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All Eurostar seats taken at St Pancras as firm tries to clear backlog

A Eurostar on test near the Channel Tunnel on Monday.
A Eurostar on test near the Channel Tunnel on Monday.

by Jo Sword and Katie Lamborn

Passengers hoping to travel to the continent on Eurostar have been told not to go to going to St Pancras station today - Wednesday - as all available seats have been allocated.

Ebbsfleet station is still allowing ticket-holders to board trains but are asking people to get to the station as soon as possible as a shuttle service is running on a first-come first-serve basis.

It follows days of disruption to the cross-Channel service after four trains broke down in severe weather over the weekend. ondon-bound trains ground to a halt after snow sucked through the power-cars' air intakes melted once the trains entered the 25C temperatures of the Channel Tunnel.

Eurostar is running about two thirds of its normal services today and the same tomorrow, Thursday.

Stranded by Eurostar: Katie Dray and Martin Southam
Stranded by Eurostar: Katie Dray and Martin Southam

A Canterbury couple, left stranded in France by the weekend cancellations say babies were left waiting in queues in the snow and the lack of information almost led to fights at Calais.

Martin Southam and Katie Dray spent the weekend in Paris and were due to travel back to Ashford by Eurostar on Monday.

As a result of the chaos they decided to leave the French capital early to embark on their homeward journey. Eurostar gave the couple a free rail tickets to Calais but the couple say that was where the company’s helpfulness ended.

Mr Southam said: “There were long delays at Lille, which was on the way to Calais, no information on the onward journey, there were delays when we got to Calais in terms of getting from the train station to the ferry port. Then when we were at Calais ferry port there were again more delays and a lack of information.

“All it needed was just people giving us information, we have heard that at different times it led to people almost coming to blows with each other."

Katie Dray says children and babies were left to wait in the snow while passengers queued at Calais for ferry tickets: “While we were waiting the queues were just getting bigger and bigger and bigger.

“Whilst we were waiting for two or three hours standing up waiting to get a ticket inside, people were doing the same thing out in the snow.

“It got to a point where a woman came past us, collared a guy who worked there and said you have got to come outside, there are young babies out in the snow, you have to got get them inside, it is too cold for them to be out there.”

Eurostar apologised for the problems and says they did advise all passengers that transport in France was subject to disruption due to the weather.

A spokesperson went onto say that staff were at their own stations and not the Channel ports.

Coaches and special flights were laid on to help get passengers to their destinations.

Passengers who have been affected should log onto www.eurostar.com for details of possible refunds.

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