Eurostar trains resumed on Sunday with the operator warning of continued delays following “unprecedented” flooding which caused mass cancellations.
Eurostar said this morning that speed restrictions on the line would remain in place, which would lead to further delays, but added that no additional trains would run despite having a backlog of an estimated 36,000 people who were unable to travel on Saturday.
“Flooding in the Thames tunnels has been brought under control by Network Rail High Speed. There will be some speed restrictions in place this morning which may lead to delays and stations are expected to be very busy,” it said.
Flooding in a tunnel under the River Thames led to the cancellation of all Eurostar services between London and Paris on Saturday.
Thames Water said the flooding was “unprecedented” but that it was “being resolved” and today the line would be operational, but with speed restrictions in place and disruption still expected after millions of gallons of water has been pumped out.
Some passengers, whose trains were cancelled on Saturday, have been queuing at St Pancras to try and book tickets.
Maes Bert and Lievens Nele, both 45, were in a large queue for tickets at London’s St Pancras International, hoping to get spaces on a train home to Brussels on Sunday so they can enjoy the New Year countdown with their two daughters after their train on Saturday was cancelled.
Ms Bert said: “Our tickets was cancelled yesterday so if you want a new ticket you have to queue here and hope you get one, and I hope we are getting home today, but it’s not sure there are tickets, so we have to wait and wait and wait, but it’s not going further, it takes a long time.”
Mr Nele said: “They (their daughters) got back on a boat yesterday. There were places for two people and we gave the places to our daughters, Antje (20) and Janne (24).”
Thames Water said that a “fire control system” had caused flooding in a tunnel near Ebbsfleet International Station in Kent.
Later, HS1 said the source of the flooding would be the subject of an investigation, but at this stage, it had “no evidence to suggest that the fire control system was related to the issue in any way”.
It added: “We understand how frustrating this has been for passengers and apologise for the inconvenience caused at such an important time of the year,” a spokesperson said.
The flooding on the line meant that Southeastern’s services to Ebbsfleet were all cancelled on Saturday, with a reduced service planned to be running on the route on Sunday.
Trains between Ebbsfleet and St Pancras will continue to be affected until the end of the day, and the South Eastern trains may be cancelled, delayed or revised to terminate at Ebbsfleet International until this point
Due to staff shortages, Thameslink trains will also be running an altered service today, with “major disruption” forecast by the provider and no trains running overnight.
Farida, 41, was due to meet friends in Brussels for a short holiday but was left hunting for an alternative way to get there amid the travel chaos.
She told i: “I don’t know what to do, I am a bit stressed. I left the hotel here and checked out, and now I have all my bags and things.
“I’m not sure what to do. My friends are waiting at the other end. I don’t think there will be direct flights, and they will be expensive now too.”
Two newlyweds visiting from New York said their plans to spend New Year’s Eve at Disneyland Paris were now “ruined”.
Nicole Carrera, 29, and her husband Christopher, 31, were due to catch a train from London St Pancras International to Paris but had to rebook for a 2.30 pm outbound train on Sunday, scuppering their plans to spend New Year’s Eve at the theme park, and leaving them out of pocket for a non-refundable hotel booked in Paris for Saturday evening.
Ms Carrera, who works for cosmetics firm L’Oréal, said: “We actually got married in October and we had this trip planned before we got engaged… we planned this trip because we’ve always wanted to come to London/Paris.
“We’ve been in London since Wednesday and we wanted to leave today because we were actually supposed to go to Disney Paris tomorrow for New Year’s Eve.
“So obviously those plans our ruined because now we won’t get into Paris tomorrow until about 6 pm.”
This is the second time the Eurostar has contributed to national travel frustrations, after there was a “last-minute strike” by French workers, grinding the Eurostar to a halt in the busy period before Christmas.
As the next weather front of wind and rain is due to hit the UK, The Met Office has warned there could be more disruption to domestic journeys this weekend.