Thousands of rail passengers have been left stranded in London as a result of snow and ice causing extended delays to those expected to travel from Britain to France, and Northern Europe via the channel tunnel. The overnight snowfall has compounded further misery on travellers across Europe, in their attempts to make it home for the holiday season.
Eurostar has advised its passengers who booked before Christmas to refund or exchange their tickets free of charge, unless their travel is essential. On the rail operator’s website, they advised passengers who must travel today to arrive at the station one hour before their scheduled departure time. Eurostar state that this will still not guarantee passengers travelling on time, “Seats will be allocated to you on the next available service but this may mean waiting for more than 3 hours”.
In London’s St Pancras rail station, the queue for Eurostar trains to France and Belgium stretched 1km at 0800 GMT. St Pancras is not the only station to affected by the big freeze, Eurostar has urged passengers to stay away from its main station in Paris, Gare du Nord, as it is struggling to cope with the backlog.
As a result of the cold snap, Eurostar has have imposed speed limits on its cross-channel trains, adding up to two hours to journey times. This resulted in fewer trains being able to carry passengers.
So far Eurostar has cancelled 13 out of 52 trains, with each train capable of carrying up to 750 passengers. They suffered a similar fate last winter as a result of freezing conditions, where hundreds of their passengers were trapped in the subsea tunnel just before Christmas.