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    First Winter Cold Snap of the Season Grips Europe

    Below freezing temperatures combined with compacting snow has meant traffic chaos for drivers in Germany, Poland and elsewhere.

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    Tom Rivers

    Blizzard conditions have descended upon a wide section of Europe.  While snow has brought smiles to the faces of children who have dusted off their sleds for the new season, for others, this cold snap just days before the Christmas break, has brought frustration.

    Below freezing temperatures combined with compacting snow has meant traffic chaos for drivers in Germany, Poland and elsewhere.

    It has also disrupted air travel with many flights in Europe either delayed or cancelled.

    The bad weather has also created travel problems at sea. The French port of Calais was closed on Saturday and that caused a huge backup of vehicles around the English port of Dover where ferry services were hit.

    The normally reliable fast train link connecting London and Paris also has ground to a halt.

    After six Eurostar trains broke down in or near the tunnel that runs under the English Channel, the system has been suspended while engineers troubleshoot the electrical problems thought to have been brought on by condensation.

    With the trains not moving, thousands of passengers are stuck where they are.

    On Sunday, Eurostar did promise to offer those who have suffered long delays or cancellations a full refund and compensation.

    But given the fact that this current weather system is forecast to be around for a few more days, the trouble brought on by the snow and wind will be felt well into the new week.

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