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Eurostar trains canceled, causing disruptions to thousands of holidaymakers

A file photo showing a Eurostar train parked at a platform of Paris' Gare du Nord station on August 3, 2023. (By AFP)

Europe’s international high-speed rail service, Eurostar, has canceled at least 14 of its trains going to and from London St Pancras International and Continental Europe due to flooding in tunnels in southern England, causing massive inconvenience to holidaymakers.

“Trains have been canceled today due to part of the track being temporarily closed near London. We apologize for the impact to travel today,” Eurostar wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

After a thorough inspection by rail engineers, concluded on Saturday, 4 am, that no trains would be able to run through the tunnel, which runs beneath the Thames east of London.

The rail service connecting Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, has caused havoc for tens of thousands of rail passengers, as the week concludes towards the New Year weekend.

The tunnels adjacent to Ebbsfleet International Station in Kent experienced flooding as the Met Office issued weather advisories for rain, snow, and ice across extensive areas of the nation.

The disruptions from Eurostar come days after the “last-minute strike” by French workers when trains halted during the day leading to stranded holidaymakers, after an unexpected walkout by French Eurotunnel staff.

Southeastern’s high-speed services to Ebbsfleet have also been canceled until the end of the day.

In a statement, Southeastern added that “flooding between Ebbsfleet International and London St Pancras International means that all lines are blocked.

“Disruption is expected until the end of the day.”

They also said flooding had affected both railway tunnels near Ebbsfleet, meaning both tunnels are closed.

“This means no trains can run between London St Pancras International and Ebbsfleet International,” Southeastern added.

The thousands of passengers who showed up at Eurostar’s terminal were told that “due to an infrastructure issue” all trains scheduled before 10 am were cancelled.

“There is no remaining availability in standard class today,” a Eurostar staff member warned. “We apologize for any inconvenience caused.”

According to travel journalist Simon Calder, St Pancras was “in chaos”, further stating that people with New Year trips to Disneyland were in tears, because their services were canceled.

People are also being told to brace themselves for delays to road, rail, air and ferry transport, as well as power outages.

Both the rail networks have said that they are working to resolve the issue.

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