Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Le Shuttle resumes after lorry fire

Trains will resume running through the Channel Tunnel this evening following a lorry fire, Eurotunnel said.

Services on the Le Shuttle car service will restart as soon as possible after French firefighters give the all-clear, a company spokesman said.

He said the fire had been caused by a "smouldering load" on a lorry being carried in the north tunnel but that services would run through the south tunnel, and that the company anticipates running a full service through both tomorrow.

Holidaymakers have been left stranded in London and Paris by hours of cancellations of Eurostar passenger services following the incident at the French end of the cross-Channel tunnel.

A Eurotunnel spokesman said: "We will be running Shuttle services from later on this evening

"There was a smouldering load on board a truck we were carrying on board one of our shuttles."

He added: "In the south tunnel we will start running a service as soon as we can. We aim to be doing it within as short a time as possible."

He said that firefighters were examining the site in the north tunnel for damage, adding: "It doesn't look like anything significant at this stage. We hope we will be running a full service tomorrow."

Eurostar said it will not be restarting services tonight.

In a message posted on its website at 5.30pm, it said: "We are sorry but we are unable to run any further trains today because Eurotunnel has been closed due to smoke detected in the north tunnel.

"You will not be able to travel today, and so please do not come to the station. We will be updating the website with the very latest information. Keep checking here for updates."

Large queues have been building at St Pancras station, Eurostar's London terminus, as services were cancelled following the fire, and similar scenes were reported in Paris, with many holidaymakers forced to look for alternative transport or hotels.

Matt Sheppard, 26, is stuck in the French capital with friends, trying to get back to London after a week's skiing in La Plagne in the Alps.

He said they had been told at the Gare du Nord station that trains might not be running again until Monday, leaving them considering possible alternatives to get home for work in time.

He said their 10-strong group included one man who was due to start a new job on Monday.

He said: "When we got here, we very quickly found out that no trains were going to run today.

"There are loads of people just trying to figure out what they should do.

"We came down to the Ibis hotel and since we did about 10 other people have turned up trying to get a room for the night."

Mr Sheppard, from Bethnal Green in east London, praised Eurostar, saying that it had a lot of staff at Gare du Nord helping passengers who were arriving and telling them how to claim back money if they had to book a hotel for the night.

But he said they did not have a lot of information about when trains might start running again.

"He said possibly tomorrow but it could even be Monday," Mr Sheppard added.

Eurostar said it will run a full service tomorrow "for passengers who have an existing reservation for this date".

It said trains would be delayed by between 30 and 60 minutes because of only one tunnel being open.

But it said people whose trains were cancelled today were advised not to arrive at stations unless they had already been re-booked.

A spokesman said: "All passengers who are booked to travel tomorrow, Sunday 18 January, should check in as normal half an hour before departure.

"Eurostar services tomorrow are already very busy and availability is limited.

"If you were on a cancelled train today and need to travel urgently tomorrow, please call our contact centre on 03432 186 186 after 8am GMT tomorrow and we will try to re-book you on a service departing after 12pm GMT.

"We would strongly advise passengers whose journeys were impacted today by the problems in Eurotunnel not to come to our stations unless they have re-booked through our contact centre."


From Belfast Telegraph