• France's news in English

Migrants use tunnel rail chaos to make bid for UK

AFP/The Local · 8 Jul 2014, 16:51

Published: 08 Jul 2014 16:51 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A power failure on Monday forced the closure of a section of the track in the undersea tunnel going from France to Britain, spelling chaos for travellers as several Eurostar train services were cancelled.

A spokesman for Eurotunnel, which manages the undersea link, said Tuesday afternoon that the problem had been solved and that the tunnel was once again working at full capacity.

But the delays caused severe disruptions to transport services - particularly to freight links - forcing truck drivers to try and catch ferries in the nearby port city of Calais, only to find themselves grinding to a standstill on a three-kilometre-long (two-mile-long) road leading to the boat terminal.

Many of the trucks were surrounded by dozens of migrants trying to sneak under the axles of the vehicles or into the trailers, forcing drivers to get out of their cabins to try and stop them from getting on board before they passed immigration controls.

Migrant camps have sprung up in and around Calais for several years, and while French police have tried to dislodge them, they have largely been unsuccessful. 

Many migrants hope to hide in trucks or other vehicles crossing to Britain, where they believe conditions are better for would-be refugees than in France.

The power failure in the tunnel on Monday caused a train to stop about a quarter of the way through the 50-kilometre-long tunnel, forcing the 382 people and four dogs on board to be evacuated.

Story continues below…

The Eurotunnel spokesman said traffic was now back to normal.

"Repairs took a long time as we had to change 800 metres of overhead lines in this section. An operation over such a distance in a confined space takes some time," he said.

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Yellow smoke rises around French police officers in Paris holding a banner reading "Solidarity with our colleagues, police angry". All photos: AFP

Could these measures stop the cops from protesting?

'3,000 migrants dispersed' after 'Jungle' clearance
Photo: AFP

While thousands of migrants have been bussed out around France, new ones are arriving all the time and thousands of others have simply been dispersed aid agencies say.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Photo: Matthew Powell/Flickr

A must read for anyone who wants to stay on the right side of the law in France.

Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
The town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Photo: Aa77zz/Flickr

Aliens take note.

American tourist dies at French Riviera sex club
The Riviera resort of Cannes. Photo: AFP

American tourist reportedly fell five floors after being pushed outside the underground sex club in Cannes.

Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Photo: SeaBubbles

An in Seine idea surely? But tests will go ahead.

France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished
Photo: AFP

Reports from the scene say scores of migrants are still in the area of the Jungle despite French authorities claiming "mission fulfilled."

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice
Photo: AFP

Head of luxury Cannes hotel has been found alive after being kidnapped in Nice on Monday.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available