Large queues straddled the Kings Cross terminal in London on Wednesday, but the situation in Paris was less fraught, with train places available for everybody wishing to travel, a Eurostar spokeswoman said.

Fluffy snow

The normally high-speed Channel Tunnel service was brought shuddering to a halt on Friday by what a British spokesman called a fall of "fluffier" than expected snow, amid widespread chaos across the rest of the transport network.

Freezing temperatures are continuing to affect mainland Europe, with road accidents reported in Italy, although most airports have resumed operations after days of cancellations and closures.

Several major roads were closed in southern England after rain fell on already frozen surfaces, but main airports around London said they were open and operating with only a few delays and cancellations.

Meanwhile heavy rains closed motorways in southern Spain and Portugal, where power lines were also cut by heavy winds overnight.

Wind and rain has also caused flooding in Venice, Italy, with 56 per cent of the city affected by high water levels.