Thousands trapped in Channel Tunnel

More than two thousand passengers were trapped in the Channel Tunnel last night when unusually cold weather in northern France made four Eurostar trains break down at the same time.

Four trains coming from Brussels and Paris entered the tunnel between France and England and promptly broke down because of the temperature change between the cold air in France and the warm air inside the tunnel.

Some passengers were evacuated after a few hours, but others had to spend all night in the tunnel. The blockage caused a huge traffic jam of cars on either side of the tunnel.

Eurostar has warned that services will remain severely disrupted throughout the weekend and that passengers should seek alternative ways to get to their destination. Eurostar has apologized for the delays and has offered refunds. It’s also considering compensation.

But the trouble doesn’t stop there. Heavy snowfall and unseasonably cold temperatures have disrupted travel in many parts of England and Scotland. Drivers are being turned away from the Channel Tunnel and being warned not to drive on the M20 near Folkstone or Dover. The Port of Calais in France is also closed.

Eurostar Rolls On

For those of you fellow train lovers, here’s a bit of news. The awesome London-to-Paris Chunnel train, the Eurostar, is moving next year from its home at Waterloo station to the St. Pancras station.

This train is nothing to sneeze at: central London to central Paris in under 3 hours, in quiet, smooth high-speed (186 mph max speed!) luxury, through the Chunnel, for as little as 29.50 pounds ($58USD).

Apparently, the tracks to Waterloo aren’t modern enough to handle better speeds, severely slowing the train as it rolls into London, so they’re moving the terminus to another station, northwest of London.

In November next year, renovations to London’s St. Pancras station will be complete, allowing eight trains to sit side-by-side in a modern new station. Trip time will drop by a half hour or more. And the St. Pancras/Kings Cross station is pretty centrally located, and on the Circle Line Tube.

Some folks aren’t too happy, though. After all, Waterloo is placed well for those south of the center, and those working at Parliament.