Train fire halts Eurostar traffic in Channel Tunnel

Smoke pours from a freight train near the French end of the Channel Tunnel (photo: RTE correspondent Paul Cunningham)
Image caption RTE correspondent Paul Cunningham took photos of the fire from his train

Train services are being resumed in the Channel Tunnel after a freight train fire on the French side caused traffic to be suspended, the operator says.

All train services in the north tunnel were suspended as French firefighters dealt with the incident, according to Eurotunnel spokesman John Keefe.

The freight train was immediately diverted to an emergency siding.

Nobody was hurt and everybody on the train was safely evacuated, the spokesman added.

Eurostar passenger train services and freight traffic between London and Paris and Brussels were affected by the suspension.

The freight train affected was a HGV shuttle heading from Folkestone in England to Coquelles in France, Mr Keefe said.

'Car ablaze'

It appears that a car transporter caught fire on the rear part of a freight train, a source at Eurotunnel said, on condition of anonymity.

Paul Cunningham, Europe correspondent for the Irish public broadcaster RTE, witnessed the fire from a London-bound Eurostar passenger train waiting to enter the tunnel at the French end.

In dramatic updates on Twitter, he described how the two trains passed each other.

"Train emerges from Channel Tunnel with car ablaze while on transporter," he wrote.

"The blazing saloon on the transporter passed within 20 metres of our Eurostar. Not exactly reassuring!

"The car closest to the transporter cab was ablaze. 2 other cars behind it - one of which also seemed to be catching fire."

He tweeted later to say his fellow passengers had remained "calm and good-humoured" despite the delay to their journey.