Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Not so fast - literally!!

If you haven't heard, there was a fire in the chunnel (the rail tunnel between England and France which passes under the English Channel) last week and this has affected train service between Paris and London.  I didn't follow the issue closely as I didn't realize it was so serious and assumed it would be handily resolved in time for our trip from Paris to London (Sept.25-28).

However, today we received this email from Eurostar (the train operator):

We are currently offering refunds or exchanges for journeys up to and including 30th of September. For journeys beyond this date, we are still reviewing the situation. Please visit our web site at which will show the latest updates as soon as we have them.

Eurostar trains are still running on a restricted timetable. We would ask you to not travel unless absolutely necessary. If you already have a booking and are not able to cancel your journey, please check in for your journey at your allocated time. We will do our up most to get you on the next available train. However please be advised that there are long queues at the stations and you may have to wait.

They are advising people not to travel unless "absolutely necesary".  I don't know about you, but visiting those marvellous  London shops, having a few pints down at the pub, and eating fish and chips for 3 meals a day was sounding pretty damned necessary to me.

But seriously, David and I are on the fence.  Do we cancel our reservation and get the train fare back and cancel the London hotel too (they need 4 days notice, so we have time), or do we take our chances?  From what I understand, there are about 1/3 of the normal number of trains running between London and Paris, since both northbound and southbouand trains need to use the SAME tunnel now.  Usually there are separate north- and south-bound tunnels, but fire damaged much of one of these  tunnels.

This means that 100% of passengers are being accomodated on 33% of the trains, so there are delays and service is SLOW (much slower than the usual 2h journey!) since there is now wait time for the tunnel to clear, etc.

What do you think?  Should we chance it?  The fact is - we will have to sit and wait a lot, I suspect, and nothing is urgent. We could always book a day trip to Lyon or Zurich or Aix en Provence, for example.  The fast trains (TGV) go to many places these days in very short time.

We'll decide tomorrow.  What a downer.


  1. The Paris Apartment10:31 pm

    Wow! I hope they can fix that glitch!
    I stay go to the south of france or even italy or belgium.

  2. Canmore, AB12:30 am

    I share your confusion as my partner and I are supposed to travel London/Paris on Sep 23 then return on Sep 27. Our outbound train appears to have been cancelled altogether so decisions, decisions ...

  3. Yes, disappointing to be sure...

    Well, if it were myself, I'd chance it, but then, the advice you received from The Paris Apartment sounds good, too. Good luck with whatever you decide, dear Terry.

    Why does nothing ever go smoothly as planned? That's what I always want to know.

  4. Yes I say good luck to Terri with what ever you decide.You know it's always something, when you want to go on a trip, it's never smooth and easy going.You and David have a Wonderful Safe trip.

  5. Not so sure - if they're giving refunds up to the 30th already, it's not likely to resolve or get much better before then. It's not just waiting times but facing frustrated commuters, additional confusion...I say stay in France and relaaaaax. Of course having never been to (or lived in) France, perhaps it's too old-hat for an entire vacation :-)

  6. Hey girl :)

    Wow, sounds like you are all ready to go! I hope they can fix the train time but if not... hmm... are there any cheap flights? Or is there a boat that goes across? But hey Aix is great, lovely little picturesque French village :)

    Good luck with everything!

    Hugs, Susanne

  7. Bad luck indeed! I think I would go for the south of France instead. It is not fun if the travell would take to long...
    Bu what ever you will decide to to, I know you will have a nice time.

  8. Beautiful very pretty!!
    Regards -