. Sailings back to Britain on Easter Monday are also heavily booked. Loads on Eurostar are already expected to be very high, with 15 per cent more passengers booked than last Good Friday Loads on Eurostar are already expected to be very high, with 15 per cent more passengers booked than last Good Friday

In Britain, all the key long-distance rail lines to and from London are disrupted over the weekend. Sheffield, Derby and Nottingham are cut off from London St Pancras on Saturday and Sunday. Scotland is disconnected from England on the West Coast Main Line by work between Carlisle and Carstairs. Further south, the West Coast Main Line is closed on Saturday and Sunday at Warrington, with trains diverted via Manchester. Services on the Great Western route from London Paddington are reduced, with the number of Heathrow Express trains halved.

The East Coast Main Line to London Kings Cross from Yorkshire, north-east England and eastern Scotland has a severely reduced service.

London Bridge station, serving Kent, Surrey and Sussex – including Gatwick airport – is closed for a project called the “Bermondsey Dive Under”. The busiest station in Hampshire, Southampton Central, is closed all weekend.

Sport
footballLIVE City face Stoke, while Warnock returns to Palace dugout
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
News
Paul McCartney backs the
people
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# .NET Web Developer (ASP.NET, JavaScript, jQuery, XML, XLST)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...

Clinical Negligence Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...

Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF, BGP, Multicast, WAN)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...

Commercial Property Solicitor - Bristol

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM A high qual...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone