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HomeWorld NewsPassengers Stranded Beneath English Channel After Eurotunnel Train Breaks Down

Passengers Stranded Beneath English Channel After Eurotunnel Train Breaks Down

Dozens of Eurotunnel passengers were stranded in emergency tunnels beneath the English Channel for up to five hours after a train broke down.

Video footage on social media showed some holidaymakers tramping through the tunnel with children, suitcases, and dogs as they returned to England from holidays in France.

The train from Calais to Folkestone, which was carrying 100 cars, coaches, and lorries, broke down in the 31-mile long tunnel around 4 p.m. on Tuesday after an alarm sounded on board.

Sarah Fellows, 37, from Birmingham, told PA: “The service tunnel was terrifying. It was like a disaster movie. You were just walking into the abyss not knowing what was happening. We all had to stay under the sea in this big queue.”

She said: “There was a woman crying in the tunnel, another woman having a panic attack who was travelling alone. They were expecting really older people to walk for a mile down the middle of a tunnel under the sea. It was utter carnage when we arrived in Folkestone as they hadn’t really prepared for us arriving.”

Eurotunnel Trains Resumed Service on Wednesday

The Channel tunnel only reopened to traffic on Wednesday morning and pictures on social media showed there was gridlock at the shuttle terminal on Tuesday evening.

Eurotunnel has defended how long it took to resolve the problem but said safety was its priority.

The company said passengers were provided with food and drink and were eventually reunited with their vehicles after the train was brought out of the tunnel.

A Eurotunnel spokesman explained: “The shuttle was brought to a controlled stop and inspected. As a precautionary measure, for their safety and comfort, we transferred the passengers on board to another shuttle, via the service tunnel. Operations like this do take time, but they are for the safety of everyone and must be conducted carefully.”

They added: “Whilst some passengers experienced a longer journey than planned, everyone was kept safe at all times. We apologise to anyone who got caught up in the incident, but we stress that we will always put customer safety above everything.”

Work on the Channel tunnel began in 1988 and it was opened in 1994. Eurostar uses the tunnel to operate trains between London and Paris, Brussels, Lille, Lyon, Avignon, and Marseille, while a shuttle service ferries vehicles and passengers between Folkestone and Calais.

PA Media contributed to this report.

Chris Summers


Chris Summers is a UK-based journalist covering a wide range of national stories, with a particular interest in crime, policing and the law.

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