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Eurostar health and safety

Ear problems on the Eurostar

The Eurostar runs at ground level so most people don’t suffer from any issues at all. However, in particular when crossing the Channel Tunnel, there is a slight change in pressure and I often get “closed” ears that I have to pop. I have heard of a few people suffering from headaches when crossing the Channel Tunnel. I can imagine it’s slightly similar to changes in cabin pressure on aircrafts, but I don’t have much data.

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Discussion

5 thoughts on “Ear problems on the Eurostar

  1. Hi there,
    I have problems with ear pressure and that is one reason why I try to avoid the plane..kind of strange, that the alternative, the eurotunnel has pressure as well.
    So I guess the only way to avoid it would be the ferry? Can you tell me how long that popping in your ear lasts? Maybe next time you can concentrate on it, I would appreciate that 🙂

    Posted by Andreas | April 8, 2009, 7:17 pm
    • Hi,

      this happens when you go “under” the tunnel with the Eurostar train. The average depth of the Eurotunnel is 40m below sea level, which is not much. The effect is very similar to when you enter a normal tunnel on a high-speed train. If you have already travelled on a high-speed train and went through tunnels you should know what I mean. It’s certainly less than flying.

      Next week I will try to observe more in details.

      Posted by eurostarclient | April 9, 2009, 10:00 am
  2. I just went on the Eurostar a few days ago, and the effect was so odd for me that I looked it up online and got directed here. As the train went through above ground tunnels, the pressure in my ears got really high, which I’ve observed on other high speed trains. But under the Channel Tunnel, my head felt really heavy and I got (what I thought was) strangely sleepy–I slept well the night before, wasn’t tired before or after, and felt better about a minute before we were above ground again. It was very weird and definitely unique compared to other trains or even flying.

    Posted by Lisa | October 15, 2010, 8:29 pm
  3. Traveling to England in June then going to Paris by Eurostar my hubby has a perforated ear and is very concerned about traveling on the train,does anyone suffer from the same condition and traveled on the train,I would really appreciate any comment

    Posted by Kymberly | January 27, 2013, 12:26 pm
  4. I appreciate your comment Kymberly.
    I read myself in it… Now thinking about it, I did not have too much of an issue with the tunnel itself though… I got drowsy as well. Back then, I blamed it on the darkness… But still… The channel tunnel was bearable… However, I did have a serious issue with some of the small tunnels on land. Especially on the UK side. I had serious ear pain as my ears kept on popping. but really – popping! it sometimes felt as if my head is simply going to explode and none of the remediations like chewing or swallowing worked… That was probably my first, and my last trip that i’ve done with the Eurostar.
    I live in Belgium. It takes me 30+ minutes to hit the Brussels South train station and another 15 minutes to finally get to the train itself after having gone through the Schengen-enforced security checks in that trainstation.
    Compared to 10 minutes to hit the Brussels Int’l Airport – which I only have to hit 30 minutes prior to boarding. Security is another 10 minutes. And I feel happier wasting my time at an airport instead of some possibly dodgy train station; and arriving without being scared that Ï have damaged my precious ears! (all that counts for both ways)
    And again… St Pancras is NOT the London City Centre.
    Summary: IF YOU CAN TAKE A PLANE TO HEATHROW, THEN FLY!

    Posted by Alex | February 24, 2013, 11:26 pm

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