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On 14 March 1986, Eurotunnel Group was awarded the public service concession for the cross-channel fixed rail link between Calais (France) and Folkestone (UK) by both countries until 2086.

A fixed link for crossing the Channel in 35 minutes

A Eurostar passenger train at the Tunnel entrance.

A Eurostar passenger train at the Tunnel entrance.

A major European transport operator

A leading road-rail link open to rail freight operators and passenger services, the cross-Channel fixed link is one of the world’s busiest rail links transporting 300 to 400 convoys a day (i.e. approximately one every 4 minutes).  The tunnel manages 3 different types of rail services:

  • Passenger Shuttles that ferry cars, buses, motorbikes, camper vans and their passengers between Folkestone and Calais-Coquelles in 35 minutes,
  • HSR operations between London and Paris or Brussels.  Eurostar trains transport 10 million passengers a year.  The Deutsche Bahn is due to launch its own service shortly.
  • International freight rail operations and in particular Europorte Channel, the Europorte subsidiary and Eurotunnel “freight” operation.

An infrastructure operator in action

Eurotunnel oversees:

  • Delivery of optimum safety conditions for passenger and freight users
  • Maintenance of fixed terminal equipment and tunnel galleries
  • Management of rail and road traffic to keep traffic flowing
  • Delivery of punctual, high quality services and high performance infrastructures so that passengers enjoy excellent travel conditions (access to Wi-Fi, etc.)

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A high speed link

With Eurotunnel, the journey time between London and Paris is 2h 15 mins, including 35 minutes spent in the tunnel.


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Inauguration:

May 1994


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One of the world’s busiest rail links

  • Approx. 360 million passengers since 1994
  • Over 20 million passengers in total a year (Shuttles & Eurostar trains)
  • 2.6 million passenger vehicles and 1.4 heavy goods vehicles a year, the world’s leading road-rail link
  • Over 300 million tons of goods since 1994
  • 99.8% infrastructure availability, outside scheduled maintenance operations

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The longest undersea tunnel in the world, measuring 50 km

3 tunnels bored 100 m below sea level; 720,000 precast concrete tunnel lining segments, each one measuring 5 m and weighing up to 8 tons.

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Employment:

12,000 engineers, technicians and skilled construction workers were employed on the construction site.


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Investments

  • A total investment of €15 billion (2011 value), entirely financed by the private sector
  • Eurotunnel Group is a private Franco-British listed company that trades on the NYSE Euronext in Paris and London.  It is owned by 280,000 private shareholders and investment funds.

The leader in eco-responsible transport

Eurotunnel’s wind farm at Coquelles generates 2.4MW of electricity, i.e. enough to power 2,000 homes for a year (excluding heating).

Eurotunnel’s wind farm at Coquelles generates 2.4MW of electricity, i.e. enough to power 2,000 homes for a year (excluding heating).

Eurotunnel’s on-going efforts to reduce the impact of its operations on the environment have won several international awards. The Group has introduced a number of initiatives, including:

  • Construction of a wind farm at Coquelles (France)
  • Running Shuttles in economy mode and optimising freight loads
  • Improving air flows in tunnels
  • Equipping works trains with hybrid engines

The Founding Document for the cross-Channel fixed link: the Treaty of Canterbury

Founding document for the cross-Channel Fixed Link, the Treaty of Canterbury between the United Kingdom and France was signed in Canterbury cathedral on 12 February 1986 and ratified on 29 July 1987. It authorised the construction and operation of the cross-Channel Fixed Link, in the form of a concession without any public financing or guarantees.  In exchange for covering the construction costs, the French and British governments granted Eurotunnel a concession to operate the link, firstly for a duration of 55 years, which was extended in 1994 for a further 10-year period and again in 1999 until 2086.