Thalys traffic is gradually returning to normal after third serious incident in a few days

The traffic of Thalys trains between the Brussels-Midi and Paris-Nord stations, which was interrupted on Friday after the collision with an animal near Tournai, is gradually returning to normal, a spokeswoman of the railway company said on Saturday afternoon.

A Thalys train linking Brussels-Midi station to Paris-Nord station was blocked near Tournai for part of the afternoon and evening of Friday due to a technical problem after hitting an animal. Electricity had to be cut for safety reasons after a release of smoke from the engine. The passengers were evacuated by bus in the evening after spending hours on a hot train without air conditioning. The power cut also had an impact on other Thalys trains, which had to be stopped as well. Traffic was finally able to resume on the line only shortly before 21:30.

If the travellers who were blocked on the journey were indeed brought to Paris-Nord, the railway company however had to cancel six trains departing from Brussels-Midi and six others from Paris. As a result, customers who remained in Brussels, like those stranded in Paris, had the choice between staying at a hotel, going home if they lived nearby or waiting on several Thalys trains in order to have a safe and quiet place where to sleep. Between 700 and 800 people had chosen this last option in Brussels.

Saturday morning, many people were still in the station, but the situation is gradually recovering, the trains being able to reach their destination, said a spokeswoman for Thalys. “We are working to restore a normal situation. There are still delays, but it is going in the right direction,” she concluded.

On Saturday evening, the trains are still between 5 and 30 minutes late. “These delays are due to the fact that we double certain trains – when it is possible at the logistical level – to add capacity for carrying stranded passengers”, explains the spokesperson.

Heavily delayed people were promised reimbursement of their tickets and hotel costs.

 

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