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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Eurostar Update and Apology from CEO



Dear partners,

I am writing to give you an update on the disruptions Eurostar experienced last week. First of all, I would like to offer my most heartfelt apology to all of our customers and any of your travellers who were inconvenienced as a result of events last week.

I fully appreciate that this situation, particularly for those travellers involved in Friday and Saturday’s train failures, was very difficult and I would like to assure you that I will do everything in my power to ensure that this kind of incident will not happen again.

Thankfully we managed to get all passengers who needed to travel for Christmas to their destinations and our service has now returned to normal.

Although you may have seen many reports in the media about the problems we experienced I would like to explain exactly what happened in this unprecedented event.

As I am sure you have heard by now, this situation was caused primarily by the extremely cold weather in Northern France and the amount of snow and ice that our trains gathered running along the high speed line. Some of this snow penetrated into the power cars. Once in the tunnel, where the temperature is much warmer, this snow melted and the resulting water and condensation caused a number of electrical systems to fail.

We have of course experienced cold weather in previous years and have an extensive winterisation programme that was fully applied to our fleet again this year. This did not however prove sufficient to protect our trains on this occasion.

We have had isolated incidents in the tunnel before but it is unprecedented to have five trains full of passengers all break down at the same time, and it was this that caused the emergency recovery procedures to breakdown.

As you may have heard, our Board has launched an Independent Review into exactly what occurred, so that we can learn from the mistakes and ensure that we never subject our customers to this kind of disruption in the future. The panel leading this Review want to understand traveller experiences in detail and would like to invite any passengers involved to send their accounts to: independent.review@eurostar.com

As soon as we have the results from this review and the recommendations that are made, we will share them with you.

We have started with rigour our own internal inquiry and subsequent improvement plan to ensure that with immediate effect we are taking measures to ensure any future disruption is handled in the way that you would expect.

Should you have any further questions or need assistance please do not hesitate to contact your Regional Manager.

I would like to take this opportunity to also thank you for your continued support and wish you all the best over the festive period and for the coming year.

Yours sincerely,

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Richard Brown
Chief Executive Officer

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