Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chunnel Trains Suspended Due To Mechanical Problems

This isn't a banner day for the Eurostar trains, which work through the Channel Tunnel. A cold weather snap resulted in the disruption of service as five trains broke down in the past several days.
Eurostar said more than 2,000 people were trapped in the tunnel on Friday, sometimes for two to three hours, with delays to journeys as long as 18 hours. On Saturday, a train from Brussels to London made the journey successfully, but another from Paris broke down and was delayed severely.

The company said it would offer travelers who suffered major delays £150, or about $240, as compensation in addition to a refund on their tickets and a free return ticket. It also offered to pay “reasonable” out-of-pocket expenses.

Eurostar, which carries about 25,000 passengers a day, said it was completing test runs of trains without passengers to try to resolve the problems before making any statement on resumption of services.

“I can’t guarantee our service will be working because we have suspended the service today until we get to the bottom of what happened on Friday night,” Mr. Brown told the BBC. “We will not start services again until we’re sure we can get through safely.”

In Britain, The Daily Telegraph reported one family’s account of a journey, from Disneyland Paris to London, during which the electricity failed, passengers were plunged into darkness and the atmosphere became stifling because of the lack of air conditioning.
The service is being suspended because Eurostar officials don't even know why the system broke down.

The cancellations meant that thousands who rely on the cross-Channel train link were stranded or had to deal with serious disruptions in their travel plans.

Officials were hoping to get the system straightened out by Christmas.

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