Major delays in Europe after Channel Tunnel power failure

LONDON (AFP) - Nearly 400 passengers had to be evacuated from the Channel Tunnel on Monday after a power failure caused their train to stop mid-tunnel, sparking major delays and cancellations on the car service and the Eurostar.

The Eurotunnel car shuttle from Britain to France came to a halt at about 7:30am (0630 GMT), about a quarter of the way through the 50km long tunnel, after a problem with the overhead power supply, a spokesman said.

The 382 people and four dogs on board were transferred to the French terminal, where they should be reunited with their cars once their train can be moved.

In the meantime, some trains are still running on one of the two tunnels which is operational but delays are expected throughout the day.

"It will take a while to get sorted," a Eurotunnel spokesman told AFP, adding that passengers were advised to travel another day or, if already at the terminal, to take the ferry across the Channel.

He said it was a "purely technical incident".

Eurostar, which runs passengers trains through the tunnel between London, Paris and Brussels, said it had cancelled six trains on Monday between 10:13am and 1:13pm.

"There is only a single line working in the tunnel while they fix the catenary (overhead power supply). We've had to cancel some of our trains to take that into account," a spokeswoman said.

"We are going to do what we can to keep the rains running this afternoon but there will be delays."

She also urged passengers who do not have to travel today to change their tickets, free of charge, for another date.