Eurostar resumes London-Paris train service after closure

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Eurostar's London to Paris high-speed train service resumed Friday after an overnight shutdown of a tunnel in Britain, the company said.

Traffic on the line was "very smooth" following the reopening of the track, a spokeswoman for Eurostar said.

"The first Paris to London train at 6:43 am (0433 GMT) departed without a hitch as did the 7:13 am train," she said.

The shutdown occurred late Thursday after smoke was spotted in a tunnel under the River Thames in London, which forms part of the route linking the two European capitals.

Rail operator Network Rail took the decision to close the tunnel at 1730 GMT and investigators gave the all-clear at 2000 GMT. But Eurostar decided it was too late to resume services at that time.

Eurostar said 1,500 passengers were affected as trains already en route during the shutdown were disrupted and the departure of three trains was cancelled.

In December, Eurostar came in for fierce criticism after five trains carrying more than 2,000 passengers broke down in the Channel Tunnel in the busy pre-Christmas period in freezing weather.

An independent probe into the incident in February condemned the operator for failing to prepare sufficiently for the winter conditions.

© 2010 AFP

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