Eurostar launches probe as limited services resume today

EUROSTAR yesterday launched an independent investigation into the problems which forced it to cancel all train services for three days in a row.

The review will be led by Christopher Garnett, former chief executive of GNER and the former commercial director of Eurotunnel, and Claude Gressier, the French inspector general of bridges and roads. Eurostar said the problems were caused by the snow screens and snow shields in the power cars of the trains.

Three days of cancellations have left 55,000 passengers who had booked tickets either stranded or forced to make other arrangements.

Officials at Eurostar said they were confident that the service would restart this morning, with two-thirds of scheduled trains expected to be up and running. Eurostar’s chief executive officer Richard Brown said: “We will be doing our very best to get everyone home by Christmas.”

UK transport minister Sadiq Khan said he was “angry” that passengers had not been told what was going on. The French transport minister, Dominique de Bussereau, also demanded explanations. Eurostar suspended traffic between Paris and London pending tests to determine what caused five trains to get stuck inside the Channel Tunnel late Friday. More than 2,000 people were trapped inside the trains for hours.

French president Nicolas Sarkozy summoned the head of the French train authority to the Elysee Palace and ordered him to get the Eurostar moving again. However, there was more snow forecast last night and today in Calais on the French side.