LONDON (CNN) — Passengers traveling from France to England were stranded for hours after being thrown off a Channel Tunnel train under the English Channel on Tuesday.
“One train broke down in the tunnel and we are working to transfer customers to our Foulstone terminal via the service tunnel to a separate passenger train.” He tweeted that Channel Tunnel Tuesday late UK time. “We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.”
Eurotunnel Le Shuttle operates passenger and freight trains through a tunnel between the UK and France.
The outage affected the 3:50pm (local time) service, which ran from Calais, France to Foulstone, England and was carrying hundreds of people and several dogs, the PA Media news agency reported.
Passenger Michael Harrison described the disturbing experience to PA.
“We went to cross at 3:50 pm and after about 10 minutes the lights went off and the train stopped. They told us they had to investigate the problem with the wheels,” he said.
“They took an hour and a half to investigate and apparently they didn’t find anything. They restarted and we moved forward another five minutes,” Harrison added. “It happened again and then we waited another two hours before they decided there was no problem, but they had to evacuate the train to another location.”
Passengers were then evacuated via the emergency link tunnel to the service tunnel, about 10 minutes’ walk to another train, Harrison told PA.
Other problems with the alternative train meant passengers finally arrived in the UK six hours after boarding, it added.
The Eurotunnel Le Shuttle service normally takes 35 minutes to travel between Folkestone and Calais.
A second passenger told PA: “A lot of people got nervous going down the service tunnel, it’s a bit of a weird place. We were stuck there for at least five hours.”
Another passenger, Kate Scott, said the temperature in the subway was a problem.
“It was hot, there was no air conditioning, they gave us water, but we didn’t know what was going on,” he said.
Sarah Fellows, 37, told PA that “the service tunnel is terrifying”.
“It was like a disaster movie. You go into the abyss not knowing what’s going on. We all had to be under the sea in this big sequence,” he said.
“One woman was crying on the subway, and another woman had a panic attack traveling alone,” Fellows added.
“They expected really old people to walk a mile through a tunnel under the sea.”
“At one point I panicked and the Border Force told us that the tunnel had been evacuated once again in the last 17 years, not recently,” he said.
The problem also affected downstream services.
“Due to the breakdown of the previous train, we advise you not to travel to the terminal tonight,” Eurotunnel said in a statement. Tweet Late Tuesday. “Come after 6 tomorrow morning.”
On Wednesday morning, the company said trains were running again. “After yesterday’s incident, we are returning to normal services” He tweeted that.
CNN has contacted Eurotunnel for further comment on the incident.
The Channel Tunnel revolutionized travel between the UK and mainland Europe when it opened in May 1994, making the journey much faster than the equivalent ferry route.
It was more than 180 years in the making before British and French workers laid the foundation stone and began excavating each other in 1988.
It took 13,000 workers six years to build the 50.5 kilometer tunnel, 39 of them underwater, making it the longest in the world.