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February 11, 2013

England to France: The Chunnel

"Relax, we'll drive":  Driving on a train

“Relax, we’ll drive”: Driving on a train

It was time for a return crossing of the English Channel.  In a few days we’d drop our leased Renault Kangoo at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport.  On the way to Britain we’d taken the overnight ferry from Ouistreham France to Portsmouth England.  On the way back we’d take the train through Channel Tunnel from Folkestone England to Calais France.

Taking a car onto a train is a weird concept.  Nonetheless in practice it is really quite simple.  At boarding time a queue of cars drives through an open door on the side of a rearward car of a long train.  Inside each driver moves their vehicle forward filling a block of rail cars.  Once loading is finished, doors, on the outside and between the cars, close.  Moments later the train rolls away from the station and disappears into the “Chunnel”.

On arrival in France, the doors open again.  The long line of cars creeps forward and rolls out of the forward side door of the train.  Drive on, drive off and relax in between—it’s really quite simple.  Too bad we can’t cross the Golden Gate Bridge at rush hour this way.

A line of cars entering the train

A line of cars entering the train


Drive straight on

Drive straight on

Exiting the train in Calais France

Exiting the train in Calais France


Welcome to France

Welcome to France



  1. […] On our last journey across the Channel, we drove our car into a train and crossed between England and France well beneath the waves in the “Chunnel”.  This time, curious about the ferry, we joined the line of trucks and cars at Dover’s ferryboat terminal.  Soon our car was parked below the ferry’s deck; we were on our way to France. […]

    Pingback by England and France: Dover Ferry | Another Header — June 23, 2013 @ 2:34 pm

  2. […] in Boulogne-sur-Mer, and in Amiens, on our returned to France from the south of England via the “Chunnel” in late […]

    Pingback by France: Belfries | Another Header — November 13, 2013 @ 6:45 pm

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