|A lightning strike in Kent which caused a building to catch fire caused delays of more than four hours for
hundreds of Eurostar passengers travelling to the UK.
Lightning triggered a fire at a building close to the entrance at Ashford, causing delays to all Eurostar services on Thursday evening.
The fire started just after 8pm and a spokesman said the “procedure was to close down the track until the fire was under control.”
He said this led to one train bound for Paris being returned to London and three others heading for London to be “severely delayed.”
The spokesman said “several hundred” people would have been affected by the delays, which were between three to four and a half hours long.
A train from Brussels scheduled to arrive at 9pm on Thursday was expected to get to the UK at about 1am on Friday. All trains were expected to arrive in the UK by 1.30am.
Bruno Waterfield, Brussels correspondent for the Telegraph, was on the train due to arrive in the UK from Brussels at 9pm, along with Liam Fox and Sir Ivan Rogers, UK ambassador, and some MEPs.
He said: “We were told that the delay was due to a fire at Ashford. Then the train suddenly retreated back into the tunnel at 21.06
“There was some panic on the train and the train manager made an announcement she did not know what was happening but that the tunnel was the safest place
“At least one guy was so rattled he pulled the emergency cord
“We were then held at Calais. First we were told we were going back to Brussels. Then they announced that Belgium’s high speed line was shut for engineering work. So then it was Lille. Finally they said the high speed line was working after all, and we would head back to London.”
The train was at Ebbsfleet at 1am on Friday.
A spokesman said customers were being offered taxis and hotels where required.
Cancellations were also in place on Thursday night on Southeastern trains between Ashford International and Ramsgate. – Telegraph.