Four passenger trains broke down in the Channel Tunnel between France and Britain, stranding more than 2,000 passengers for hours on Saturday, many without heating, light or water.

Eurostar executives suspended service, blaming the breakdowns in the trains from Paris on wintry weather conditions on the French side of the English Channel.

Fatigued passengers arrived in London 10 hours late after a long night trapped on trains, where they said some people suffered panic attacks because of lack of air in dark, unheated cars short of water and supplies.

Embarrassed Eurostar executives apologised for the breakdowns and confusion.

They blamed the breakdowns on extremely low temperatures and heavy snow in northern France, which he called the worst in eight years. The problem began because of the abrupt temperature change when trains travelled through extremely cold air in France and then entered the warm tunnel, he said.

Eurostar officials said all the passengers were safe and had been removed from the tunnel.

Two of the broken trains were pushed to London by smaller diesel trains. Television footage showed the modern, bullet-shaped Eurostar trains travelling slowly along high-speed lines as they were pushed by diesels.

Eurostar officials warned that service for the rest of the busy holiday weekend would be “severely disrupted” due to extreme weather conditions.

The company provides train service linking London to Paris and Brussels. It is usually thronged with holiday travellers this time of year.

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