Holidaymakers trying to cross the Channel with Eurotunnel today faced six hour delays with temperatures reaching 95.F (35C) again with some desperately trying to book ferries or flights instead.
But many passengers have voiced their confusion after boarding Le Shuttle only to find empty, air-conditioned carriages.
Huge queues snaked to the Folkestone terminal from the M20 in Kent after 24 hours of chaos for drivers trying to get to France.
Passengers faced delays of up to six-and-a-half hours yesterday when air-conditioning units failed on trains because of the heat with the British Red Cross even turning up to give out free water.
Today was even hotter meaning thousands trying to get to France, most of them families trying to start their summer holidays, faced another miserable and hot day queuing only to discover empty carriages when they finally boarded.
One passenger tweeted: ‘ 2.5 hour wait finally get on board for spaces to be left in our carriage and a whole empty one behind us, air con working in both carriages… farce!
The cross-Channel rail operator, which runs trains between Britain and France carrying cars and lorries, has cancelled thousands of tickets for day-trippers and refunded people who didn’t have to travel today.
Trains also through the night to clear the backlog caused by the ‘extreme temperatures’ that saw a woman collapse holding her baby and people soaking themselves using a fire hydrant opened by panicked staff.
Air conditioning on some carriages failed in the extreme heat so had to go empty
Huge queues are again snaking to the Folkestone terminal from the M20 in Kent after 24 hours of chaos for drivers trying to get to France using Eurotunnel
The sun beats down on cars waiting in long queues as holidaymakers try to get to France to start their summer breaks
The Victor Hugo terminal by the Channel Tunnel was also packed again today as people
Holidaymakers described gridlock at the terminal as they faced long delays again after problems with overheating trains
Drivers and their families had no choice but to leave their cars and find some shade because of the dridlock
Temperatures in this car hit 102F (39C) as the traffic failed to move because of the five hour delays
Drivers took to social media to vent their anger at another day of travel misery.
David Rose tweeted: ‘I don’t understand why Eurotunnel are making people sit in extreme heat for five hours because air con on the trains isn’t working- as opposed to making them sit in extreme heat for 35 mins, because air con on the trains isn’t working.’
Adam Joyce said: ‘What an embarrassing shambles this is’
Another wrote on social media: ‘Anyone who has used Eurotunnel recently knows that the system is broken. These trains are almost 25 years old. Many have non-functioning toilets and doors which don’t shut’.
Parched Britain experienced the hottest day of the year today with 95.2F (35.1C) temperatures – and roads, railways and the NHS struggled to cope.
The Met Office said there is a 70 per cent chance the UK’s highest record temperature for July – 98.1F (36.7C), set in 2015 – could still be broken today.
Eurotunnel said additional departures are planned overnight to help alleviate the delays and customers will be called to board in the order of their booked departure time.
The English end of the Folkestone-Calais link was the worst affected, with travellers forced to queue for 90 minutes just to check in and a further five hours for the next available slot, according to the operator.
Many were forced to abandon their cars and one mother fainted while holding her baby due to the sweltering heat.
Temperatures in some vehicles reached 102F (39C) as customers – including children, the elderly and the disabled – were forced to wait inside cars or fight their way into the packed terminal to shelter from the heat.
There, they found shops had run out or are running out of food and water with the roads too blocked to bring in more supplies.
Panicked staff opened a fire hydrant and encouraged people and pets to cool down in the water on the hottest day of the year so far.
On Thursday evening, Eurotunnel warned that ferry companies ‘do not have availability to take any of our customers’.
Passengers were urged to stock up with drinking water before arrival as there were long queues to check in with no access to facilities.
It is one of the busiest weeks of the year for cross-Channel travel as the start of many school summer holidays leads to a surge in family trips.
British Red Cross volunteers offered free bottles of water to passengers who faced delays of up to six-and-a-half hours
Eurotunnel staff opened a fire hydrant and encouraged children and their pets to cool off in the water
Amy Wycherley (pictured) said she resorted to drinking champagne after waiting for five hours with no water in sight
Passengers using the cross-Channel services were warned of delays of up to five hours after air-conditioning units failed on trains
A Eurotunnel spokesman said: ‘Due to the exceptional and prolonged temperatures, some of the air-conditioning units on board our shuttles are struggling to produce sufficient cool air.
‘Our priority is customer well-being and safety so we are unable to board vehicles to these carriages.’
Sarah-Jane Morgan, a digital merchandising manager going on holiday to the Loire Valley with her husband, was delayed by four hours.
