The Eurotunnel

The shuttle car train service between France and the UK

Eurotunnel (formerly Le Shuttle) operates a shuttle car train service between Coquelles (near Calais) and Folkestone via the Channel Tunnel. Owing billions of euros, it was officially declared bankrupt in August 2006 but maintains that its service will be unaffected.

There are three trains per hour during peak periods, and the crossing takes just 35 minutes. Each train can carry around 180 cars. Fares are generally higher than those offered by the ferry operators, e.g. a peak (summer) club class return costs around €600 and an off-peak (January to March) return around €280 for a vehicle and all passengers.

It’s wise to book, and you shouldn’t expect to get a place in summer on spec, particularly on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Trains carry all types of vehicle, including cycles, motorcycles, cars, trucks, buses, caravans and motor-homes, although you pay more for vehicles over 1.85m (6ft 1in) high. Note also that caravans and motorhomes must have their gas supplies disconnected and gas bottles must be shut off (gas bottles are routinely inspected, so make sure they’re accessible).

Eurotunnel is constantly changing its incentives for regular users. It currently offers Frequent Traveller Fares, which allows you to book ten single crossings (at certain times) for £39/€55 each over the course of a year. For general information call 0870-538 8388 or 0800-096 9992 in the UK or 03 21 00 61 00 in France or visit the Eurotunnel website (www.eurotunnel.com ).

This article is an extract from Living and working in France. Click here to get a copy now.

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