Eurotunnel press release
A fire broke out just before 3pm (BST) on Thursday 11 September on board a Eurotunnel Shuttle carrying trucks in the North Running Tunnel under the Channel. The Channel Tunnel consists of three tunnels, two for rail traffic and a third for maintenance and, when the need arises, for evacuation. The train was travelling from England to France and was approximately 11km from the French tunnel exit.
Eurotunnel’s security systems, on board the Shuttle and in the Tunnel, immediately detected the problem. The fire service based close to the French portal was quickly able to assess the situation and take the necessary action to get the fire under control.
Thirty-two people who were on board the shuttle were quickly evacuated into Eurotunnel’s Service Tunnel.
Three other trains using the Tunnel at the time were immediately redirected back to England.
The South Tunnel was not affected by the incident. As soon as possible it will undergo a detailed inspection before being brought back into service.
The Channel Tunnel has been designed and operates in accordance with the highest levels of safety. Every year, a major binational exercise is organised to test the safety procedures.
Eurotunnel considers at this stage that the financial impact of this incident will be limited and its operational losses are covered by insurance.
France’s Home Secretary, Mme Michèle Alliot-Marie was on the scene at Coquelles with the ‘Préfet’ of the Pas-de-Calais region, Rémi Caron, and praised the skill and professionalism of the emergency service and Eurotunnel teams who dealt with the situation quickly and effectively.
Jacques Gounon, Chairman and Chief Executive of Eurotunnel, declared
“I would like to thank our staff for their swift actions to protect our customers. Eurotunnel is conscious of the disruption caused by this situation and will do all it can to restore the best possible service as soon as this can be done. Eurotunnel is well- equipped to deal with any operational incident and has demonstrated its abilities to respond effectively”.