Mon, December 21, 2009
World > Europe

Eurostar expected to partially resume traffic

2009-12-21 22:02:04 GMT2009-12-22 06:02:04 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Passengers wait at the Eurostar terminal at St. Pancras Station in London, capital of Britain, on Dec. 21, 2009. Eurostar halted trains for a third day to probe the breakdown of services through the Channel Tunnel on Saturday. (Xinhua/Guo Rui)

Passengers wait at the Eurostar terminal at St. Pancras Station in London, capital of Britain, on Dec. 21, 2009. Eurostar halted trains for a third day to probe the breakdown of services through the Channel Tunnel on Saturday. (Xinhua/Guo Rui)

Passengers wait to sign up for hotel rooms at St. Pancras Station in London, capital of Britain, on Dec. 21, 2009. Eurostar halted trains for a third day to probe the breakdown of services through the Channel Tunnel on Saturday. (Xinhua/Guo Rui)

The exit of the international arrivals is closed at St. Pancras Station in London, capital of Britain, on Dec. 21, 2009. Eurostar halted trains for a third day to probe the breakdown of services through the Channel Tunnel on Saturday. (Xinhua/Guo Rui)

PARIS, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Eurostar trains suspended in the Manche tunnel was expected to resume traffic partially on Tuesday, the company's chief official said here Monday.

"We will partially resume the traffic tomorrow," as the tests detecting the problem went on well, Nicolas Petrovic, the general deputy director of Eurostar said at the Gare du Nord station in Paris, one Eurostar terminal.

The Eurostar trains linking Britain and France halted under Manche Channel, trapped over 2000 passengers in the tunnel, and affected other thousands of people planning or having planned holiday travels.

Early Monday morning, the company announced no operating service for the day and blamed "acute weather conditions in northern France" for the suspension, but the French government was as furious as stricken passengers, saying the weather can't be the sole reason.

Around noon, French President Nicolas Sarkozy summoned Guillaume Pepy, the chairman of both the Eurostar and the French national railway network SNCF, demanded explanation for the chaos.

After their meeting, Elysee Palace released a statement saying "the president asked that a resumption of traffic be effective by tomorrow, Dec. 22."

The president also suggested that an urgent France-Britain commission be united to tackle the circulation in the tunnel, and reminded the company of taking further cautious measures to avoid such accidents in the future.

Eurostar's chief official Petrovic made the announcement of traffic resumption hours after Sarkozy's demand, while adding that a full recovery can not be expected until Dec. 28.

Averagely, Eurostar trains carries about 40,000 people a day between Britain and continental Europe during normal operations.

The company still advised passengers on its website to "change their booking to later date or claim refund on their tickets" and promised to compensate passengers "out-of pocket expenses" caused by the accident.

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