Eurostar faces day of major delays and cancellations after breakdown in tunnel

Passengers in Paris told yesterday: ‘a non-Eurostar train has arrived at the Eurostar Terminal’

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Monday 15 October 2018 14:10
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Delays and cancellations on Eurostar due to broken-down train in Channel Tunnel

Passengers on Eurostar are enduring a second day of chaos, with long delays and cancellations.

A freight train has broken down in the Channel Tunnel, which means trains can run on only one of the two bores. The first departure of the day from London to Paris, which is understood to have entered the tunnel after the failed train, is expected to arrive over two hours late in the French capital.

One round-trip later in the day has already been cancelled as a knock-on effect, with passengers accommodated on other trains.

A Eurostar spokesperson said: “There are some delays to services this morning, due to an issue with a Eurotunnel train in the Channel Tunnel.

“We’d advise customers to check the website and follow our social media channels for updates on their journey.”

On Sunday, thousands of Eurostar passengers endured delays and cancellations because of a signalling error at Paris Gare du Nord.

Only trains run by the cross-Channel operator are allowed to use the Eurostar area at the western end of the station, which is the busiest in France.

Special security rules for the Channel Tunnel require a search of passengers and their baggage before they board trains to London St Pancras.

But on a very busy Sunday afternoon at the Paris terminal, another train was routed into the station on a Eurostar platform.

Immediately the security area was regarded as compromised. Passengers waiting for departing trains were required to leave the Eurostar area and go through the security check again.

The train operator tweeted: “We apologise to all passengers travelling on the 9047 as a non-Eurostar train has arrived at the Eurostar Terminal.

“Check-in has been suspended for and estimated delay for the departure of the #ES9047 of 150 minutes.”

Sunday had already begun badly at the Gare du Nord.

In two separate incidents, suspicious packages led to evacuations. The 11.13am departure broke down, with passengers taken to Lille to board a train arriving from Brussels. They finally arrived in London four hours late.

But after the “rogue train” arrived, every service was at least an hour late – apart from the 6.43pm, which was cancelled completely.

A Eurostar spokesperson said: “We apologise to customers impacted by the delays to services on Sunday, which was caused by a technical fault on one of our trains.

“Later in the day, a signalling issue at Gare du Nord resulted in another operator’s service arriving on Eurostar platforms.

This meant that the secure area had to be security checked again, to ensure that Eurostar continues to operate within a secure zone.

“As a knock-on effect there were two cancellations. Customers were re-accommodated on to other services, and will receive details on how to claim compensation.”

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