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Eurostar nightmare

PUBLISHED: 15:57 23 December 2009 | UPDATED: 10:40 12 August 2010

AN ILLUSTRATOR who was travelling on the last train of the Eurostar was stuck in the Channel Tunnel for seven hours. Akis Paphides, 44, from Bromley, was returning from a business trip when he boarded the Eurostar at Gare du Nord in Paris at 8pm last Fri

AN ILLUSTRATOR who was travelling on the last train of the Eurostar was stuck in the Channel Tunnel for seven hours.

Akis Paphides, 44, from Bromley, was returning from a business trip when he boarded the Eurostar at Gare du Nord in Paris at 8pm last Friday bound for Ebbsfleet International.

But what should have been a two-hour journey turned into a nightmare as he was stranded in the tunnel for seven hours and did not get home to Bromley until 2pm last Saturday afternoon.

He was one of thousands trapped in the tunnel on six trains at the weekend, when electrics failed due to the freezing temperatures, leading bosses to cancel services leaving travellers stranded.

Those stuck in the trains at the weekend complained of a lack of food and drink, power supplies and information.

But Mr Paphides, an illustrator for Lee Cooper said: "I like the Eurostar. It hasn't put me off using it. Worse things happen to people.

"I didn't see children passing out. I didn't think there was a lack of oxygen.

"It was just incredibly boring.

"The main problem was that they kept making these announcements telling us that rescue trains were on their way - half-an-hour away. Then they would say that that one broke down - so there was one two hours away, then three hours away. And then the third one broke down.

"Even when they got us out of the tunnel we were still stuck there for three hours, before we were towed to Ebbsfleet, because people in the first carriage had collapsing children.

"By the time the first lot came out, who were interviewed on television, we were still stuck on the train.

"Someone on our carriage got his iPhone out and found the articles about what was going on. He said 'I can't believe people are being interviewed when people are still here'.

"It was hard to figure out the time as people kept drifting in and out of sleep. You just lost all track of time."

On Monday Eurostar chief executive Richard Brown said he was "very, very sorry" and warned that people travelling in the next few days face "a limited service".

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

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