Passengers evacuated from Channel Tunnel after breakdown

LONDON, July 7 Mon Jul 7, 2014 7:52am EDT

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LONDON, July 7 (Reuters) - Hundreds of passengers were evacuated from the Channel Tunnel on Monday after a train broke down due to a problem with overhead wires, resulting in long delays on the crossing between Britain and France.

A spokesman for operator Eurotunnel said a problem with the overhead catenary, which supplies the power to trains, led to a vehicle shuttle becoming stuck at about 0630 GMT on Monday.

"We transferred customers through the service tunnel and onto an empty train," he said.

"We are in the process now of extracting the shuttle, and we will take it to France subsequently to reunite the customers with their vehicles."

The Channel Tunnel, a 50-km (30-mile) link between Folkestone in south east England and Coquelles in northern France, is used by shuttles carrying cars and lorries, and by Eurostar train services between London, Paris and Brussels.

The spokesman said there were delays of several hours on the crossing, and hold-ups were likely for the rest of the day while the power supply was repaired.

Services were operating in a single direction, which was switched every 90 minutes, he said.

Eurostar cancelled three services from London on Monday, while two services from both Brussels and Paris were also cancelled, according to its website. It said remaining services were suffering major delays. (Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

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