Railway network

Eurotunnel manages the Channel Tunnel and handles the safe and efficient circulation of the various trains which run through the Tunnel infrastructure, including those of the Railway Network such as the high-speed Passenger trains (Eurostar) and therail freight trains from the railway operators.

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High-speed passenger trains


Eurostar, a subsidiary of the SNCF (French national railways) transports passengers on its high-speed trains on a daily basis between London and Paris, London and Brussels, London and Amsterdam and towars Disneyland Paris. It also runs seasonal trains via Lyon to Avignon and Marseille as well as Bourg-Saint-Maurice.

  • 10.3 million Eurostar passengers travelled through the Channel Tunnel in 2017, 3% more than the previous year

To take advantage of the promising opportunities emerging in Europe, Eurostar continues to improve its offer, with the introduction of new power distributed e320 trains which can take up to 900 passengers (a 20% increase compared to the previous trains) and bring more comfort and free Wi-Fi. The way customers are welcomed is also improving, with the opening of the 160-seat Business premier lounge at the Gare du Nord in Paris and the renovation of the Brussels Midi terminal.

On 4 April 2018, Eurostar has launched a new direct service from London to Amsterdam. Journey times of 3h41 (London –Amsterdam) and 3h01 (London-Rotterdam) make this opening a historic milestone for cross-Channel travel, with a significant potential of passengers as 4 million people travel by air each year between these European capital.

Rail freight trains

Rail freight trains

Rail freight trains from the railway operators are offering their own advantages in terms of efficiency and attractiveness compared to other modes of maritime and air transport, allowing to cross the Channel without load transfer. It is a particularly environmentally-friendly mode of transport which offers a quality of service no linked to weather conditions or uncertainties on road networks.

In 2017, the traffic of Cross-Channel rail freight saw a significant increase both in the number of trains (+12%) and in the tonnage transported (+17%). The sustained and growing demand highlights the potential of this very economical mode of transport in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

The new Silk Road goes through the Tunnel

In January 2017, for the first time since the opening of the Tunnel, a train has completed a 12,000km journey through 10 countries between Shanghai and London, via the Channel Tunnel. This intermodal test went perfectly, paving the way for regular services in the near future between China and the United Kingdom, thanks to the development of efficient customs solutions, thus making the Channel Tunnel a link in the trade flows of the new Silk Road. This mode of transport cuts the transit time of container-held goods by half compared to maritime transportation and is 80% cheaper than air freight.

Third full train scanner

Eurotunnel aim to develop rail freight in Europe through the introduction of the third full train scanner, scanner, which can inspect up to thirty 750m-long freight trains per day, without stopping, at a maximum speed of 20 km/h on the Frethun’s yard. This innovative equipment will strengthen the safety and fluidity of cross-Channel rail freight traffic, increasing the attractiveness of this mode of transport enabling the Channel to be crossed, without load transfer, from continental Europe or Asia (+ info:freight trains scanner video).

The new Silk Road goes through the Tunnel
full train scanner

To know more on the rail freight business, please read the 2017 Annual review of the Group.