Eurotunnel Freight Moving After Fire

“Eurotunnel's truck shuttle service has resumed a limited service,” says a release from the company. “We are currently operating a minimum of two departures per direction every 120 minutes from 07:00 to 22:00 (Central European Time) and four departures every 120 minutes during the night.”

A fire that started aboard a freight shuttle in the North Running Tunnel at about 3 pm on September 11th burned for 16 hours. The train was running from the UK to France and was approximately 11 km (6.8 miles) from the French tunnel exit when the fire was detected.

The 32 people onboard the train were evacuated through the maintenance/evacuation tunnel.

Immediate consequences included rerouting three other trains that were using the tunnel at the time. And, according to Transport Intelligence, the subsequent suspension of services in the tunnel had immediate major repercussions for all routes across the channel. In England, trucks were backed up several miles between the nearest major port, Dover, and Folkestone as the rail operator transferred vehicles onto ferries.

The Eurotunnel (or Channel Tunnel) had reported growth in all categories of traffic in the first half of 2008. Freight shuttles increased to 757,423 in the first half from 707,422 the prior year, an increase of 7%. Rail freight, however, declined in the period. Eurotunnel introduced a new pricing structure in October 2007 and changed rail freight reporting to the number of trains vs. tonnage, as it had in the past.

A fire 12 years earlier had caused extensive damage and closed the tunnel for six months. This recent incident did not force the closure of the other tunnel as work began to restore the affected tunnel to full operation.

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