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Eurotunnel reliability


Alane

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On both my last two return trips from Calais I have been delayed for some time. The first time was due to the fact that they couldn't cope with the volume of traffic returning after the August Bank holiday and the second time last night I queued for an hour before reaching the check in booth.

August Bank Holiday I can, just about, understand. They were very busy, but on the other hand they must have known how many bookings they had taken and failed to ensure sufficient capacity to deal with them.

Last night's delays seemed to be due to problems with the check in systems as only a limited number of manned booths were open with none of the auto check in lanes available. Even the Flexi Plus dedicated lane was shut. Once through check in it was plain sailing.

I had thought their reliablity to be improving since they sorted out their financial problems.

Have I just been unlucky on these two trips or has anyone else noticed a general deterioriation?
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"budget tunnels"? For a cheapskate like me maybe but a number of the punters in the queue with me last night would have been Flexi Plus passengers at £398 return.

I've since heard that there was a major power failure in the tunnel on Saturday and it took all weekend to clear the backlog so perhaps I really was just unlucky, or even, in this case lucky that I wasn't planning to return on Saturday evening.
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The tunnel will never be able to run at capacity, just look at the percentage of platforms in use during these peak times to see how little of its potential capacity is used.

The following is my anecdotal understanding and I would be gratefull if anyone with informed knowledge could correct me if I am wrong.

The tunnel was designed to run 4 trains per hour during peak periods but the orders were cancelled for half of the planned rolling stock, several of the trains have now been cannibalised for spare parts to keep the remaining ones running.

I have never seen more than one train depart every 45 minutes even when the place was swimming with queuing vehicles.

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Just come through this afternoon. One or two lanes closed, but no delays. I haven't been delayed for the past 6 return journeys ( since October last year). The journey out was excellent too. We can avoid peak times though, so perhaps that makes a difference. Generally we turn up and go on the next shuttle. That is using the frequent traveller tickets.

Lyza

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[quote user="Chancer"]

The tunnel will never be able to run at capacity, just look at the percentage of platforms in use during these peak times to see how little of its potential capacity is used.

The following is my anecdotal understanding and I would be gratefull if anyone with informed knowledge could correct me if I am wrong.

The tunnel was designed to run 4 trains per hour during peak periods but the orders were cancelled for half of the planned rolling stock, several of the trains have now been cannibalised for spare parts to keep the remaining ones running.

I have never seen more than one train depart every 45 minutes even when the place was swimming with queuing vehicles.

[/quote]

We've often been through at peak times when there were three or even four departures per hour so perhaps you just go at off peak periods.

Generally we've found reliability to have been better for the past couple of years (even in the post fire period) - though I hope that it's not tempting fate to say so.

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I have always found them excellent.

I normally go out (Folkstone) on the 05:50 service so there is no chance of getting on the earlier one - that goes at 03:30.

However, our return is normally booked for the 22:20 from Calais on a Sunday. We normally arrive at about 19:00 but it allows us to take a detour if we wish and still not be late for the shuttle.

The only time we have not got an earlier shuttle was this August - the place was heaving - but did get on the 22:20.

We returned yesterday and was allocated the 20:20 one. However, it did seem that the 20:06 and 20:20 were amalgamated and we left at about 20:15. I can see good commercial sense in only running one train if you can fit the loads for two on to one.

We were once advised that people had missed their shuttle but this was because the immigration people were being extremely thorough and it took a long time to get through passport control - we did start queueing as soon as our letter was called and did get the correct shuttle.

I personally find the service excellent and would not contemplate using the ferries again. The only downside is the food outlets at Calais (cannot comment on those at Folkestone) which seem very expensive but they do have a captive audience.

Paul

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Think you were just unlucky.  We returned Saturday - booked on 08.50 and crossed on the 07.49 with no extra charge.  They were running every 30 mins.  Also on the way out managed to cross 1 hr 30 mins early again with no extra charge.  Have to agree about the food outlets - both sides not very good at all.  Always found the service great though.

Better luck next time Alane.

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