June 16, 2024

Balkan Travellers

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Floods force Eurostar to cancel cross-Channel flights

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Thousands of travelers faced severe disruption on Saturday after Eurostar canceled all rail services linking the UK to continental Europe due to flooding.

The cross-Channel train operator said it had canceled trips from London to Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam after two tunnels running under the River Thames were flooded on the high-speed line linking the British capital to the southern coast of England.

Eurostar apologized to passengers on Saturday and said it was “monitoring the situation” while infrastructure owner Network Rail works to repair the damage.

Passengers on both sides of the Channel took to social media to complain that their New Year's Eve plans had been thrown into disarray, with some stranded travelers giving up and checking into hotels for the night.

British local train company South Eastern has also canceled high-speed services running through the same tunnels.

Steve White, managing director of Southeastern, said in a message posted on social media company X that “massive efforts are underway… . To determine the source of water and increase the ability to withdraw it.”

Al-Abyad published pictures showing water flowing into one of the submerged tunnels and paths.

HS1, a private company with the privilege of owning and operating the tracks from London to the Channel Tunnel, said flooding in the tunnels was “unprecedented”.

Eurostar passengers also suffered delays in the run-up to Christmas after a strike by French workers disrupted services on 21 December.

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Recent travel disruptions have capped a miserable festive period across the UK's rail network, with engineering works and bad weather combining to cause many operators to be out of action.

Passengers traveling on New Year's Eve in the UK have been urged to check with their train operator before setting off due to engineering works and warnings of further disruption due to weather and staff shortages.