Eurostar passengers wait for hours in bitter London cold

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Hundreds of frustrated passengers had to queue for hours in freezing temperatures outside the London terminal of the cross-Channel Eurostar train service on Monday.

With services suffering delays of up to five hours because of snow and ice, passengers were made to queue outside the St Pancras station as the terminal was choked with people waiting to catch trains to Paris, Brussels and Lille.

As darkness fell, the queue snaked around two sides of the imposing Gothic building -- and many people, desperate to get home for the Christmas holidays, were waiting in line for a second day.

"We started queuing yesterday, we were here until 7 o'clock and then... we took a hotel and now we have been waiting for an hour already today," Anne-Sophie Prevost, a 24-year-old bank worker from France, told AFP.

Eurostar said it was not selling any more tickets up to and including December 24, Christmas Eve, and urged people without tickets not to come to St Pancras.

As she waited, Peggy Van Lany, 40, said passengers were desperately hanging on because of a lack of information about their prospects of travelling.

"There just seems to be an awful lack of information as to how many people actually will be able to get on a train today, how many trains there are running," she said.

A bitter cold snap caused severe disruption Monday at British airports and across the rail network.

Passengers at London's Heathrow airport were bedding down for a second or third night after hundreds of flights were cancelled because planes could not be released from snow and ice at their parking positions.

© 2010 AFP

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