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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Simon Calder

High Speed None: Eurostar and Southeastern trains cancelled after breakdowns on line

Simon Calder

Eurostar passengers and Kent commuters are enduring a second day of rail chaos after engineering trains sent to help with repairs themselves broke down.

On Tuesday afternoon, Eurostar urged passengers not to travel after the High Speed 1 line from London St Pancras to Kent and onwards to France was closed. Overhead line damage between the hub in the capital and Ebbsfleet in north Kent led to widespread cancellations.

Many travellers were rebooked on trains to and from Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam for Wednesday, and dozens of Southeastern trains between London and the Kent coast were also axed.

Engineers were sent to the site to repair the damage overnight, with the first departure to Paris expected just before 6am on Wednesday.

But that train was cancelled, along with the first departure to Brussels at 6.16am. The 7.01am from London to the French capital departed an hour late and has been further delayed on its journey. The first train to Amsterdam, due out at 8.16am, left 15 minutes behind schedule.

An explanation was provided by Southeastern, which tweeted: “The lines between Ebbsfleet International and St Pancras are blocked because of broken-down trains used in the overhead line repairs last night.

“We don’t yet have an estimate when any of the lines will be able to open.

“We are currently working to arrange an hourly train service between St Pancras and Ashford.”

Early trains from London to Kent are either cancelled or still waiting to depart.

At 8am Eurostar tweeted: “We are experiencing some delays as part of the track is temporarily closed in the UK.”

Inbound trains are also disrupted. The first arrival to London St Pancras from Paris, due at 8.30am, is running one hour late – “because of an animal on the tracks,” according to Eurostar.

Other arrivals are show as late “because of an earlier technical problem”.

Passengers who make it to Brussels on Eurostar will find onward connections difficult because of a national rail strike, extending to Thursday.

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