Power Failure Incident at Eurotunnel
Thousands of passengers suffered major disruption after rail services through the Channel tunnel were suspended because of a power failure.
The issue affected Eurostar, which runs passenger trains using London St Pancras, and Eurotunnel, which operates freight and car services at Folkestone, Kent. All services were suspended because of the problem which emerged at around 2pm.
Some passengers were stuck on trains while others had to wait in long queues at stations. Services resumed shortly before 6.30pm.
A Eurostar spokesman said: “Our trains are currently delayed because of overhead power supply problems in the Eurotunnel.”
At a crowded St Pancras station, a loudspeaker announcement that cancellations would continue into the evening was met with gasps. Long queues of hundreds of people developed near the departure gates as rush-hour commuters and those booked on evening trains poured in.
One group of students tried to pass the time by singing along to the White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army played on a piano by one of their friends. Gary Warburton, 57, and his wife Visha said they had been waiting since 1pm, when they checked in for the cancelled 2.22pm Eurostar service.
The pair from Bromley had been hoping to travel on from Paris to Barcelona for their 22nd wedding anniversary. Mr Warburton, who is hoping see Manchester City play in a Champions League match at the Camp Nou stadium on Wednesday night, said: “They have cancelled our train and offered us the opportunity to rebook or get a refund. The only way to do that is online and the website has been overpowered so people have had trouble trying to rebook. When we have got through we cannot rebook for today.
“We are not confident – we keep seeing staff returning to their positions and we would like to think all of a sudden it will all go back to how it should be.”
Commuter Michel Vives, 56, who had been waiting for an hour and a half to travel home to Paris, said he had not been given much information. He added: “It seems all the people are quiet – in France for example, everybody would be rushing around shouting, so it is quite surprising as a French guy.”
Passengers arriving for the 6.01pm service were being allowed to check in. Those who had tickets for earlier trains were being advised by Eurostar staff to queue and wait to see if they could claim any unfilled seats.
Ten police officers tried to maintain order as queuing passengers bunched when boarding started, with anger from some people at perceived queue-jumping.
Power Plant failure causes widespread power outage in Sri Lanka
The Sri Lankan government has had to impose daily power cuts across the country following the latest failure of the country’s only coal-fired power plant, Lakvijaya in Norochcholai.
The failure of the $1.4bn, 900 MW plant resulted in 48 per cent of the island losing capacity. The plant, which has been in operation since 2011 saw all three units fail on Sunday and has forced the government to cut power for 1.5 hours per day at the present time.
The forced daily outage would have been more but for rainfall re-generating hydropower facilities. Drought has up to now severely impacted hydropower output.
The coal power plant has already suffered more than 20 break downs since it was commissioned in March 2011.
Most international businesses have their own backup generators, and it was not immediately clear how disruptive the current power cuts would be.