Eurostar chaos: Hundreds of passengers stranded as train grinds to a halt in 104F heat after power line fails in Belgium – delaying thousands more travellers
- Travellers said they were stuck with no air-conditioning after train came to a stop
- They were eventually evacuated to the side of the track awaiting a rescue train
- Eurostar said a power supply failure was to blame and advised against travelling
Hundreds of Eurostar passengers have been left stranded in scorching heat as they were forced off a train after an overhead power supply failure in Belgium.
Travellers said they were stuck in 104F heat after the high-speed train came to a stop near Halle, before they were finally evacuated at the side of the track as they waited for a rescue train.
At least four more international trains have been cancelled and others delayed in the resulting chaos, ruining travel plans for thousands of people.
‘Babies are ill, people are fainting. We were promised a rescue train. It’s been two hours,’ said one furious customer, comedian Katy Brand.
Eurostar passengers have been forced off a train in scorching heat after a power failure in Belgium
Passengers shelter under a bridge, some of them sitting on the steps of the high-speed train, after it came to a stop in Belgium
Another customer said he was ‘stuck outside Tubize, with no air con in scorching heat, no information is being given to the passengers.’
Melissa Houghton said: ‘Stuck on Eurostar train from Brussels to London for two hours with no air con and 40 degree heat, finally just evacuated.’
Pictures showed the frustrated passengers sheltering under a bridge in Belgium after the high-speed train was evacuated.
One passenger estimated there were 700 people, close to the train’s full capacity, waiting in the tunnel.
Eurostar says they will be taken back to Brussels-Midi station and rail staff have promised to ‘take care of them’ when they are back in the Belgian capital.
Asked about the air-conditioning – which may have been disabled by the power failure – a spokesman said doors were open for passengers to cool off.
At least four trains have been cancelled, others are delayed and Eurostar is telling passengers ‘not to travel unless necessary’ on the Brussels route.
The 12.58 and 18.04 from London and the 14.56 and 16.56 from Brussels have all been cancelled.
Sales on the route have been closed and passengers at London St Pancras also voiced their anger after their trains were affected by the disruption in Belgium.
To make matters worse, another international train – a Thalys from Dortmund to Paris – was also stuck after the Belgian power failure.
Passengers wait under a bridge by the side of the track after they were forced to evacuate the high-speed train in Belgium today
These passengers were evacuated after their train came to a stop in Belgium in scorching heat
‘We apologise for the inconvenience and we thank you for your patience,’ a statement on Eurostar’s website said.
‘We expect traffic to resume later but we expect significant delays. We’re advising people not to travel unless necessary and offering free exchanges on their tickets or refunds,’ the rail firm said.
No reason has been given for the power failure, but the high-speed trains draw electricity from overhead power lines which could have been damaged.
The stricken train appeared to be one of Eurostar’s older Class 373 units, which have room for around 750 passengers.
Services between London and Paris are not believed to be affected.
Today’s disruption is made worse by western Europe’s second heatwave of the summer, with new temperature highs predicted in Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany and the Netherlands.