Eurostar cancels trains as UK tunnels are flooded

Thousands of passengers stranded at stations ahead of New Year's Eve

Flooded tunnel near London disrupts Eurostar train services

Flooded tunnel near London disrupts Eurostar train services
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Eurostar trains were cancelled on Saturday after flooding in tunnels in southern England, leaving thousands of holidaymakers stranded before New Year's Eve.

The tunnels near Ebbsfleet International station in Kent were inundated, Southeastern Railway said, which operates trains in the south-east of England.

Eurostar, whose services from London to Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam through Ashford, run midway between London and the southern English coast, apologised to customers for “impact to travel”.

Services will fully resume on Sunday, the company said in a statement later, but warned that knock-on delays were expected.

“There will be some speed restrictions in place in the morning which may lead to delays, and stations are expected to be very busy,” Eurostar said.

The flooding comes as the Met Office issued weather warnings for rain, snow and ice across large parts of the country.

Southeastern Railway said there would be no high-speed services from Ashford to London St Pancras on Saturday.

Two newly-weds visiting from New York told the PA news agency that their plans to spend New Year's Eve at Disneyland Paris were “ruined” by the travel disruption.

Nicole Carrera, 29, and her husband Christopher, 31, were due to catch a train from London St Pancras International to Paris on Saturday morning but it was cancelled because of flooding.

They had to rebook for a 2.30pm outbound train on Sunday, scuppering their plans to spend New Year's Eve at the theme park and leaving them out of pocked for a non-refundable hotel booked in Paris for Saturday evening.

Ms Carrera, who works in cosmetics, said: “We actually got married in October and we had this trip planned before we got engaged.

“So we've been in London since Wednesday and we wanted to leave today because we were actually supposed to go to Disney Paris tomorrow for New Year's Eve.

“So obviously those plans our ruined because now we won't get into Paris tomorrow until about 6pm. So we're just going to walk around the city (Paris) tomorrow when we get there and finally get to our hotel.”

The disruption comes after French unions ended a wildcat strike that had stranded holidaymakers and held up freight days before Christmas.

The walkout by workers that blocked the tunnel sparked hours of disruption at rail hubs in Paris and London. Eurostar train services resumed on December 22 after an agreement was reached.

Agencies contributed to this report.

Updated: December 31, 2023, 4:06 AM