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Summary

  1. Channel Tunnel closed on 17 January after a fire on a lorry at French end
  2. Eurotunnel says it expects to resume vehicle and freight services on Saturday night
  3. Services were suspended after smoke was detected in the tunnel
  4. Eurotunnel says 26 trains have been cancelled since 11:00 GMT
  5. Rail passengers are advised to expect "significant delays"
  6. There have been no reported injuries, Kent Police say

Live Reporting

By Paul Gribben, John Harrison and Amber Dawson

All times stated are UK

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This concludes our live coverage of the disruption to Channel Tunnel services today.

Services remain suspended after smoke was detected by two CO2 detectors in the south tunnel at around 11:25 GMT.

A load on a lorry on board a train, en route from the UK to France, had been "smouldering", a Eurotunnel source said. No-one was hurt in the fire.

Eurostar, which operates passenger trains, has cancelled all its services for Saturday, while Eurotunnel says it expects to resume vehicle and freight services on Saturday night.

For further updates on the situation

check the news website.

Eurostar has

tweeted: "Confirmation is currently awaited as to tunnel re-opening tomorrow together with any specifically Eurostar service resumption."

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Tim Hatton from Guildford emails: We've been in Paris for a friend's birthday lunch - we think we must have got one of the last trains through this morning and are now at the airport on the way home. Most expensive lunch ever!

'Tweet us'

@Eurostar

The official Eurostar twitter account

tweets: We're handing over now to our on call team who will continue to help and answer your tweets tonight - have a good evening wherever you are.

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Sarah Lee in Belgium emails: We were stuck for three hours on a train at the entrance to the tunnel on the French side. They announced after 20 minutes that the tunnel was closed and took another 2h40 to get us off. Sent us to the ferry where it was total chaos.

We were rammed by a white van which was trying to get ahead in the queue and were given no information on the departures or available places. Now in queue for the 18:15 ferry which clearly won't be leaving on time as it's just unloading! Nightmare journey!

'Unbelievable queues'

@BenJamesHood

tweets: Walked past unbelievable queues for the Eurostar on my way to Lyon today and the tunnel is still closed. Unlucky ladies and gents.

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Anna Brown emails: I am British and live in Belgium, was meant to be travelling back home to Brussels today, from Folkestone on the Eurotunnel.

Luckily the closure news broke just before I left, so I rushed to make a ferry booking with P&O for the 1745 crossing. This has now been delayed by an hour, maybe longer.

I'm sitting here dockside, Dover is packed, all lanes full with waiting trucks and car passengers, everyone hoping to get across. It's pretty chaotic, plus the heightened security hasn't helped. Hope I get across the channel tonight!

Awaiting all-clear

Services on the car shuttle service are expected to restart as soon as possible after French firefighters have given the all-clear, a Eurotunnel spokesman said.

He told the Press Association news agency the south tunnel would reopen - following the fire in the north tunnel - and Eurotunnel anticipates running a full service on Sunday.

'Postpone your journey'

The latest

statement from Eurostar said it was still "unable to run trains today" because of the closure.

"If you were planning to travel today, we advise you to postpone your journey. Please do not come to the station."

'Pretty sweet' offer

Email:HaveYourSay@bbc.co.uk

Jonathan Martin emails: After 15 days of inter-railing to Istanbul and back we were due to get the 17:13 back to St Pancras. Eurostar have offered to compensate up to £150 for a hotel room as well as extra for travel and food expenses. This is pretty sweet after staying in hostels the last couple of weeks and being on the train for pretty much 26 hours straight from Belgrade in the last couple of days.

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Eamonn Thorpe emails: Wife and daughter trapped in France. Not much money for alternative arrangements and can't get through to Eurostar! Also no update on website as to what passengers should do!! Seems to be a total lack of urgency from Eurostar.

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Penny Whitney emails: I and my two travelling companions were booked on the 14:13 Paris to London Eurostar today. We were already in the departure lounge when the announcement came that the trains were being cancelled.

