Eurostar channel services to resume on Sunday as flooding cleared – The Guardian

Extreme flooding in the Eurostar tunnel brings trains to a standstill – Video Eurostar

The tunnel under the Thames near Ebbsfleet was closed not because of the weather, but because of a burst pipe; the Southeastern Railway was also affected

Guardianship staff and agencies

Sun, Dec 31, 2023, 01:02 GMT

Eurostar said services through the Channel Tunnel would resume on Sunday but there were warnings of further delays and busy stations.

“Unprecedented” flooding was brought under control on Saturday, meaning at least one of the affected tunnels – under the Thames near Ebbsfleet, not under the English Channel itself – could be used.

Speed ​​restrictions and uncertainties surrounding the second tunnel meant further disruption was possible, Eurotunnel warned.

The flooding also disrupted southeastern rail services, and delays and cancellations were expected on some other domestic routes on Sunday due to staff shortages and bad weather.

On Saturday, Eurostar customers were stranded in London and mainland Europe.

Water lies in the high-speed rail tunnel under the Thames at Ebbsfleet. Photo: Southeastern/Network Rail/PA

A Eurostar statement said: “Flooding in the Thames Tunnels has been brought under control by Network Rail High Speed, meaning at least one tunnel can now be used and a full service is possible.”

“There will be some speed restrictions in the morning which may cause delays and stations are expected to be very busy.

“Unfortunately, this unprecedented event has caused significant disruption to customers today [Saturday]. Customers are encouraged to visit the Eurostar website for further information about their journey and compensation rights.”

A spokesman for HS1, which operates the route between London and the Channel Tunnel, said: “The flooding in the Thames Tunnel is being resolved by Network Rail High Speed ​​and the HS1 line will be operational in the morning.”

“We understand how frustrating this has been for passengers and apologize for the inconvenience caused at such an important time of year.”

The problem began on Friday evening when water filled tunnels near Ebbsfleet International in Kent, making all high-speed services impossible.

According to a water utility company, the problem was likely caused by a burst pipe that supplied the tunnel's fire protection system. Footage taken inside the tunnel showed water gushing from a pipe and flooding the tracks.

Thames Water said it believed the flooding was caused by a “fire control system and not a Thames Water Pipe”.

On Saturday afternoon, engineers working in the tunnel said the amount of water was “unprecedented.”

A Met Office spokesman told the PA news agency the problem was unlikely to have been caused by bad weather as there had been no heavy rain overnight or in the area.

In addition, due to a lack of train crew, there was significant disruption to Thameslink services through London and the South East, which would last until Sunday, the operator said.

The Met Office has warned that there could be disruption to domestic travel due to windy conditions across the UK over the weekend. A rain and snow warning has been issued for large parts of Scotland.

With PA Media


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