Home » Eurotunnel: Passengers left stranded under British Channel for 5 hours after train breaks down & forced to leave on foot

HOLIDAYMAKERS were forced to WALK through the Eurotunnel after the train broke down inside it – they were stuck under the sea for nearly five hours.

Unbelievable photos and footage captured the crowds of passengers trudging along the central service tunnel lugging their belongings.

Hundreds of holidaymakers had to walk through the Eurotunnel when the train broke down on Tuesday night


Hundreds of holidaymakers had to walk through the Eurotunnel when the train broke down on Tuesday nightCredit: PA
Families were faced with nearly five hours of waits


Families were faced with nearly five hours of waitsCredit: PA

The France-bound travellers had to abandon their vehicles when the car train suddenly broke down about ten minutes into its journey on Tuesday evening.

Everybody was escorted to a passenger shuttle and returned safely to Folkestone in Kent – but only after five hours in the underwater tunnel.

In the surprising clips, people are walking in one direction down a concrete corridor under the Channel, carrying bags over their shoulders.

One sunseeker is carrying a baby on their hip and another has brought their dog with them.

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Staff in high-vis vests up ahead can be seen supervising the exodus.

The breakdown halted the 3.50pm Le Shuttle in its tracks late on Tuesday on the way to France.

Hundreds of holidaymakers were evacuated from their vehicles and rescued through the alternate tunnel running alongside.

Luckily passengers were escorted on foot to a passenger shuttle, not forced to walk the entire 31 miles from Folkestone to Calais – the longest underwater section of any train tunnel in the world.

Some travellers were reportedly scared by being trapped below the sea.

Others were starving and exhausted by the waits, saying the service tunnel was “a bit of a weird place”.

A spokesperson for Eurotunnel Le Shuttle said: “A train has broken down in the tunnel and we are in the process of transferring customers to a separate passenger shuttle via the service tunnel, to return to our Folkestone terminal.

“We apologise sincerely for this inconvenience.”

The underwater emergency also caused an enormous backlog at Calais, where drivers were told to stay away from the terminal until 6am on Wednesday.

Photos shared online showed gridlock from the tunnel chaos until late into Tuesday evening.

The spokesman added: “Due to the earlier train fault, we advise you not to travel to the terminal tonight.

“Please arrive after 6am tomorrow.”

Michael Harrison, from Cranbrook, Kent, one of those on the evacuated train, told the PA news agency: “We got on the 3.50pm crossing, approximately 10 minutes in the lights went out and the train stopped.

“We were told they needed to investigate an issue with the wheels.


“It took approximately one and a half hours for them to investigate and obviously not find anything.

“They reset things and set off for another five minutes.

“It happened again at which time we waited a further couple of hours to decide they couldn’t see a problem but had to evacuate the train to another train.

“After further waiting we left the train through the emergency link tunnel to the service tunnel.

“We then walked approximately 10 minutes to a train in front of the stricken train.

“This was a bus carriage where we got transported to Folkestone.

“That train then stopped as it couldn’t get traction, presumably as it was long and had no weight on it.

“There were gasps of incredulity when that was announced.

“We finally arrived in Folkestone six hours after boarding.”

Another passenger who was evacuated, but did not want to be named, told PA that “several people were freaking out about being down in the service tunnel, it’s a bit of a weird place”.

He added: “We were stuck down there for at least five hours.

“If I’ve got a gripe it’s that they knew several hundred people were arriving at Folkestone who hadn’t eaten for five, six or more hours and there was absolutely nothing for us here.

“Just huge queues for Burger King.”

Journalist Bruce Atkinson, caught up in the delays at Calais, tweeted: “Sitting in the boarding queue at Calais with no idea how long we will be waiting. Been here 4 hours so far.”

Jonel Schwarz added on Twitter: “We’ve been caught in the trap for over 4 hours. Had we been given any info sooner we never would have entered the trap in the first place.”

The terminal disaster follows warnings of an entire summer of travel chaos as the Channel Tunnel crumbles under the pressure of high demand.

The undersea route linking the UK to France was dubbed the “hotspot of holiday hell” as vehicles were backed up bumper to bumper in July.

Holidaymakers were warned the Kent port was on a “knife edge” as the country’s travel mayhem went on.

A “critical incident” was declared at Dover a month ago, with holidaymakers told to arrive six hours early for ferry queues lasting up to five hours.

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A ramp up of post-Brexit border checks and French authorities’ understaffing checkpoints were blamed for the hold-ups.

As a result local authorities urged ministers to handle the issue as a “national problem” instead of the “sticking plaster” approach.

Photos showed the crowds of passengers walking to rescue


Photos showed the crowds of passengers walking to rescueCredit: PA