How to go through the channel tunnel

Updated April 07, 2017

The Eurotunnel, more commonly called the Chunnel, is a 31-mile undersea railroad connecting England's southern shore to northern France. Travelling more than 200 feet below the English Channel on high-speed Eurostar trains or one of the vehicle transport trains is quick and easy. Since its inauguration in 1994, the Eurotunnel has transported millions of passengers and vehicles under the English Channel. Train passengers must use the Eurostar train to cross the Chunnel while vehicles use the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle.

Purchase Eurostar tickets for your planned itinerary. The Eurostar, a network of high-speed trains, connects London, Paris and Brussels. Stations connecting Eurostar stations are St. Pancras International in London, Gare du Nord International in Paris, Marne La Vallée in Disneyland Resort and Bruxelles Midi in Brussels. Passengers travelling to and from London will go via the Chunnel, while those travelling between Paris and Brussels will stay on mainland Europe. Tickets can be purchased in advance online or in-person at the train station. Connecting trains will take passengers to destinations across Europe.

Check in for your Eurostar trip. Recommended check-in time is at least 30 and up to 90 minutes prior to departure. There are no separate check-in requirements for baggage as long as you do not exceed the three-bag limit -- one handbag and two pieces of luggage. Those from non-European Economic Area countries will have to go through customs and immigration before travelling.

Depart the Eurostar at your destination. All Eurostar stations provide taxis, buses and rail connections to destinations within the city. The European rail network is comprehensive, and international stations in London, Paris and Brussels have links to nearly every destination on the continent.

Purchase tickets for the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. A wide range of tickets, from single crossings to frequent traveller, are available for purchase for transporting your car across the English Channel. Tickets can be purchased at the Eurotunnel website in advance. Tickets prices include one vehicle with up to nine passengers, and no extra fees are charged for luggage.

Drive to the either Folkstone, England or Calais, France. These two cities are the loading and unloading stations for the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. Folkstone is accessible using junction 11A off the M20 motorway. Calais is connected to France using junction 42 off the A16 motorway. It takes 35 minutes to cross from Folkstone to Calais or vice-versa.

Check in your vehicle at the Folkstone or Calais station. Shuttle passengers must check in at least 30 minutes prior to departure. You will be issued a hanging tag for your vehicle's rear-view mirror which must be displayed at all times. This tag will direct you to your reserved shuttle train. After checking in, you will need to go through passport control, so have all documentation ready. After clearing customs you will drive your vehicle onto the train. Passengers are free to exit their vehicles once aboard.

Depart the Eurotunnel Shuttle. The English and French train stations are linked directly to the highway system so you will be back on the road in minutes. The shuttle system changes lanes for you during the process so you will depart driving on the correct side of the road.


The Eurotunnel operates 365 days a year. If you are taking the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, you can purchase a special ticket to bring your pet along.

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About the Author

Richard Ludwig has been a writer for over eight years and has had his work published in "Co-Ed Magazine," the "East Manatee County Observer" and the Disaster and Recovery e-magazine. He received journalism and sociology degrees from the University of South Florida.