We have been told to go back to the station before 8 am tomorrow, as our tickets will be valid on any train. However, I guess several hundred people will be doing the same thing!

There doesn't seem to be any process or procedure for rebooking onto a specific train tomorrow. I guess it will be 'first come, first served'! Fortunately we were able to book into the Gare du Nord station, and we will be recompensed for our additional, unexpected, expenditure. Not exactly delighted.

BreakingBreaking News

Eurotunnel expects to resume Le Shuttle services through the Channel Tunnel this evening following a lorry fire, it has said.

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Tom Cosgrove emails: Currently we are in Paris with a large group of students from our school, ACS Cobham International School. We came here Friday morning to play rugby and basketball against the British School of Paris and the American School of Paris.

Since hearing about this incident we have started to frantically arrange plans to make it home tonight. We originally travelled in by Eurostar and were planning on taking it home this evening.

Our 80+ students are occupying themselves for the time being but we are unsure if we can arrange for a coach to Calais and walk onto the ferry. We are also hoping a British coach will be able to pick us up from Dover.

'Thousands affected'

Nigel Harris
BBC

Nigel Harris, managing editor of Rail Magazine, said as many as 20,000 passengers could have been disrupted by the fire.

"If you have 26 trains cancelled or reversed with a capacity of 780 people per train that is over 20,000 people immediately affected by the train that we know about."

'Being brought under control'

The AFP news agency has reported that the fire in the Channel Tunnel is "in the process of being brought under control".

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Pete Richardson emails: We are booked on the Euro Tunnel Shuttle to come back to the UK from France tomorrow morning. We now have absolutely no idea if the service will be running at all and no useful information from the Euro Tunnel about what to do, apart from having their sincere apologies and a 24 hour recorded phone service number.

All we need now is for the auto route to be closed because of the stacking of delayed freight lorries! Looks like a long weekend away is rapidly turning into a week of chaos to come; not for the first time either.

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Doreen Hall emails: My granddaughter and her friend are stranded in Paris. They went to catch the Eurostar but were told to come back at 6 o'clock, no mention of a definite hotel for the night, the staff at Eurostar told them if possible they would provide hotel accommodation. There are a significant number of people stranded in France - no-one is helping them and in the current situation in Paris where is the British Embassy, why are they not helping UK citizens?

Smouldering lorry

Other trains were then cleared from the tunnel and emergency services found the cause of the smoke was a load on a single lorry, which was smouldering.

The lorry was treated by fire fighters and Eurotunnel said the area is now being ventilated.

North tunnel smoke

More details are now coming through about the fire earlier.

The BBC's Mark Smith, who has spoken to Eurotunnel, said two carbon dioxide detectors showed the presence of smoke in the north tunnel at 11:25 GMT.

The smoke was coming from a truck shuttle travelling from the UK to France and passengers and crew were then evacuated into the service tunnel.

Anniversary letdown

Charlotte Longstaff, 17, and her boyfriend, travelled from Leicester to make a trip to Paris to celebrate their first anniversary, setting off at 07:45 GMT.

"We're now staying the night in a hotel in Victoria which is costing £90 per night.

"Our anniversary celebration was meant to be on Monday. I am disappointed but we will try to get to Paris for Valentine's Day instead."

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Mike Curtis-Rouse emails an update to his situation: Further to my last email, our 0945 to Euston is now en route to Disneyland Paris! We are saved, what a great idea by Eurostar. Morale rapidly increasing...

Leaflets handed out

Officials give out leaflets
Getty Images

Officials have been giving out leaflets to passengers caught up in the problems, at St Pancras International.

Hunt for rooms

Mr Sheppard, from Bethnal Green in London, said: "There are loads of people just trying to figure out what they should do. We came down to the Ibis hotel and since we did about 10 other people have turned up trying to get a room for the night."

Uncertainty about delays

Matt Sheppard, 26, who is stuck in Paris trying to get back to London, has told the Press Association that he was told trains might not be running from Gare du Nord station in Paris "until Monday". Eurostar has not said when services will resume.

