The report on the breakdown of five Eurostar trains in the Channel Tunnel at Christmas 2009.
This document was published on 12th February 2010 by Eurostar Independent Review.
The original document format was PDF File, and comprised 89 pages.The original document can be found here.
This document is © Eurostar Independent Review.
"On the night of 18/19th December 2009, snow fell in the UK, with even heavier snowfall in France. The M20 was closed, as were a number of roads and motorways in the north of France. In these conditions, five Eurostar trains travelling to the UK from Brussels, Paris and Marne-la- Vallée (Disneyland Paris) broke down in the Channel Tunnel.
The first train to fail was recovered relatively quickly. The subsequent four trains then broke down in rapid succession and passengers from two of them had to be evacuated onto Eurotunnel passenger shuttles within the Tunnel. This was the first time this had happened in 15 years of operation in the Tunnel.
In addition to organising the rescue of passengers from Eurostar trains, Eurotunnel had to deal with 1,000 cars belonging to its own passengers that were being held in the Folkestone Terminal. Some 300 cars were also held in the Coquelles Terminal along with large quantities of freight.
Whilst the rescue operation was carried out safely, passengers on all trains were delayed for a very considerable period before they arrived at their destination. In reviewing the causes of the breakdown of the trains, it has become apparent that the standard winter-weather procedures followed by Eurostar were not suited to the actual weather conditions experienced. The running maintenance procedures did not prove sufficient for the extreme winter weather conditions and not enough consideration was given to the fact that certain parts of these trains have suffered over the years. It is also clear that the design of the power cars does require high levels of ventilation whilst at the same time providing adequate protection for sensitive components, especially the electronic circuits. This has been proven to be inadequate.
In the main, the evacuation of the trains was carried out efficiently and in some cases creatively by Eurotunnel and the authorities. However, the Review has highlighted serious concerns about the procedures in the Tunnel for dealing with conditions that arise on Eurostar trains when they lose power and subsequently their air conditioning and lighting.
The Review highlights the rapid deterioration in the situation of Train 9057, the ‘Disney Train’. It also addresses the subsequent delays and conditions experienced by passengers on the shuttle train on which they were evacuated.
The Review has found no reason why, even with five trains delayed in the Tunnel these could not have been evacuated in an emergency situation (which was not the case here) in a totally safe manner.
The Review also underlines Eurostar’s lack of an adequate emergency plan for dealing in the UK with passengers from several broken-down trains."
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