The hero’s mother drove to Belgium in an incredible eight-hour round trip after being forced to travel more than 400 miles to rescue her daughter due to Eurostar cancellation.
Joanna Mitchell, 57, and her husband Graham Mitchell, 57, drove from Whitstable, Kent to Bruges after their daughter Jade, 34, was stranded due to a canceled cross-Channel train. did.
Teacher Jade and her husband Sam were looking forward to the Christmas holidays when they left their 18-month-old and five-year-old children with their parents for the first time, but four days later their dream turned into a nightmare. She couldn’t go home.
After learning of their train cancellation on social media, the couple quickly realized there was nowhere they could stay in the historic city for the night as they desperately looked for a way back to their young children.
Around 30,000 furious passengers were stranded in London as the main tunnel linking Britain to mainland Europe flooded, with Eurostar canceling all flights on Saturday.
Joanna, who runs a community care company, said:There really was no other choice. Otherwise, my daughter would have been left behind in Belgium.
Joanna Mitchell, 57, and husband Graham Mitchell, 57, (pictured together), left Whitstable, Kent, after their daughter Jade, 34, was stranded due to a canceled cross-Channel train. We drove to Bruges.
Teacher Jade and her husband Sam were looking forward to the Christmas holidays when they left their 18-month-old and five-year-old children with their parents for the first time, but four days later their dream turned into a nightmare.I couldn’t go home
Passengers gather at the Eurostar terminal at St Pancras International Station after all trains were cancelled.
“There was no guarantee that they would be able to go home tomorrow and there was nowhere to sleep or stay as everything in the city was fully booked on New Year’s Eve.
“On the phone, I just burst into tears because all she wanted was to go home to her children.
“Eurostar offered no alternatives. Trains were canceled and it was over. People have been saving up a lot of money to plan these trips during peak times, so their communication could be clearer. I feel it could have been better.
“For those who are abroad and are trying to return home, offer alternative solutions rather than just creating problems.”
In an update posted on its website, Eurostar said passengers can change their bookings free of charge or cancel them for a credit note or refund.
Joanna ended up paying just under £500 for tickets to cross the Channel to get her daughter and son-in-law home.
She and Graham left at 10:30 a.m. and arrived home exactly eight hours later, at 6:30 p.m.
Jade and Sam had left their children with Sam’s parents and thought it would be impossible to return home after being told by the hotel that they were full and could not extend their stay that night.
Her parents decided to head to Calais through the Eurotunnel before driving to Bruges, but only stopped to buy a Belgian beer on the way home.
Joanna continued: “This is the first time I’ve been away from my five-year-old and 18-month-old. The other grandparents were babysitting and she was very apprehensive about leaving them in the first place. .
Jade and Sam had left their children with Sam’s parents and thought it would be impossible to return home after being told by the hotel that they were full and could not extend their stay that night.Photo: Finally home in the back of Joanna’s car
However, even after adopting Jade and Sam, the Kents’ problems remained unresolved. In France, I had to wait an hour to pass passport control (pictured).
“We were like, ‘Give us a break.'” Every parent needs a break from their scary little kids.
“They had such a wonderful time and were looking forward to going home today.”
Joanna said of the big trip that she was happy to do it for her children.
She added: “They needed to go home.”
However, even after adopting Jade and Sam, the Kents’ problems remained unresolved. In France, I had to wait an hour to get through passport control.
And after a restless day, Sam now has his father leave the car and drive him to Ebbsfleet, so he won’t be fined for staying in the car park too long.
At the end of a stressful trip, Joanna said she was looking forward to a cold drink from the driveway to calm her nerves.
she joked. “The Italian ones are waiting in the fridge for about 30 minutes, so the Belgian ones have time to cool down!”
Joanna and Graham crossed the Channel on the Eurotunnel (pictured) before heading through France to Belgium
The line at immigration was very long and filled with other tourists trying to return home via a different route.
“Are we going to wait for the new year? Absolutely not! It’ll be gone within the next hour. We deserve that.”
“I told you, just remember that March is Mother’s Day!” She better take off the stop or I’ll bring her back!
“We’re sitting here thinking, ‘Yeah! Parents of the year!’ Or we were babysitting — I mean, these are the things we do to get out of babysitting.” That’s extreme! ”
Eurostar said in a statement late Saturday that flooding in the tunnel was back under control, but speed restrictions would be in place for trains running in the morning.
On Saturday, flooding brought international rail traffic between London and mainland Europe to a standstill, disrupting New Year’s travel for thousands of passengers. This became the second major headache for customers this holiday season.
This comes just a week after a surprise industrial strike by French workers on December 21 disrupted Christmas travel plans for thousands of people.
It was not immediately clear what caused the flooding in the railway tunnel under the River Thames near Ebbsfleet, east London.
Television footage showed water gushing out of one of the tunnels and covering the tracks, while hundreds of stranded passengers with suitcases sat waiting on the concourse at London’s St Pancras station. Ta.
Many who had hoped to spend a romantic evening in Paris, watch fireworks on a ski slope or enjoy a family trip to Disneyland in 2024 were left devastated and left in tears at the St Pancras International venue yesterday afternoon. Some people streamed it.