Eurostar services to Brussels will remain suspended until at least Sunday 21st February, following a fatal train crash in Belgium earlier this week.
As many as 20 people are feared dead following the rush hour crash on Monday, with some 55 passengers also seriously injured.
Efforts to remove the wreckage, which had been scheduled to be begin yesterday, are now expected to start today. The delay follows a decision by rescuers to continue the search for a missing passenger.
Heavy lifting equipment is now in place, ready to begin removing the damaged carriages from the track later today.
However, the delays have further postponed the resumption of Eurostar services.
“The emergency services and the investigation team are still on the site of the accident and are expected to remain so for the coming days,” explained Eurostar in a statement.
“As a result, no train services, including Eurostar, Thalys, TGV and domestic services, are able to run in the immediate area of the accident.”
Eurostar is also operating a reduced timetable between its UK stations and Lille.
Passengers between the UK and Brussels are strongly advised to postpone or cancel their journeys. Exchanges or refunds are being offered for tickets.
Following the crash - near the town of Halle, 15 kilometres south-west of Brussels – Belgian train drivers went on strike, arguing poor working conditions may have contributed to the accident.
The line on which the trains collided is fitted with a security system, designed to halt trains automatically at a stop signal. However, one of the trains involved in the crash was not equipped with this system, according to Marc Descheemaecker, chief executive of the SNCB national rail service.
The present suspension of services follows criticism of Eurostar last week, with an independent report stating delays over the Christmas period had been caused by inadequate preparation.
Eurostar was forced to cancel all services for three days, following a breakdown in the tunnel on December 18th.
Some 2,500 passengers were thought to have been trapped in the Channel Tunnel for up to five hours.