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Dublin: 10°C Tuesday 30 November 2021
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A lorry fire in the Channel Tunnel has caused travel chaos

It has almost been brought under control.

Updated 6.53pm

Eurostar halted by smoke in tunnel Travellers at St Pancras Station, London, who are facing hours of travel misery after all Eurostar trains were cancelled. Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

TRAFFIC WAS SUSPENDED in both directions in the Channel Tunnel between Britain and France after a lorry fire, authorities said, hoping services could restart later in the evening.

“Due to an incident in the tunnel, all departures are currently suspended in both directions,” Eurotunnel said.

The Eurostar passenger train service said on its website that all services had been cancelled for the day.

“We are sorry but we are unable to run any further trains today because Eurotunnel has been closed due to smoke detected in the north tunnel,” the firm said on its website.

“If you were planning to travel today, we advise you to postpone your journey and not to come to the station,” Eurostar added.

Eurostar halted by smoke in tunnel A Eurostar train at St Pancras Station, London Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

All trains already en route were forced to turn back to their stations of origin.

Police in southern England said the fire was “at the French end of the tunnel and is being dealt with by the French authorities.”

“There are no reported injuries,” added police.

Later Saturday, Eurotunnel said it might be able to resume some services in the evening.

“A Tunnel inspection is currently underway and we anticipate that we will be resuming services this evening,” the firm said.

“There was a lot of smoke,” said Denis Gaudin, a local official from the northern city of Calais.

“At this hour, the fire is under control. It’s nearly out,” he announced, adding that it was not a “major” blaze.

“We don’t know the extent of the damage,” he said.

The fire sparked travel chaos in both Britain and France with long queues for refunds reported at London’s St. Pancras station.

“The Eurostar people told us to watch the Internet for updates. We’re going to find a hotel close to the station so we’re covered for any eventuality,” said one stranded passenger in Lille, northern France.

John Taehan, a tennis coach with eight young players, had given up and was seeking an alternative route.

Ferry

“They told us to take a train to Calais and then the ferry and that’s what we’re going to do,” he said, flinging his rackets over his shoulder.

A third passenger, 52-year-old Marie from Lille, complained about a lack of information.

“Last summer, during the SNCF (French rail company) train strikes, we got text messages when trains were cancelled,” she said.

“Here, we got nothing. We just got here and we were told that the train was cancelled.”

© – AFP 2015

Read: Ancient skeletons and medieval ice skates… all in a day’s work for the Irish ‘tunnel men’ in London >

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