02. September 2015 · Kommentare deaktiviert für Eurostar service suspended after people seen on tracks near Calais · Kategorien: Frankreich, Großbritannien · Tags:

Quelle: The Guardian

Services slowly resuming after five trains halted outside Channel tunnel while police clear trespassers on tracks close to freight terminal

Rail services between Britain and France were suspended once again on Tuesday night after what was described as fresh “migrant activity” on the tracks close to the French city of Calais.

Passengers on one halted train were told by the driver that people were on the tracks between the tunnel’s entrance in France and Calais Frethun, a freight terminal to the south that has become a focal point for those trying to get into Britain.

Some travellers said they had seen people attempting to get through the tunnel on top of other trains, and many complained of their frustrations at the delays and re-routes.

Shortly before midnight, passengers were told that their trains would be returning to their places of origin in Paris and London.

Another London-bound train was unable to get back to Paris due to a technical fault and some passengers complained they had been “abandoned” in the early hours of the morning as they waited for alternative transport. Eurostar said it was sending an empty train to Calais from London in the “early morning” to pick up the stranded passengers of the 9055 service.

A spokesman for Eurostar said passengers hoping to travel later on Wednesday morning should expect a normal service but added that two trains have been cancelled “in order to ensure the service is as robust as possible”.

Passengers due to travel on the 7.55am service from London to Paris and those who had booked the 11.13am Paris to London will be transferred to other services at times close to their intended departure, the spokesman said.

Three trains, one from Brussels and two from Paris, were able to continue their journeys to London after the delays this morning.

Anyone affected by the disruption will be compensated, the spokesman said.

He said: “For the passengers affected what we have in place is people waiting for them in stations. We can, if passengers wish, re-book them on the next available train to get to their destination.”

He said taxis, hotels and refreshments would be provided.

The latest disruption comes despite the erection last month of miles of new four-metre high, steel security barriers and razor-wire, accompanied by high profile British government pledges to secure the route.

The operators of the Eurostar service said that a total of five trains, including four on the French side, were being held outside the tunnel as they waited for French police to clear people who were in the area of the track.

Police had been called to Calais just before 9pm to reports of people on the tracks at the crossing.

Passengers on board one of the halted trains said they had been told that a helicopter was being brought in to check if anyone was on the roof.

On a train near the tunnel on the UK side, a passenger said that her train was almost completely full and that its occupants had been told their journey was being halted because of people on the tracks. “The driver has said that trains are stuck in both directions but we have not been given any further information about times. Everyone’s calm but it’s been about 90 minutes now,” she added.

Eurostar tweeted an hour later that the trespassers were being removed from the track. Passengers who complained about a lack of hot food on board their halted train were told by Eurostar that the power had been turned off for safety reasons.

At Lille, passengers told of “chaos” as around 1,000 passengers tried to decide whether to wait in the hope that the disruption would lift or else go and book into hotels in the city for the night.

“We left earlier from Paris on a train that was supposed to leave originally at 7.15pm but there were mechanical problems and we were brought back here. Now we’re stuck and we’re being told that the tunnel is completely closed and that because it’s dark, the authorities can’t be sure if there are people in the tunnel,” said one passenger.

Before the latest disruption, official sources suggested that increased security last month had reduced the number of attempts to get into the Channel tunnel terminal near Calais to between 100 and 200 a night. The figures represent a dramatic fall compared with the height of the crisis when an estimated 2,000 attempts were said to have been made on two successive nights at the end of July.

A teenager whose body was found on a train at the Eurotunnel terminal in Kent at the end of that month was the ninth person to die attempting to cross from France to the UK over the course of a two month period.

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