Now that people start getting back home after the Eurostar tunnel failures on Dec 19th and Dec 20th, first hand witness content starts flowing out. (by first hand I mean not edited or reported by media).
Here are a few snippets and links to what we could find today around the web, providing more glimpses on the emergency procedure and communication during the crisis:
Ms MarmiteLover’s sister was inside one of the stranded Eurostar trains:
None of the staff have any basic medical training or are designated as such. A pregnant woman fainted. Passengers were asked if they were medics. A paramedic who volunteered, went to her aid but noticed that although the staff surrounded her – not one of them had thought to bring the medical kit. THEY HAVE NO TRAINING TO COPE WITH INCIDENTS. I found the young staff as polite as they could be in this ordeal but they didn’t know what to do.
She also raises worrying questions about overall security in case of emergency:
The power failure meant that we were trapped in the train and the electric doors were sealed shut. No manual override. Staff did not appear to have emergency torches.
Major Tom’s blog is overdramatic for my taste, but tells the story of a family with kids suffering from diabetes.
Ben is diabetic and it was like a sauna inside the carriage. We couldnt breathe and I was trying to get someone to refrigerate the insulin for Ben. A French doctor finally came round to see him because he was looking so poorly we were getting desperate to get some food in him.
Martin Russ gives the point of view of a relative waiting outside for news:
And so it went on. Sky News man had best info via Twitter, web-sites zero, TV news gradually catching on to a major story so that at 3 am they had a Eurostar ‘spokesperson’ on who blamed the cold weather, said that there had been ‘no causalties’ … ‘at the moment’ and generally did very little to reassure worried/frantic parents/relatives.
Eurodeputy Dominique Baudis, former mayor of Toulouse was inside on of the trapped Eurostar trains (in French – this is from a 3rd party):
The chain of events is absurd, Eurostar inertia is a scandal. As a European representative I will ask for an investigation to the Transport Commission at the European Parliament.
Not much on video so far, but I’ve found these:
- This one is overdoing it but it’s showing pictures from inside the car shuttle train used to evacuate people.
- Passengers stranded at London St Pancras.
- AFPTV shows unedited testimonials.
Eurostar official voices providing updates
In the meanwhile, Eurostar’s social marketing campaing blog is providing up to date information.
- Their alerts can be followed on Twitter @little_break for Eurostar UK and @creamoflondon for Eurostar Brussels.
- Updates are also coming from Eurostar Facebook pages: Eurostar (in English) and Eurostar FR (in French).
- In all cases the Eurostar web site remains the central Questions and Answers repository.
Stuck in London because Eurostar is too stingy! The problem of the trains, thou unforseeable, Eurostar has been caught in this quagmire one too many times. They should have had a plan B for this kind of weather phenomenon.
Eurostar are too stingy to lease some diesel wagons off the likes of first great western or other train companies. No modifications necessary moreover, most of the local companies are not running full capacity due to the holidays or even no services on x-mas day.
So eurostar don’t want to fork out extra money to lease some diesel trains, and prefer to refund £150 for tickets. They know there are no competitiors, and unlike BA customers, they will keep coming back. It’s business, nothing personal no matter what the CEO says on TV…
Re:Eurostar train failures
This problem of snow build up under vehicles is well known to the Volvo lorry makers; a recent TV program showed how as much as 7 tonnes of snow can accumulate under a lorry in particular conditions. The designers ought to have been aware of this.
B. A. Horstmann, MInstMC, MIET