Thousands face travel delays in European rail chaos | News | DW | 06.03.2012
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Thousands face travel delays in European rail chaos

Thousands of European rail passengers faced long delays Monday night and into Tuesday as heavy snow and track problems forced trains to halt trips around Northern and Western Europe.

High-speed trains in and out of the northern French city of Lille experienced serious delays in the afternoon and evening due to snowfall, the national SNCF railway service said.

On its website, rail operator Eurostar said an overhead power cable had fallen on a line, causing delays until lunchtime Tuesday on services between London and Paris. Several trains were cancelled as a result.

Further electrical problems also caused the cancellation of 12 trains between Lille and Brussels, according to the Belgian news agency, Belga. Around a dozen more trains bound for Brussels were still waiting in Paris for the all-clear to depart.

Earlier Monday, nearly 500 rail passengers were stranded on a high-speed line linking Paris with Amsterdam after an onboard engine-room fire that hospitalized the train's driver.

Some 20 high-speed TGV, Thalys and Eurostar cross-Channel trains were diverted as a result of the incident.

Over 40 firefighters were dispatched to deal with the smoke, the emergency services said. The driver had been taken to the hospital after suffering from smoke inhalation.

dfm/slk (AFP, dpa)