[BBC news 1/17/15] A truck fire (aka Lorry in Brit speak) on Eurostar train shut down the Euro tunnel. An evacuation occurred and the good news was that nobody was hurt.
The bad news was this caused bedlam at St. Pancreas station with the cancellation of the Eurostar train service between London and Paris. Reports were over 12,000 travelers were impacted and there was 3 hour waits for refunds.
This is not the first time Eurostar has had to cancel services. In Christmas 2009, Eurostar shut down for 4 days due to snow short circuiting their train engines resulting in it breaking down in the tunnel. 2,400 passengers were stuck in the tunnel for up to 16 hours. However, this time Eurostar have nothing to do with the problem.
This incident has made me realize that I’ve roamed many times across the English Channel, I have taken the ferry or hovercraft from Dover. There is more adventure in getting on a ship and going up on deck and watching the cliffs of Dover disappear out of the view and seeing Calais appear on the other side. It is of course slower and the main drawback is the weather. I’ve been one trip that was extremely stormy where people were getting thrown around in the ship and many people were being visibly seasick. It was so bad that the ship had closed all it’s stores and restaurants and it was unclear if we could even dock at Dover.
Other ways of getting to Paris include flying – there are plenty of cheap flight options for the many London airports- but the quickest (when it runs) , is the train. You can get from St.Pancreas to Paris’ Gare Du Nord in 2h 16 minutes. That’s incredible. I’m tired of the London airport hassles as it will take you that long to travel to airport, check in and wait for your flight. You will then have the issue of getting from Charles De Gaul or Orly into Paris itself. Eurostar also offer connection to Brussels and Amsterdam. Next time I am looking for roaming ideas, I will seriously look at the Eurostar. I will just have to avoid getting into a train rage incident over their teabags.
Similarly, for those budget conscious- Megabus goes from London Victoria station – but that will take 9 hours total. When I was a student, that would be tolerable. Now that my time is a premium, not necessarily so.