Fire shuts down Channel Tunnel between Britain, France

September 12th, 2008 - 12:07 am ICT by IANS  

London, Sep 11 (DPA) A serious fire on a freight lorry Thursday shut down the Channel Tunnel link between Britain and France, leaving thousands of travellers stranded but injuring no one, operators Eurotunnel said.Eurotunnel officials in France said 32 lorry drivers had been evacuated from the freight shuttle link following a fire on a lorry some 10 km from the French entrance to the tunnel at Calais.

“All the train drivers are safe. No one is at risk, no customers are at risk,” a spokeswoman for Eurotunnel said.

Services are expected to be closed for several days.

As a knock-on effect, thousands of rail passengers on the Eurostar train network linking London to Paris and Brussels were stranded Thursday.

A Eurostar spokesman said there were no passengers trains in the tunnel at the time of the incident, and the trains were returning to their nearest station.

Each Eurostar train carries more than 700 passengers. The passenger trains travel on the same track.

The fire on the freight lorry broke out at around 1400 GMT Thursday on a freight lorry travelling from Folkestone, in Britain, to Calais.

Both French and British fire crews were dispatched to the incident.

Safety procedures in the tunnel, which was inaugurated in 1994, were reviewed after a serious fire on a freight train in November, 1996.

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