Eurotunnel, the historic brand

Eurotunnel, the historic brand

Learn about the history of Eurotunnel and LeShuttle, the new brand identity for Eurotunnel shuttle services, delivering low-carbon, fast passenger transport between the UK and France.

The history of Eurotunnel

Over 200 years in the making, the Channel Tunnel is an incredible feat of engineering, the longest undersea tunnel in the world at the time it was built. It is a beacon of heritage and a source of pride for the UK and France alike. Helping people from the UK to drive to France, and holidaymakers take their car from Calais to Folkestone, the tunnel is the most sustainable form of cross channel transport.

The Channel Tunnel was one of the largest engineering projects ever undertaken in the UK. Work officially began in 1987, involving over 13,000 engineers, technicians and construction workers. Digging took place on either side of the Channel, and the two tunnels met in December 1990, a historic moment that saw the mainland of Europe joined with the UK for the first time since the Stone Age.  

It took a further three years for the Channel Tunnel to be completed, and in 1994 the tunnel was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II and Fran├žois Mitterrand, the President of France. 

Is Eurotunnel the same as LeShuttle?

Eurotunnel is the Channel Tunnel infrastructure that LeShuttle car trains run through. Eurotunnel consists of three interconnected tunnels that travel under the seabed between the UK and France. There are two rail tunnels and a service tunnel. LeShuttle, formerly known as Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, is the brand for the shuttle service between Folkestone and Calais, and is part of Getlink, the company that owns and manages the Channel Tunnel. 

The rail tunnels provide a cross-channel service for LeShuttle passengers travelling in their own vehicle - car, van, motorhome or campervan, motorcycle or on bicycle. LeShuttle also offers a freight service (HGV), as well as providing the infrastructure that is used by Getlink's other customers, such as Eurostar and rail freight services.

Eurotunnel Le Shuttle changed its name in 2023 to LeShuttle.

Since its conception, Eurotunnel has been designed with low-carbon and the environment in mind.
  • Environmentally-friendly
    Eurotunnel has chosen 100% electric rail traction since the opening of the Channel Tunnel.
  • A pioneer in low-carbon mobility
    More than 50% of renewable energy is used in the Getlink group’s electricity consumption.
  • Sustainable
    The Getlink group prevents the emission of 1.4 million tons of CO2e per year (about 350,000t CO2e per year saved for LeShuttle passengers).
  • Biodiversity preservation
    The limestone marl from tunnel excavations during construction of the Channel Tunnel was used to create a nature reserve, Samphire Hoe, which also has extended the size of England by 30 hectares.  
  • 73 times lower emissions than ferries
    For LeShuttle customers, crossing the Channel by car emits 73 times less CO2 than a Dover-Calais ferry crossing.

Eurotunnel FAQs

When did Eurotunnel open?
The Eurotunnel service was officially opened on 6th May 1994, by HM Queen Elizabeth II and Fran├žois Mitterrand, the President of France. Freight and passenger services started operating later in 1994. 
How long does the Eurotunnel take?
You can cross the channel in just 35 minutes on LeShuttle, travelling in your car on our trains between Folkestone and Calais. 
Can you drive through the Eurotunnel?
No, you can't drive through the Eurotunnel. To take your car to France or the UK using LeShuttle, vehicles are transported onto one of our shuttles. These are trains that accomodate a range of vehicles, including cars, vans, motorhomes, campervans and coaches. You drive your vehicle onto one of the train's carriages, park and the train travels through the Channel Tunnel. The journey takes 35 minutes and then you drive off the train, at either Folkestone or Calais, and resume your onward journey.  
How many people have used the Eurotunnel service?
LeShuttle transports more than two million vehicles and around ten million passengers every year.
Can you stay in your car on the Eurotunnel?
Yes, you park in one of the LeShuttle carriages. You can get out of your car during the 35 minute journey through the Channel Tunnel, to stretch your legs or use the toilet facilities, but passengers remain inside the carriage at all times, until the train reaches the terminal at Calais or Folkestone. 

LeShuttle is the fastest and most convenient way to drive to France

With up to 4 departures an hour, 24 hours a day, you can travel on your own terms with LeShuttle, formerly known as Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. 

  • Cross the channel in just 35 minutes 
  • One ticket covers up to 9 people
  • Take as much luggage as you can fit in your car boot!
  • Book early for the best value tickets
  • Pet-friendly travel - stay with your furry friends for the whole journey
  • Simple and efficient check-in
  • Tickets to suit every budget
  • Faster than a ferry, greener than a plane

From day trips to long weekends, summer holidays to road trips of a lifetime, start your next adventure with LeShuttle. 

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