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Channel Tunnel train services resume after fire

By BBC   |   18 January 2015   |   3:19 am  

TRAIN services have resumed through the Channel Tunnel, after a fire saw it closed for most of Saturday.

Eurotunnel said trains restarted from the UK at 02:45 GMT after it delayed resuming vehicle and freight services because of “residue smoke” concerns.

Earlier, Eurostar says passenger services between London and mainland Europe would resume on Sunday morning.

But the company has warned of delays of between 30 and 60 minutes because only one tunnel will be open.

Eurostar – which operates services between Paris, London and Brussels – said 26 of its trains were cancelled on Saturday afternoon.

The alarm was raised when two CO2 detectors were triggered at 11:25 GMT 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”. Passengers were safely evacuated from trains in the tunnel, and the fire “was quickly brought under control by the emergency services”, the company said.

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

During the day, however, at St Pancras station, Eurostar’s London terminus, and in Paris, there were long queues after services were cancelled following the fire and passengers tried to re-book or get refunds. 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”.

It later tweeted: “Service resuming from the UK at 02.45 UK Time and from France at 04.30 CET.”

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

The company added that it expected to operate a reduced timetable on Sunday.

Eurostar said it would be running a “full service” on Sunday for passengers who have “an existing reservation for this date”.

It added that people whose trains were cancelled on Saturday were advised not to arrive at stations unless they had already been re-booked.

Eurostar said availability on trains was limited on Sunday but passengers who needed to travel urgently should contact its customer services, which would try to put them on services departing after 12:00 GMT.

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

 



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