17 September 2008

Channel Tunnel Fire

A serious fire occurred in the Channel Tunnel starting at 1457 GMT on 11 September, in the North Tunnel 6.8 miles from the French portal. This was apparently started by a lorry which caught fire on a freight-carrying vehicle train travelling towards France. Although nobody was killed, a number of people were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation and cuts and bruises.

Currently the South Tunnel remains open for traffic on an emergency timetable offering limited services.

Eurostar have advised customers to avoid travelling unless their journey is absolutely essential, as they can expect significantly longer journey times. Passengers should check-in as normal for the train times given on their tickets and should be put on one of the next available trains. This could mean waiting a long time before boarding. Journey times will also be significantly longer. All travellers with non-essential journeys up to Sunday 21 September can get a refund or exchange their tickets for travel at a later date.

It is understood that services through the tunnel could be disrupted for several weeks whilst repair works are carried out.

Controversially, some airline operators have increased the price of tickets on their flights to Paris, whilst coach operator Eurolines is providing additional coaches to the French capital as well as Brussels and Lille.

(Photo: Courtesy of The Daily Mail)