Hundreds of passengers evacuated from Channel Tunnel after power failure
Customers told to postpone all non-essential travel
Published 07/07/2014 | 15:00
A train has broken down midway through the Channel Tunnel, resulting in huge delays and a call on customers to "postpone" all unessential travel.
More than 300 passengers and four dogs had to be evacuated from the stricken train after it reported "a problem with the overhead power line".
They were transferred via service tunnels from the French-bound train to another in the remaining, unblocked tunnel, and have now reached the French terminal.
But the operator, Eurotunnel, said it was still expecting delays of up to six hours to services, possibly for the whole of the rest of the day.
The incident happened at around 7.30am today 7.5 miles into the 30-mile long tunnel.
"The evacuated passengers are now at the French terminal and are waiting for the affected train to arrive so they can get their cars," a Eurotunnel spokesman said.
He went on: "We are advising people who don't need to travel today to travel on another day. There are queues building up and travellers should expect delays throughout the day."
Passenger Richard Byrom told BBC Radio Kent he and the other passengers were trapped for around four hours in total. He said: "All of a sudden I heard this crashing noise, it didn't sound like the train itself had crashed but what became evident later on was that the power cables had got entangled or come down."
He said that after 20 minutes they were taken off the train and had to wait for about half an hour for the service to take them on to France.
Eurotunnel's official Twitter profile repeated the request, saying: "Due to delays to passenger service following a technical problem with an overhead power line, we advise customers postpone travelling today."
And it said it had received "a high level of responses on Twitter" which it would be unable to reply to "directly".
Channel Tunnel high-speed train company Eurostar said it had already had to cancel four services today and warned passengers to expect delays to ones that are able to run.
Eurostar told customers: "If travel today is non-essential you can exchange your ticket, free of charge, to another available service within the next four months."