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Drunken British Eurostar passengers trigger travel chaos and fury

Two drunk British Eurostar passengers prompted travel chaos in northern France on Monday night when staff were forced to throw them off the train in Calais before forcing everyone to disembark and then reboard, much to the fury of travellers.

Drunken British Eurostar passengers trigger travel chaos and fury

A London-bound Eurostar train was halted for at least four hours in France Monday after police were called in to take off two drunken British passengers, French railway authorities said.

The string of events that led to the delays started shortly after the train carrying about 770 passengers left Gare du Nord station in Paris.

A little over an hour into the journey the train was brought to a halt in the northern French city of Calais after several passengers complained about the rowdiness of two British travellers, a spokesman for France's state railway operator SNCF told AFP.

They were “completely drunk,” local media quoted police as saying.

Police intervened to take the pair off the train but during the operation several passengers got off for a break, forcing staff to clear the train and start the boarding from scratch for security purposes.

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“The train was no longer sealed, other people could have come onboard,” the SNCF spokesman said.

The process took nearly four hours, after which the train finally resumed its journey, arriving in London shortly after 4:00 am (0300 GMT) where weary travellers found themselves queueing again — this time for taxis.

The two passengers behind the disturbances meanwhile were sleeping it off in a hotel in Calais, the northern French daily La Voix du Nord quoted a local prosecutor as saying.

Eurostar, operator of the cross-Channel service, was not available for comment about the incident.

On its Twitter account it expressed its “sincere regrets and apologies” to its customers, together with a link to a compensation form.

The offer failed to appease some vexed passengers, who vented their frustration on social media.

“9h travel time from Paris to London; arrival at 4.10am; because of a drunk and poor management,” Twitter user WBertagna wrote, along with a picture of passengers queueing in Calais to be allowed back onboard.

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EUROSTAR

Eurostar’s souvenir bomb warning after Paris station evacuated

Passengers on Eurostar have been warned about bringing shells that have been turned into souvenirs onto the trains after Paris' Gare du Nord station had to be evacuated.

Eurostar's souvenir bomb warning after Paris station evacuated
The Eurostar terminal at Gare du Nord was evacuated
The Paris transport hub had to be evacuated early on Monday morning after a World War II shell was found in a passenger's bag.
 

 

The evacuation, which happened at about 5.45am on Monday, was completed by 10am, but has led to longer than usual queues for Eurostar services.

It is the latest in a series of security alerts caused by passengers trying to take souvenir war artillery on to trains.

Eurostar issued a special warning ahead of the First World War commemorations in November 2018, but with just a month to go until memorial events for the D Day landings, there are fears that the problems could recur.
 
“As you're travelling during the commemoration period, please remember that you can't bring any real or replica bombs, shells (complete or partial) or weapons on board – even if you bought them from a gift shop,” Eurostar told passengers last year.
   
“If you bring them with you, they'll be confiscated at security and may result in the need to evacuate the station.”
   
Old World War I shells turned into flower pots have been popular souvenirs in Belgium and France ever since the end of the conflict, but passengers attempting to take them on board trains for Britain have sparked bomb scares in recent years.
 
Some of the alerts, which happen every few months, have also been caused by war memorabilia collectors bringing back disarmed ordnance unearthed by farmers at battle sites in northeast France.
   
Eurostar said even disarmed shells can set off X-ray alarms.
   
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