Travellers stranded on broken-down Eurostar train for eight hours

Train halted about 30 minutes after departure near entrance to Channel Tunnel in Kent

The international high-speed Eurostar train arrives from Paris to St Pancras railway station in London. AFP
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An Amsterdam-bound Eurostar train that departed London's St Pancras broke down on Thursday morning, leaving about 700 passengers with no power or working toilets for more than eight hours.

The train left the London train station at 8.16am but broke down about half an hour later near the entrance to the Channel Tunnel in Kent.

The incident was caused by an overhead electric cable falling on the train, Eurostar said.

Passengers reported that the train had no power and the toilets were not working.

On social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, Eurostar described the situation on-board as “very challenging”.

“Following a complicated situation due to the position of the train and the track infrastructure, it’s meant that certain safety procedures had to be adhered to before we could move the train,” a spokesman for the operator said.

“The train is currently in the process of being brought back to London.

“All affected passengers on board will be met in London with refreshments and will receive enhanced compensation.

“Eurostar are sorry for issues caused that customers have experienced today.”

One of the passengers, Ben Williams, told The Independent: “I think the staff are all very stressed themselves, and I don’t think they’re being kept very well up to date.

“We were offered one free food item, that was after we’d been stationary for about four or five hours.

“By that point, I’d already bought myself a sandwich, having been stationary for a couple of hours.

“To be honest, I’ve been pacing myself just because, obviously, the toilets aren’t functioning.”

Another passenger, Jessica Chambers, told the BBC: “It truly feels like an emergency situation but there’s no communication from staff.”

Updated: November 30, 2023, 8:02 PM