Eurostar Resumes Service for Passengers Left Out in the Cold

21 December 2009 (Last Updated December 21st, 2009 18:30)

A limited number of services resumed on the Eurostar today, the rail line run by SNCF, SNCB and Eurostar, after thousands of passengers were left stranded due to its inability to cope with freezing conditions. Heavy snowfalls across northern France grounded all Eurostar trains running bet

A limited number of services resumed on the Eurostar today, the rail line run by SNCF, SNCB and Eurostar, after thousands of passengers were left stranded due to its inability to cope with freezing conditions.

Heavy snowfalls across northern France grounded all Eurostar trains running between London, Paris and Brussels over the weekend after trains carrying thousands of passengers became stuck in the Channel Tunnel on Saturday for up to 15 hours.

With Sunday and Monday services cancelled, it is expected about 55,000 passengers have been affected, many having to cancel Christmas travel plans or find alternative ways to travel.

Ferry services across the channel and flights, however, were also struggling because of the early cold snap, with companies unable to service some journeys due to stranded staff.

Eurostar said ineffective snow screens and snow shields, which did not prevent snow from entering the train's electrical system as it crossed into warmer air inside the Channel Tunnel, were to blame for its cancelled services.

An internal inquiry will be launched with immediate effect, according to Eurostar, and the French Government has also demanded an inquiry into the matter.

UK Transport Minister Sadiq Khan critised the rail operator for leaving many passengers in the dark over the affair.

"This has been a terrible experience for thousands of passengers," Khan said.