Direct land link to France for the smoothest trip of a lifetime
Tune into Channel Travel Radio on 107.6 FM for up to date information on the short channel crossings.Or Autoroute FM in France on 107.7 FM


In 1998 Eurostar carried 6.3 million passengers. (6 million in 1997)

The EuroStar trains are jointly owned by the Belgian, British and French Railways. They are not, as is often thought, owned or run by Eurotunnel. They pay 'tolls' for the use of the tunnel and have the right to fifty percent of the capacity of the tunnel. They have to be able to run on three different voltages, 750 volts by third rail in Britain, 3000 volts, by catenary, in Belguim and 25000 volts also by catenary, in the tunnel and on the French railway system. The train trundles through Southern England at a massive 60 mph/96 kph, in the tunnel it travels up to 100 mph/160 kph and in France it travels up to 187.5 mph/300 kph. The train sets also had to be scaled down to fit on the outmoded British railway system. This lack of support also means that the journey takes three hours instead of two an a half hours. (To Paris) The Belgium fast link has now been completed, reducing the time to Brussels by 30 minutes.

More Eurostar informationTechnical Details

Freight train arriving in France
Freight Train

Hauling an empty car transporter train, having delivered a load of new cars to the UK. (Fuzzy picture caused by chain link fencing)
Note: The tunnel at 1 o-clock is the service tunnel. Most of the distance it lies between the two running tunnels. The Freight trains using the tunnel, enables direct shipment throughout the European rail network. This leads to less damage and pilfering of goods. It is also much quicker than road transport. I have read recently that times can be as low as 36 hours from Italy as opposed to seven days or so by sea. The traction units are owned by the different railway companies.

More Freight informationLocos

Le Shuttle arriving in France
Heavy Goods Vehicle Shuttle
Onboard there is a choice of two radio stations. One in English on 99.8FM and in French on 95.6FM. Le Shuttle is owned and run by Euro Tunnel. As it's name implies it 'shuttles' back and forth from Cheriton near Folkestone, UK to Cocquelles near Calais, France. The shuttles are comprised of two rakes, a rake being a traction unit, two loading and unloading wagons and 12 passenger vehicle wagons or 14 HGV wagons. A complete train consists of two rakes. The HGV wagons are open framework and the drivers are bussed to a passenger carriage at the front of the train. Where they can have a meal during the journey which counts as the statutory break required by law. A full load would be 28 HGV's (32 HGV's in the New shuttles)
The 'passenger' shuttles comprise of two different sections, one double decked for cars and the other single decked for coaches, caravans and other vehicles over 1.83 metres high. A full load could be 120 cars and 12 coaches. The passenger vehicle wagons are all pressurised and fully air conditioned with toilets in every third wagon.
As they are so large they cannot leave the shuttle system. (Loading gauge) They are also very long and each complete train is 750 metres. The traction units have to be able to continue and start on a one in ninety gradient independently should one of them fail.
If both locomotives fail, the next train must be able to push it out of the tunnel.
In the event of a complete electrical failure there are diesel/electric powered engines which are capable of pulling or pushing a complete shuttle out of the tunnel.

16 more freight wagons were delivered in 1997, this has partly compensated for the lost of the freight shuttle in the 1996 fire.

A new freight shuttle came into service on 11 January 1999, it can carry 32 lorries as opposed to the original 28. Another started in April whilst the third will commission about September. The new wagons will cost 60% less than the originals and will have lower maintenance requirements.

In 1998 3,447,672 tourist vehicles were carried through the tunnel

It has been written in the press that the tunnel will largely have a monopoly on the short channel crossing in the not too distant future. It is also in the concession that Euro Tunnel looks into the feasibility of another tunnel sometime in the future. This report has been published and shows two ideas, one for a road tunnel of two lanes going in one direction and another above of two lanes in the opposite direction. This would be for cars and they would be spaced well apart on the journey through the tunnel. The other concept would be similar but for trains.

More Information on EurotunnelPassenger Shuttle

Things you did'nt know you did'nt know.....Question and Answer

Sundry information.....Other means of transport

Back to my  oOo index page
Top of page