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Europe faces more travel chaos as snow turns into ice

media captionThe snow has led to huge traffic jams in Germany, Belgium and the UK

Freezing conditions are continuing to disrupt transport in north-west Europe, although heavy snow has eased.

Large parts of northern France have been placed on ice alert, with officials describing the situation as "very complicated".

Frankfurt airport had to cancel more flights on Wednesday, after hundreds of passengers remained stranded overnight.

Meanwhile the Eurostar high-speed train has resumed its service between London, Paris and Brussels but with delays.

The cross-Channel train had been forced to suspend all travel on Tuesday after a severe snowstorm struck France, Belgium, Germany and the UK.

High-speed trains between Paris and other French regions were also restored.

France's SNCF rail company put up more than stranded 1,000 travellers in hotel rooms and sleeping carriages overnight, it said.

"For 24 hours, 10,000 employees have been working to remove snow from the rail lines and re-establish service," SNCF said in a statement.

Treacherous roads

But while trains have resumed, road conditions in France remain difficult as snow has turned major motorways into ice traps, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said.

French soldiers were mobilised to help workers restore electricity to about 80,000 homes in the country's north-east, left without power after the snowstorm.

Icy conditions are forecast to last at least until Thursday.

media captionBBC forecaster Matt Taylor explains why it is so unusually cold in north-west Europe.

Similarly, drivers in Belgium continue to face treacherous roads, and trains operate at reduced speed.

On Tuesday morning, the total length of traffic jams exceeded more than 1,600km (1,000 miles) at rush hour, according to Belgian emergency road assistance company Touring.

In Germany, Frankfurt airport - Europe's third-largest hub - was forced to scrap at least 80 flights on Wednesday morning, spokesman Mike Schweitzer said.

Although all runways are back in operation, the airport still faces significant delays because of Tuesday's cancellations, he said.

About 800 of 1,200 flights had been annulled after about 12cm (5in) of snow fell.

Hundreds of passengers spent the night on emergency camp beds at the airport.

Snow and freezing conditions also struck southern England.

The severe weather forced the Channel Tunnel's closure, causing a huge backlog of freight traffic as hundreds of lorries remained stuck on the M20 motorway in Kent.

Although the tunnel was reopened overnight, the UK Highways Agency said freight traffic waiting for ferries from the Port of Dover would face another long wait.

The Channel Islands have experienced some of their worst conditions in decades.

More on this story

  • Snow disrupts Frankfurt flights and Eurostar trains