Sat, December 19, 2009
World > Europe

Cold snap traps four trains in Channel Tunnel

2009-12-19 11:20:44 GMT2009-12-19 19:20:44 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

LONDON, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- More than 2,000 people were trapped for hours inside the Channel Tunnel after four Eurostar trains broke down due to cold weather, according local news reports on Saturday.

The trains failed as they left the cold air in northern France and entered the warmer tunnel. The trains were coming from Brussels and Paris, and Eurostar said the change in the atmospheric conditions caused a problem with their electrics.

Eurostar said the four trains had been moved from the tunnel and passengers were being transferred to England.

"Four Eurostars broken down at one time -- it's absolutely unprecedented," said a spokesman from Eurotunnel, the operator of the Channel Tunnel.

"There's never actually been an evacuation of a Eurostar train in the 15 years that the tunnel has been opened and last night we evacuated two whole trains to get people off," he said.

Eurostar services have been cancelled until noon Saturday and will be severely disrupted at the weekend.

Heavy snowfall caused travel chaos, forced schools to close and cut off power supplies in parts of Britain on Friday. Meanwhile, more snow and freezing temperatures are expected for parts of Scotland and southeastern and eastern England.

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