Channel Tunnel chaos: Motorists forced to sleep in their cars after power failure

·2 min read

Watch: Delays at Channel Tunnel snarl traffic in Southeast England

Drivers were forced to wait in their cars overnight at the Channel Tunnel after an electrical fault triggered major delays.

Holidaymakers and lorry drivers spent the night in their vehicles following an electrical fault at the railway terminal in Kent.

Hundreds were stuck on the M20 near Folkstone, some for up to nine hours, waiting to board the train to France on Saturday night.

Drivers are facing three hour delays on the M20 near Folkstone  (PA)
Drivers are facing three hour delays on the M20 near Folkstone (PA)

Many are still facing a three-hour wait after hitting the road for a half-term European getaway.

Eurotunnel confirmed the delays were due to a technical fault with the overhead power supply.

It is thought the fault also led to a train breaking down inside the tunnel which was subsequently evacuated.

Tired and hungry drivers shared their frustrations on social media where videos showed hundreds of stationary cars parked on the motorway.

One person said: “Complete chaos at LeShuttle at the moment. Four to five hour delays, vending machines empty, huge queues for food. 

“All we’re told is ‘tunnel maintenance’. Great start to half-term holidays.”

Another person said: “The eight hours we’ve just spent in Folkestone has at LeShuttle. 

“Just another four hours to drive now, through four countries, in the dark. On the plus side, my child has learned to yo-yo.

Technicians worked throughout the day to resolve the issue which meant trains had to operate at reduced capacity causing further delays.

Eurotunnel said it is “very disappointed with the level of disruption caused” and apologised to motorists caught up in the chaos.

A spokesperson said: “Eurotunnel would like to offer our sincere apologies to everyone who was impacted by delays to our services.

“Services were severely disrupted after damage was caused to the catenary inside one of the two railway tunnels.”

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