Eurostar vows action as rocker Doherty caught up in new delay
The British rocker was forced to cancel a solo acoustic gig as the train he was onboard arrived five hours late in Paris.9 June 2008
PARIS - The head of Eurostar promised swift action Friday after a high-speed cross-Channel train carrying British rocker Pete Doherty limped into Paris almost five hours late.
The controversial Babyshambles artist - among some 500 unlucky passengers on the London to Paris service - was forced to cancel a solo acoustic gig in Paris to the disappointment of some 2,000 fans.
Six weeks after a Eurostar train notched up a record nine-hour delay on a
London-Paris trip, it took travellers on a 6:00 pm (1700 GMT) service from the British capital seven hours to reach Paris Thursday night, instead of the scheduled two hours 15 minutes.
After chugging at reduced speed through the French countryside for several hours - half of the train in the dark and with no staff information, a passenger said - the 500 travellers were finally made to switch change trains at Fresnoy in northern France, pulling into Paris at 2:15 am (0015 GMT). Eurostar said the problem was caused by an electrical failure in one of the train's batteries.
Furious passengers were offered taxi rides and hotel rooms upon arriving in Paris, and promised a refund and a free return ticket by way of compensation.
Eurostar chairman Guillaume Pepy said he was "extremely unhappy about this new incident," according to a statement from French state rail operator SNCF.
Pepy said he had asked Euro star’s managing director Nicolas Petro Vic to "immediately take all practical steps to avoid customers suffering such inconvenience again."
On the night of April 18, a computer breakdown left 640 travellers stuck for more than 12 maddening hours on two trains after switching at Lille in northern France, setting an embarrassing record for the flagship service.
[AFP / Expatica]
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