Eurotunnel passengers left stranded under English Channel for almost five hours

The delays occurred after a Eurotunnel Le Shuttle service from Calais to Folkestone broke down beneath the Channel

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Eurotunnel passengers had to be evacuated from a train after it broke down beneath the English Channel.

They were transferred to a cargo train but complained of being stuck in the sub-sea tunnel for nearly five hours, citing issues with the replacement transport.

The initial breakdown late on Tuesday affected the 3.50pm Eurotunnel Le Shuttle service from Calais to Folkestone and led to hundreds of passengers being ushered into a service tunnel.

Videos on social media showed holidaymakers walking through the alternate tunnel alongside the 31-mile rail route between Britain and France, some with suitcases and dogs.

Fed up passengers voiced their concerns
Fed up passengers voiced their concerns

While travellers in Calais were told to stay away from the terminal until 6am on Wednesday, with pictures showing gridlock at the shuttle terminal late into Tuesday evening.

A spokesman for Eurotunnel Le Shuttle said: “A train has broken down in the tunnel and we are in the process of transferring customers to a separate passenger shuttle via the service tunnel, to return to our Folkestone terminal.

“We apologise sincerely for this inconvenience.”

The spokesman added: “Due to the earlier train fault, we advise you not to travel to the terminal tonight.

“Please arrive after 6am tomorrow.”

Michael Harrison, from Cranbrook, Kent, one of those on the evacuated train, said: “We got on the 3.50pm crossing, approximately 10 minutes in the lights went out and the train stopped.

Hundreds of passengers were ushered into a service tunnel
Hundreds of passengers were ushered into a service tunnel

“We were told they needed to investigate an issue with the wheels.

“It took approximately one and a half hours for them to investigate and obviously not find anything.

“They reset things and set off for another five minutes.

“It happened again at which time we waited a further couple of hours to decide they couldn’t see a problem but had to evacuate the train to another train."

He continued: “After further waiting we left the train through the emergency link tunnel to the service tunnel.

“We then walked approximately 10 minutes to a train in front of the stricken train.

“This was a bus carriage where we got transported to Folkestone.

“That train then stopped as it couldn’t get traction, presumably as it was long and had no weight on it.

“There were gasps of incredulity when that was announced.

“We finally arrived in Folkestone six hours after boarding.”

Another passenger who was evacuated, but did not want to be named, said that “several people were freaking out about being down in the service tunnel, it’s a bit of a weird place”.

He added: “We were stuck down there for at least five hours.

“If I’ve got a gripe it’s that they knew several hundred people were arriving at Folkestone who hadn’t eaten for five, six or more hours and there was absolutely nothing for us here.

“Just huge queues for Burger King.”