Train services through the Channel Tunnel are running again after a fierce fire halted all under-sea rail traffic between the UK and mainland Europe. But the stoppage has caused a massive backlog of both cargo and passengers.
Freight trains resumed in the early hours of the morning, followed by Eurostar passenger services.
The company says 12 trains will operate each way between London and Paris, and six between London and Brussels, but it warns of possible check-in delays and increased journey times.
Eurostar director Ian Nunn said: “We are going to be offering a reduced service for the foreseeable future and we’re still advising people not to journey this weekend – that’s today, Saturday, and tomorrow, Sunday, unless their journey is absolutely essential.”
40,000 people travel through the Channel Tunnel on a normal day. The interim services now back on track represent a half of the usual rail capacity. The blaze broke out 11 kilometres from the French coast in the northern tunnel.
Firefighters finally subdued the inferno late on Friday night, after 20 hours ablaze, with temperatures at times reaching 1,000 degrees Celsius. The fire started on a freight train in the northern bore of the link. But safety staff have inspected the other tunnel, and deemed it fit to resume services with all trains travelling through that southern shaft.