She said passengers were ‘getting very annoyed’ as they waited in a holding where staff had ‘no information’.
The 34-year-old, from London, said: ‘You could hear children crying probably due to the heat and being stuck, and lots of people with dogs were very worried.
‘I think people are willing to accept that things go wrong but lack of communication causes anxiety and in turn anger and frustration.’
Panicked staff opened a fire hydrant and encouraged people and pets to cool down in the water on the hottest day of the year
Eurotunnel’s problems started on Thursday morning after air-conditioning units failed on its trains because of the heat
When she finally boarded a train the temperature was 36C – which she described as ‘pretty horrific’.
Paul Johnson, managing director of a construction company in Dover, said people were ‘trying to find shade wherever they can’ and were ‘crowding into the packed terminal building’.
He uses Eurotunnel twice a month and claimed ‘the service levels this year are in steady decline, this isn’t a one-off’.
He added: ‘Any normal business would lose its custom and heads would roll for this, but they are answerable to no-one.’
Miles Kingman was among the thousands stranded at Folkestone and although he was due to leave at just after midday he expects to be on his way to Calais after 6pm.
Describing the chaos to MailOnline, he said: ‘The Eurotunnel is crammed with cars. The area is full. Children, pets and the elderly all being left to queue in their cars getting extremely hot.
‘The Eurotunnel people continue to let people in and now the car park is rammed with cars and people just ditching their cars in the road.
‘Many people are staying their cars rather than entering the rammed terminal building however the sun is getting to them. Many people are just left on the road without support, access to water or toilets.
Queues for the Eurotunnel in Folkestone, Kent, stretch back towards the M20 motorway amid sizzling temperatures
Huge queues have formed on the M20 near Folkestone because of complete gridlock around the terminal with temperatures in some vehicles reaching 102F (39C)
People were forced to wait in their cars or fight their way into the already packed terminal building to shelter from the heat
‘Trains aren’t leaving but there’s no announcements as to why this has happened, there’s no apologies or blame being taken’.
He added: ‘They’re pumping water from fire hydrants onto the pavements and encouraging people and dogs to use it to get cool. However this water looks dusty and dirty.
‘It’s an avoid at all costs place. Lounges aren’t air conditioned as promised. Kids are being really well behaved when all they want is their well earned holiday’.
Many took to social media to berate Eurotunnel and tell their horror stories.
Jo Dargue tweeted: ‘Huge delays at @Eurotunnel trying to board our train to France. No reliable information, no water, a lady carrying a baby just fainted in the heat’.
Lydia Rodney wrote: ‘We are queuing to board and the time keeps being pushed back – 3h30 and counting. Nowhere to go, the tarmac is boiling, our toddler is going mad in this heat. Having spent hundreds on our ticket for this hellish journey’.
Footage and photographs posted on social media showed long queues of cars, caravans and lorries.
Eurotunnel said it expects the problem to continue through the night and into Friday and are offering full refunds to passengers.
‘Customers travelling from Folkestone on the 26th or 27th July who wish to cancel and have a refund their outward journey from Folkestone, will still be able to use their return ticket from Calais,’ they tweeted on Thursday evening.
Later, Eurotunnel said they had taken the ‘unprecedented decision’ to cancel day trip and overnight tickets for Friday.
‘Due to the extreme temperatures affecting the shuttle air conditioning and the resulting delays, we have taken the unprecedented decision to cancel daytrip/overnight tickets travelling Friday 27th July,’ Eurotunnel said on Twitter.
‘Please look out for an email; we’re sorry for the inconvenience caused.’
They advised customers who are still planning to travel on Friday to check-in at the time advised – no earlier than two hours and no later than 45 minutes before the booked departure time.
They added they are estimated a 90-minute wait before check-in and afterwards, a wait of up to five hours.
‘Sorry for the inconvenience caused to your journey. We will post regular updates,’ they added.
Queues in the Victor Hugo terminal snaked outside and people said that food and drink was running out
Britain sweltered through the hottest day of the year on Thursday, as the unusual heatwave wreaked havoc on transport and hospitals across the country.
Temperatures in Folkestone were expected to reach 31C on Thursday.
The mercury peaked at 35C (95F) at London’s Heathrow Airport, smashing this year’s record of 34.5C (94.1F) set on June 21.
Friday is likely to be hotter still, with predictions that the all-time record of 38.5C (101.3F) set in 2003 will be smashed as a weak jet stream traps heat inland.