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Eurotunnel Carnet Scheme/Cross-channel Commuting?

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I currently live with my French girlfriend in Kent. I work in the county, and enjoy my job. My girlfriend would like to teach in France, so the plan is for us to move near Calais, and for me to commute from there to Faversham on a daily basis.

I bought this months' Living France magazine, as there was an article on commuting between the UK and France, but to be honest it was a bit of an anticlimax, as the commuting seemed a lot more long-distance than a daily journey from the Pas-de-Calais to Kent.

A few years ago I saw an article on the BBC's South East Today programme about a man who commuted from near Calais to the big pharmaceutical plant at Sandwich. I am assuming that this was done using the Eurotunnel Carnet scheme, which I believe might have stopped: Eurotunnel claim there is no such thing as a commuters' scheme any more, and say that the cheapest option is £25/return trip, which is too expensive. The BBC programme suggested this commuter was paying about £40/week.

So my questions are:

  • Why did Eurotunnel withdraw the scheme? Surely they need all the money they can get, and I'm sure that many trains at commuting times of day are otherwise running quite empty?

  • How are the existing commuters coping with the withdrawal of the scheme?
  • Are there any plans for the replacement of the scheme with something else?
  • Are there any alternatives - I'd rather not have to spend nights away from home when it's not really that far.

I've seen mentions of something called Opale Link - is there a website or a way of expressing my support for this organisation?

Thanks in advance for any help, questions or advice.

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Hello Richard  - you're in a minefield here! Yes, there was once a very useful Carnet scheme, but they stopped it because, in their words to me, ' It is not meant for going from France to  the UK - it is supposed to be  for British businessmen going from London. You have been ABUSING US by using it to commute' 

What can one say? Yes, many trains do run near-empty, yes, they do need all the money they can get, but like all set-ups of their kind they seem to want to shoot themselves in the foot.

The round trip Eurostar fare is in fact something like £109 - and that is cheap rate.

Opale Link can be found on the Forum - look in the section including Pas de Calais.

You are right about the article - all that  twaddle about Eurotunnel wanting to establish a hard core of 10,000 commuters - I wish!  Nothing could be further from the truth, in fact they are doing what they can to put a stop to commuting, including, you may be interested to know, either reducing or stopping altogether the service at Frethun (so as to cut 5 mins of f the journey time to Paris!) Also, the writer did not seem to know the difference between Eurotunnel (cars) and Eurostar (train). Again, what can one say?

There are many, many people who either commute from Pas de Calais or would really like to - so we must all get together & try and persuade Eurotunnel/ Eurostar to see how short-sighted they are being.

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  • 1 year later...


Opale Link is an Association that was founded in April 2006 with the aim of improving the economic, social and cultural links between the South East of England and the North of France – and in particular the Opale Coast. 


Totally independent of any political party, Opale Link is a bi-cultural organisation with around 40 members and many more supporters. It was founded out of the frustration of witnessing very high levels of unemployment, poverty and a stagnant economy in the region around Calais and the low unemployment, and high economic growth and development in Kent and London, only a few kilometres away on the other side of the Channel.


The South East of England suffers from saturated roads, water shortages, high land and property prices, full employment....The North of France has a relatively empty but well developed motorway network, excellent high speed rail links to Brussels, Paris and London, the channel tunnel, the ports of Boulogne, Calais and Dunkerque, relatively low property prices, land available for development and high unemployment.... On top of this the perspective of the completion of the CTRL in the autumn of this year brings Calais Fréthun within the commuter belt of London – the journey time being reduced to less than one hour from Calais Fréthun to St Pancras – and even less to Ashford / Stratford / Ebbesfleet.   


Since its creation in April 2006, Opale Link has succeeded in bringing to the attention of local government bodies on both sides of the channel the potential benefits that would arise from implementing an affordable ‘cross channel Metro’ type service. The scepticism is beginning to weaken. We remain convinced that it is just a question of time before the service is implemented.


We are opening a new web site very soon and please keep touch with us.



Thaddée Segard
Opale Link

Le Flot
62179 Tardinghen . France

00 33 6 64 14 82 35
00 33 3 21 92 05 26

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Hi there, to clear up any confusion about Eurostar and Eurotunnel:

Eurostar runs from London (currently Waterloo, to be moved to St Pancras, I believe,  in the autumn when the CTRL is finally up and running) for people not cars and it is the Eurostar service to Frethun which will be cut along with services to Ashford (Kent). Services also run into Paris, Brussels, Lille.......etc.

Eurotunnel runs a shuttle service for cars etc between Folkestone and Calais and nowhere else - and let's hope they don't cut out one of those two destinations!


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Another option could be to buy a cheap caravan and stay in that Monday to Thursday in the UK (admittedly away from your girlfriend but there is always that saying 'absences makes the heart grow fonder') and travel over on a Monday and back on a Friday. That should greatly reduce the costs. The caravan would be resellable so buying it would not be lost money.

You may need to have a few sites that you can use. Some will have restrictions on them as to the length of time that you can stay and some do not like you using them as a means of working.



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  • 2 months later...
Hi Paul, have you ever tried staying in a caravan in the middle of winter. Nice idea but perhaps these two may well want to stay together. And if there are children involved does it mean being apart from his family for four days a week. Get real Geyser. I reckon you must work for the tunnel.
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