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Anger as Eurostar suffers delays and cancellations
by Staff Writers
London (AFP) March 6, 2012

Irate rail passengers slammed Eurostar's customer services after a cable fault in northern France caused delays of up to seven hours and forced the cancellation of four services on Tuesday.

The operator said it was "very sorry" for the disruption and offered passengers with tickets for cancelled trains the chance to exchange them for another day.

Some of those passengers who were affected on Monday criticised Eurostar for failing to provide updates.

"It has been hellish. We have not been kept informed," London resident Kandy Woodfield told the BBC after her seven-hour delay.

Therese Kelly, also from London, added: "We had no announcements about why the train was so delayed or why it kept stopping, the train didn't move for hours.

"At one point policemen started walking through our carriage of the train, they wouldn't speak to us and I thought 'Oh God, are we in the middle of some security breach?' I was really scared," she explained to the BBC.

"The whole train journey was brutal, totally brutal."

A Eurostar spokeswoman promised that staff were "trying to do everything we can to get passengers to their destination."

The disruption threatens to hit Paris Fashion Week with leading industry figures taking to microblogging website Twitter to highlight their travel difficulties.

British model Laura Bailey tweeted "Nowhere near boarding and just got caught up in a fight..Chaos.Bon chance!"

Fellow model Poppy Delevingne described herself as "deliriously tired" after sitting on the track for four hours while designer Henry Holland declared it a "Eurostar DISASTER".

High-speed trains in and out of Lille experienced serious delays on Monday afternoon and evening after heavy snow brought down power lines, the national SNCF railway service said.

"The great majority" of train services in the north, including the Eurostar to London, were back on track before midnight (0100 GMT Tuesday), transport minister Thierry Mariani told AFP later.

Eurostar said all delayed trains heading for London had arrived. It added that Tuesday's first scheduled service to Paris -- at 5:40 GMT -- was due to run on time but that the next four services would be cancelled.

A normal service is expected to resume after lunchtime Tuesday.

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Snow cuts powerlines, blocks trains in northern France
Lille, France (AFP) March 5, 2012 - Heavy snowfalls cut powerlines in northern France on Monday, blocking trains and leaving some 140,000 homes without electricity.

High-speed trains in and out of Lille experienced serious delays in the afternoon and evening, the national SNCF railway service said.

Further north, around Douai, Lens, Hazebrouck, and Bethune, the electricity company EDF said it was struggling to repair powerlines.

The Lille-Lesquin airport was also closed for a few hours in the middle of the day because of heavy snow.

"The great majority" of train services in the north, including the Eurostar to London, were back on track before midnight (0100 GMT Tuesday), transport minister Thierry Mariani told AFP later.

However disruptions and delays could still be expected as the backlog of passengers was dealt with, with "a small number" of people being put up in hotels or stuck overnight at train stations.


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Unique in Germany: the DLR railway test laboratory
Berlin, Germany (SPX) Feb 29, 2012
Sometimes the light goes out for a fraction of a second, and sometimes the high speed train is forced to stop at a border, making the journey time longer - anyone travelling in Europe as a rail passenger can sometimes experience the practical effects of using over 20 different train control and safety systems. The European Train Control System (ETCS) will help; it is designed to standardis ... read more

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