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KU students stuck in Eurostar recall nightmare journey

By River Reporter Mar 22, 2012

By Martin Mork

What should have been a relaxing journey home from sunny France turned into a frightening ordeal in the dark.

Two Kingston University students were left stranded and helpless on a train for hours after a power fault in northern France delayed the Eurostar services from Paris to London.

Six hours stationary

One train was standing still for six hours without any electricity, leaving passengers in darkness, without any food and unaware of what was going on.

“People were pissed off,” said Spanish and international relations student Cyrielle Bourgeois.

“We did not get any information for about two hours, as there was no electricity.”

Cyrielle’s train was stationary for almost six hours, and as it got dark, the mood in the carriage dropped severely.

Panic attacks

“The woman next to us was claustrophobic, and started having panic attacks.” Cyrielle said.

“It took them more than two hours to help her out, opening the doors in the carriage.”

Cyrielle’s arrival to St Pancras Station in London was delayed by over 10 hours in the end.

Meanwhile, human rights student Cole Simmons was on a different train, left “desperate and helpless” on his 23rd birthday as his train stopped for four hours, eventually arriving back in London six hours late.

“We were freaking out,” said Cole.

No back up plan

He added that most people seemed irritated and got the impression that the company had no back up plan.

“This isn’t the first time the Eurostar has had problems, but it seemed like they had no idea how to deal with it.”

Cole bought the trip to Paris together with a friend as a present to himself for his birthday, but the trip ended in nightmare on the way back to London.

“We had nothing to eat, and it felt like we were hopelessly stuck,” he said.

“We didn’t get any information for a long while, and when we got the message it was just about the approximate arrival time in London.”

Promised compensation

Both students have been promised full compensation from the company, but are yet to receive any money.

“I was going back to London on the Monday to reach a lecture, and then meet my friends to celebrate my birthday,” said Cole.

“I have been trying to contact them [Eurostar] regarding the compensation they promised, but they have not got back to me yet.”

A spokeswoman for Eurostar said: “Because of the power fault every service, including ours, had to be diverted to the only line working, which happened to be a slower journey line, making the delay bigger.”

The spokeswoman added: “There is compensation, but it depends on how long they were stuck on the train, and how big the delay in their journey was.

“We have given out the details and a description of how they could get their compensations.”


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