Image copyright Stewart J Brownrigg
Image caption Stewart Brownrigg said on Twitter “at least the dogs and kids are getting cooled down”

“Unprecedented” high temperatures have been blamed for delays to cross-Channel rail services leaving customers waiting for more than five hours in 29C heat.

Air conditioning problems meant some carriages could not be used, which led to the delays, Eurotunnel said.

People voicing their frustration online tweeted pictures of the queues and children and pets getting hosed down.

Eurotunnel said there were queues on the UK side because of the sheer numbers of France-bound passengers.

Latest updates from Eurotunnel said passengers faced a pre-check-in wait of 90 minutes and a further four-hour wait after that.

Temperatures in east Kent are currently at 29C, according to BBC weather forecaster. One driver said they had recorded 44.1C in a car.

Image copyright Stewart J Brownrigg
Image caption The scene was described on social media as “boarding chaos”

Just before 10:00 BST, Eurotunnel tweeted: “Due to the unprecedented temperatures and level of traffic booked today, customers arriving early [more than 2 hours before booked travel time] will not be able to check in.”

However, as delays grew, customers took to social media with Ian W advising people on Twitter to “get the ferry”.

Stewart Brownrigg, who tweeted pictures of the queues and children and pets getting hosed down, said: “Kudos to the #eurotunnel staff for keeping their cool while everyone else around was losing theirs! My anger is with the company, the staff here have been doing their best in the baking heat.”

Dickie Whitaker tweeted: “Delays on @LeShuttle not great in this heat but some managers came out to help and were cheerful which is appreciated.”

Image copyright @Hampton
Image caption People have been delayed for more than three hours

People waiting in the Folkestone boarding lanes have been told to collect bottles of water from a refrigerated van.

Others still waiting to check-in have been urged to carry plenty of drinking water and take a comfort break beforehand.

Eurotunnel carries passengers in cars, vans and other vehicles through the tunnel.

Eurostar, which runs foot passenger services between London and several European cities, said its services had not been affected.

Image copyright @Hampton
Image caption One driver waiting to leave Folkestone recorded a temperature of 44.1C in their car

Eurotunnel tweeted that those travelling with pets were welcome to take them into the passenger terminal lounge and also the toilet area.

A spokesman for the rail operator told the BBC: “We are experiencing problems due to the heat, which means some carriages are unavailable.”

He added: “If we think that the air conditioning is not sufficient for a good client experience then we propose not using these carriages.

“This means we are running shuttles with reduced capacity which is why there’s some delays.”

Image copyright Tiffany Howarth
Image caption Tiffany Howarth had been booked on the 11:50 train and said she had faced a two-and-a-half-hour wait

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