UK

Eurostar 'not expecting further service delays' following power failure

  • 26 March 2016
  • From the section UK
Queues of passengers at UK border Image copyright PA

Eurostar has said it is not expecting further disruption on Saturday after passengers faced long delays due to a power failure.

Travellers at London's St Pancras station complained of long queues after a train from Paris and one from London were cancelled on Friday.

Passengers using the Eurotunnel car service at Folkestone also faced delays before and after check-in.

It followed warnings to leave time for stepped-up security checks.

Police patrols at airports and railway stations and enhanced border checks have been in place since jihadists struck in Brussels on Tuesday.

Two million Britons are expected to go abroad over the four-day weekend. Eurostar was anticipating 22,000 people would use its trains to travel out of the UK on Good Friday.

'Useless'

One Eurostar passenger at St Pancras, Megan Eaves, tweeted pictures of the queue, saying: "Eurostar Q to end of concourse & snaking out around back door. If you're travelling from London tonight, be early!"

Others complained of a lack of information.

Ben Crossland tweeted: "Total chaos from @EurostarUK at St Pancras. Held in a pen and nobody knows what's going on. Useless!"

A Eurostar spokeswoman said an earlier power failure had caused two train cancellations.

"The passengers on those trains are being accommodated on other services or they can opt to exchange their ticket," she said.

She added that speed restrictions around Paris were causing further delays.

But she stressed it was "the busiest day of Easter" for Eurostar and delays had reduced gradually throughout the day.

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On Friday afternoon, Eurotunnel reported hold-ups before and after check-in of between an hour and an hour and a half.

At London's airports, more than 950,000 passengers were set to depart from Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Luton.

Meanwhile, an estimated six million Britons were expected to make trips within the UK, with the RAC warning that the most congested stretches of road were likely to include the M5 south from Almondsbury towards Exeter, the M6 north from the West Midlands towards Lancashire and all sections of the M25.

The motoring group warned drivers to expect "heavy traffic and jams on major routes".

Image copyright PA

Rail passengers have been advised to check for alterations to their journey because a number of lines are suspended as Network Rail carries out more than 450 individual improvement projects.

  • There are no Southern or Gatwick Express services from London Victoria because of major work in Battersea, south London. Southern services to the airport will be available from London Bridge, and Thameslink trains will run from London Blackfriars
  • The West Coast Main Line is closed around Stafford, meaning many services will be diverted via Stoke with increased journey times
  • On the East Coast, one of the two lines south of Peterborough will be closed - resulting in changes to services on Saturday and Sunday
  • Heathrow Express trains will depart only every 30 minutes, because of Crossrail works

Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne said he was "acutely conscious" that many people wanted to use the railway over Easter, but it was a good time to carry out work on the network because there would be fewer passengers than normal over the four-day period.

Forecasters predict changeable weather over the weekend. A band of heavy rain and strong winds is expected to move from west to east across the country on Saturday with the chance of some snow over high ground in Scotland.

The Met Office said latest indications were that the strongest gusts, up to 60mph in exposed areas, were more likely across south Wales and southern and eastern parts of England, with north Wales and northern England less likely to be affected.

It said those travelling should "be aware of the possibility of localised low levels of disruption to Easter travel plans and other holiday activities".

Abroad, Spain will be the most popular destination for an Easter break, with the Canary Islands in particular seeing large numbers of British holidaymakers, Abta said.


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