Hundreds of passengers had to be evacuated from a broken-down train in the Channel Tunnel in an incident which led to long delays to travellers.

The French-bound Eurotunnel passenger shuttle train came to a halt about a quarter of the way through the tunnel after a problem with the overhead power line. As it was likely to be some time before the train could be moved, the 382 passengers and four dogs were evacuated and taken on to the French terminal.

Services through the tunnel, using one of the two running tunnels, were able to continue but Eurotunnel warned that services were being delayed, with hold-ups possibly lasting for the rest of the day. It happened at around 7.30am yesterday about 7.5 miles into the 30-mile long tunnel.

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"The evacuated passengers are now at the French terminal and are waiting for the affected train to arrive so they can get their cars," a Eurotunnel spokesman said yesterday. He went on: "We are advising people who don't need to travel today to travel on another day. There are queues building up and travellers should expect delays throughout the day."

Channel Tunnel high-speed train company Eurostar said it had had to cancel four services yesterday and warned passengers to expect delays to ones that are able to run. Eurostar told customers: "If travel today is non-essential you can exchange your ticket, free of charge, to another available service within the next four months."