Eurostar is planning a partial resumption of passenger services between Britain and France today after technicians have worked round the clock to get things back on track.
The company is blaming powdery snow and condensation for the series of breakdowns that has stranded thousands on both sides of the channel.
With only two-thirds of trains expected to be operating, those with tickets from Saturday will be given priority, but it is too little too late for some passengers:
“It’s cost us an enormous amount because we can’t get through to talk to anyone or to re-book the ticket. We understand this has happened and you can’t blame anybody for the snow but you can blame people for not actually being able to talk or communicate effectively,” said one stranded traveller.
It could take up to the beginning of next week to clear the backlog which means some people might not even get back for Christmas. Those who have found alternative ways across the channel will be reimbursed, but for some that was not the only problem. One woman said she had been unable to get to work and was now worried about her job.
In Paris, the French president demanded an explanation from the boss of the Eurostar and the French railway SNCF.
Guillaume Pepy, SNCF President said: “There is an investigation in hand, both by British and French personnel. This enquiry will allow everyone to know what happened…. that while safety was assured what was not good was the functioning of the service.”
But one question being asked is why did it take all of 16 hours to evacuate customers when the trains broke down in the tunnel on Friday night.