We were booked to travel on the Chunnel from Calais to Folkestone yesterday evening, schedule departure around 8.30pm. We actually arrived 4 hours early, since we’d had good weather and the usual traffic jams around Antwerp hadn’t been as bad as usual. So we were looking forward to getting an early crossing and arriving home at a civilised hour.
The first intimation of a problem came when we passed queues of cars bound for the ferry port but stacked onto the motorway. A lorry had apparently had an accident and blocked the main route, so all traffic was being diverted via the town. We felt glad that we’d chosen the tunnel and not the ferry.
Our joy was short-lived. The queue for the Eurotunnel terminal was very nearly back to the autoroute when we joined it. LeShuttle were Tweeting and updating their travel info to tell us that there had been a technical problem that was now resolved.
That was a bore, but at least we had plenty of time in hand. I remarked to Jean that it looked like a bit of a coincidence that both the ferry and chunnel were delayed, and wondered whether there had been a terrorist threat. But the updates all looked genuine, so we just put it down to chance.
I won’t bore you with the appalling experience that we went through, but it took 10 hours from joining the queue to our shuttle actually starting to move, just before 2am local time.
During that time we had nothing to eat and drink, and decreasingly frequent information updates. It was a nightmare. I’m afraid that I took my frustration out during the long wait by writing angry emails and posting abusive Tweets. I could not believe how an apparently minor technical problem could cause a 10 hour delay, other than sheer incompetence and bloody-mindedness. I now regret my words.
News is just leaking out today that there had been a violent attack on the port by migrants, which had to be contained by French police with batons and tear gas.
Not just a terrorist threat, but terrorist action.
And I’m left wondering today, why were we not told the truth? And who demanded and authorised its suppression?