March 1, 2024

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'Unprecedented' tunnel floods halt travel in the London area

'Unprecedented' tunnel floods halt travel in the London area

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New Year's Eve plans are in jeopardy for many in Western Europe after widespread train cancellations due to flooding of a major railway tunnel that runs under the River Thames.

Eurostar, the region's high-speed rail line linking Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, was forced to cancel all 41 trains scheduled to run on Saturday in and out of London, leaving hundreds stranded at London's St Pancras station.

Travelers from the US, Australia and beyond packed London's St Pancras International station and Paris's Gare du Nord station as they scrambled to find last-minute accommodation and alternative plans.

All South Eastern Railway high-speed services using the same line have also been cancelled. According to the BBC.

Hundreds of people crowded into London train stations after widespread cancellations due to tube flooding. AP
The holiday travel plans of hundreds of people were upended on Saturday after Eurostar canceled train services to and from London. AFP via Getty Images

Engineers working in the tunnels said the water level had fallen as of Saturday, but described the amount of water as “unprecedented.”

Eurostar said it “deeply regrets these unexpected problems”.

The travel chaos marks the second major disruption to Eurostar travel in the past 10 days, with a last-minute strike by French workers grounding trains just before Christmas, causing holiday travel chaos too.

Engineers described the levels of flooding in the tunnels under the River Thames as “unprecedented”. AP

The UK was also hit by strong winds and heavy rain from Storm Gerrit over the holidays, and more stormy weather and travel disruptions are expected over the last weekend of the year too.

With mail wires

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