Under The Channel: We clear up the difference between Eurotunnel and Eurostar
Even though the Channel Tunnel linking the UK to mainland Europe has been open for 27 years, there still seems to be abundant confusion between the two popular train services that use it - Eurotunnel Le Shuttle and Eurostar. Not sure which is which, or how to choose between the two options? It really depends on where you want to go and how you want to travel. We clear up some myths…
Are Eurotunnel Le Shuttle & Eurostar the same company?
No - Eurostar uses Eurotunnel’s tunnel, and is one of their biggest customers. The Channel Tunnel is the longest undersea tunnel in the world at 38km long.
Where can I board?
Eurotunnel’s UK boarding point is in Folkestone, Kent.
Eurostar runs from three UK stations on the same line: St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International.
Where can I go?
The main Eurostar routes go to Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam, with some seasonal routes and connections across France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.
Eurotunnel Le Shuttle runs solely between Folkestone and Calais.
By foot or by vehicle?
Travelling on foot is great if you’re visiting a busy city for the weekend, but driving might be more suitable for a longer trip and allows for greater baggage allowances.
Eurostar trains are for foot passengers only, so are ideal if you don’t need or want a vehicle for your trip.
Eurotunnel Le Shuttle carries freight and all forms of vehicle, including cars, motorbikes, campervans, caravans, coaches and lorries. You cannot travel as a foot passenger on Eurotunnel, but you are able to take a bicycle.
Eurostar carriages are cleaned regularly, and some seats left free to allow for social distancing. Masks should be worn for the duration of the journey and in the stations.
Eurotunnel allows you to remain in the comfort of your vehicle at all times, so no contact with staff or other passengers. You are not required to wear a mask in your vehicle, unless travelling by motorcycle or a convertible car with the roof down.
Only assistance dogs are allowed on Eurostar trains.
Eurotunnel allows you to travel with a pet for an additional cost of £22 each way (assistance dogs are exempt), providing you have the necessary paperwork. You can also travel with your horse!
With so many new pet owners emerging from the pandemic, it’s not surprising to see that more than 25,000 pets have joined their families on Eurotunnel in August 2021 (one way).
Eurotunnel takes just 35 minutes between Folkestone and Calais.
Eurostar takes approximately 2.5 hours to reach Paris from London.
Eurotunnel runs up to 4 shuttle departures per hour during peak times.
Eurostar generally runs a service every 30 minutes during peak times, but is currently running a reduced service due to Covid restrictions.