Channel Tunnel closed after smoke seen coming from train

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Thirty-four people had to be evacuated this lunchtime after a fire started on a lorry, which was being transported on a freight train in the Channel Tunnel.

Eurotunnel, the operator of the Channel Tunnel, said all services had to be suspended this afternoon due to the small blaze in which nobody was hurt.

John Keefe, a spokesman for Eurotunnel, said: "It was a freight shuttle going through with about 34 people on board, who have all been evacuated safely.

"Eurotunnel is conducting checks of the tunnel and its equipment. Once these investigations are completed, Eurotunnel will commence a progressive restart of commercial services."

The company also said services through the Tunnel would hopefully resume later today. "Unfortunately with this being a very busy time of year, it's going to take a few hours to clear the backlog once we've got started again," said Mr Keefe.

A Eurostar spokesman said: "We are advising passengers to avoid travelling today if possible. Tickets can be exchanged for another day."

The Channel Tunnel is a 31 mile long rail tunnel beneath the English Channel which connects Folkestone in Kent to Coquelles near Calais in northern France.