Author Topic: Europe: Eurostar blames 'fluffy' snow for weekend chaos  (Read 696 times)

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Offline medwaylady

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Europe: Eurostar blames 'fluffy' snow for weekend chaos
« on: December 21, 2009, 10:57:53 AM »
The troubled cross-Channel company Eurostar had little cheer for stranded Christmas travellers today as it launched inquiry into the weekend collapse of its service - but no trains for a third day - and then blamed 'fluffy' snow for the disruption.

Eurostar promised an update for passengers only at the end of the day as it investigates what made five trains break down inside the Channel Tunnel over the weekend, trapping 2,000 passengers without air conditioning for up to 16 hours.

The evacuation was delayed by an apparent breakdown in communication between Eurostar and Eurotunnel. Passengers said that they were treated like animals and left mostly in darkness without food, drink or working toilets.

In the increasingly airless carriages, many suffered panic attacks. Those who left the train and found their way to a service tunnel between the two tracks complained they were given no advice or instructions.
Eurostar cancelled all services for today and said it had identified the problem it thought had caused the breakdowns, had modified its trains as a result and was today testing them, in the hope that normal services could resume tomorrow.

Nick Mercer, commercial director of Eurostar, said there were rumours that something had been done to the trains which failed but that this was “absolutely not” the case.

He said a “winterisation” process had taken place during which technical adjustments were made to the trains and a “standard set of procedures” was followed.

He said: “The winterisation modifications worked absolutely successfully. The changes that we made worked perfectly. This is a new problem.

“It seems to be a strange combination of factors. It was the amount of snow, which was higher than we experienced before, it was lighter than normal, fluffier, and the temperature inside the tunnel and the humidity was higher than normal.”

He said the winterisation process, which took place in autumn, had worked successfully for the last 15 years but on Friday the conditions had been “exceptional”.

Mr Mercer said modifications had been carried out and the trains were being tested today with the intention that they would be back in service tomorrow.

"We will not have an update until 6pm," said a EurostaEurostar spokesman. The shutdown comes at a time when about 20,000 people a day travel back and forth under the Channel.
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http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/transport/article6963830.ece
« Last Edit: December 21, 2009, 11:16:08 AM by Mindy »

Offline medwaylady

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Re: Europe: Eurostar blames 'fluffy' snow for weekend chaos
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2009, 10:58:24 AM »
Anyone get caught in this mess?

Offline mirrajay

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Re: Europe: Eurostar blames 'fluffy' snow for weekend chaos
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2009, 11:13:34 AM »
Of course... "the wrong kind of snow"  ::)

WebyJ

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Re: Europe: Eurostar blames 'fluffy' snow for weekend chaos
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2009, 11:15:12 AM »
Anyone get caught in this mess?

I think historyenne was headed to France on Friday...not sure if she made it or not.

Offline historyenne

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Re: Europe: Eurostar blames 'fluffy' snow for weekend chaos
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2009, 12:08:45 PM »
I think historyenne was headed to France on Friday...not sure if she made it or not.

Nope, I didn't.  Fortunately, I wasn't stuck in the tunnel, but I was supposed to travel on Saturday and so was stranded in London and ended up having to go home.  It was upsetting to lose my trip, and I'm going to have to spend hours on the phone to get a refund, but all told it could have been much, much worse.  Far better to be stuck on the British side than on the French side in freezing weather with no available transport to England. 
On s'envolera du même quai
Les yeux dans les mêmes reflets,
Pour cette vie et celle d'après
Tu seras mon unique projet.

Je t'aimais, je t'aime, et je t'aimerai.

--Francis Cabrel

VMC

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Re: Europe: Eurostar blames 'fluffy' snow for weekend chaos
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2009, 12:16:45 PM »
Of course... "the wrong kind of snow"  ::)

First thing I thought of when I saw this thread.

Offline AyouBob

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Re: Europe: Eurostar blames 'fluffy' snow for weekend chaos
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2009, 09:53:38 PM »

Of course... "the wrong kind of snow"  ::)
First thing I thought of when I saw this thread.

Ditto

Perhaps Eurostar should call these guys...  http://www.spike.com/video/train-plows-through/2924512

Still tired of coteries and bans. But hanging about anyway.