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Joe Spence in Canterbury emails: My girlfriend found herself stranded in Brussels, so has jumped on a train to Calais to catch the ferry to Dover instead. Tell her I'll sort dinner out for when she gets here... and to pick up some wine whilst she's in France please.

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Kate Hodge, who is aiming for Shrewsbury, emails: Queuing as I speak at Calais, hoping to get the 18.15 ferry to complete a cross-channel journey that started in the French alps at 4.30 this morning.

It's mayhem here at the ferry terminal - but due to the number of people, rather than lack of communication. All staff at both the shuttle terminal and ferry port have been both helpful and cheerful. Can't say the same for all the passengers!!

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Jerry and Clare Wood email: We were on the first train that stopped our (UK) side of the tunnel. After an hour we were told about the smoke and the train went back to London. We were due to join 12 friends in Paris for a 50th party, looks like they will struggle to get back tomorrow with their hangovers. Although we are very disappointed not to be there, the world has bigger problems right now, so we will stiffen our upper lips!

Paris services hit

Sign at Gare du Nord
Reuters

The tunnel closure has also caused disruption at Gare du Nord in Paris, where news of the suspension of Eurostar services was posted on signs at the train station.

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Sophie Potter emails from Brussels: I checked in for the 14.56 Eurostar service from Brussels to London earlier this afternoon and was relaxing in the departures lounge. News of the Channel Tunnel closure broke on the BBC News app before the staff at the Brussels departures terminal even found out.

I had told other passengers before the poor lady on the information desk knew anything was wrong. I have to be at London Gatwick airport for 10 tomorrow morning in order to accompany a group of school children on a work experience trip to Montpellier, so I was very worried about getting back to the UK in time.

I have been lucky to get a flight to London later this evening but there are hundreds of passengers at Brussels airport trying to find hotel space for tonight.

Eurostar offer

Eurostar has

said passengers can exchange tickets free of charge, transfer them for another available service within the next 120 days, or apply for a refund.

Kent Police said the fire happened at the French end of the tunnel and that no-one was hurt in the incident.

However, large queues have developed at St Pancras International - the Eurostar terminal in London - and queues of lorries have formed at Folkestone, following the closure of the M20, which serves the Eurotunnel.

Recap on situation

To recap on the situation, passengers are facing severe disruption after the Channel Tunnel was closed "until further notice" following a fire on a lorry inside the tunnel earlier.

Eurostar has said all its services for Saturday have been cancelled and trains have have returned to their stations.

'Calming down'

BBC correspondent Daniel Boettcher said it was "calming down" at London's St Pancras International but there are still "hundreds of people inside the station" trying to get information.

Tweet us

@50degreesam

tweets: The channel tunnel consists of 2 separate bores. Why are Eurostar not operating trains single-line through the one without the fire?

Looking for info

Passengers at St Pancras
EPA

Passengers have been trying to get travel information at St Pancras International, after Eurostar said 26 trains had been cancelled.

Paris for the night

Stephen Hicks, a passenger stranded in Lille, northern France, said he was one of a group of 12 people travelling back to the UK.

He told the BBC: "Our train was stopped at Lille and there was confusion over what was happening.

"We are now on a train going through Lille towards Paris. We are going to be in Paris for the night but we have no idea where we'll be staying."

Long London queue

queues at St Pancras
BBC

Delayed passengers have been offered a refund for their tickets. This was the scene at St Pancras in London earlier.

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St Pancras International station
Simon Lamrock
This photo emailed by Simon Lamrock shows the crowds of passengers at St Pancras International station

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Stuart Mcallister emails: I was waiting to get on the 2.45 Eurostar to London when they announced that there had been a fire in the tunnel. Eurostar have put me up in a hotel for the night. The staff at Brussels Midi were great. Really trying to help people and keeping them informed. Just hope I can get home tomorrow morning.