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What’s the difference between Eurostar and LeShuttle (formerly Eurotunnel Le Shuttle)?

Planning a trip to Europe but unsure of how to travel? Let us show you the difference between LeShuttle and Eurostar.

It’s easy to be confused by LeShuttle (formerly Eurotunnel Le Shuttle) and Eurostar – they share use of the Channel Tunnel, the 32-mile long undersea crossing between England and France, but they are not the same form of transport.  

Eurostar is a passenger train service that operates between London St Pancras and destinations in Europe, including Paris, Lille and Brussels. LeShuttle is a car train service with 35-minute crossings from Folkestone to Calais. 

Are LeShuttle (formerly Eurotunnel Le Shuttle) & Eurostar the same company?

Eurostar and LeShuttle are completely different companies. To be specific, LeShuttle is operated by Getlink, the company which owns and operates the Channel Tunnel, the infrastructure connecting the UK with France. Eurostar is a customer of Getlink and runs its passenger trains through the tunnel. Whichever you choose, Eurostar and LeShuttle will get you easily and quickly from the UK into France – but there may be differences in the destinations available and the travel experience. 

A diagram showing three tunnels under the sea

What do LeShuttle & Eurostar offer?

Eurostar runs passenger trains from St Pancras International to destinations in Europe, plus connecting services throughout France, Belgium, Holland, and a limited connection into Germany. Eurostar does not currently stop at Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International, and no longer offers a seasonal service to the French Alps. From June 2024 to January 2025 Eurostar will also not operate its service to and from Amsterdam. This is due to renovation work at Amsterdam Centraal Station. 

LeShuttle is a car train service. We carry freight and all forms of vehicle, including cars, motorbikes, campervans, caravans, coaches, and lorries. With up to seven departures an hour, LeShuttle is the most flexible and one of the fastest ways to cross the Channel

Do LeShuttle & Eurostar use the same tunnel?

Yes, both Eurostar and LeShuttle use the same tunnel. The Channel Tunnel (also known as the Eurotunnel or ‘Chunnel’) is the longest undersea tunnel in the world at 38km long. It is made up of three tunnels, each 50km long, that link Folkestone in Kent to Calais in France. Two are rail tunnels, used for freight and passenger trains, and the third is a service tunnel. Eurostar is one of Getlink's biggest customers.

Cars parked in a car train
On board LeShuttle

Can you take your car on Eurostar?

Eurostar only run passenger trains, so you cannot take your own vehicle using this mode of transport. Therefore, when planning your journey, you need to decide if you would like to drive your own vehicle once you are across the Channel. Driving will allow for greater baggage allowances. If you want to travel to some destinations, such as Amsterdam, driving might be the better option.

Can you be a foot passenger on LeShuttle?

At LeShuttle we can only allow you to travel in or on a vehicle – be that your own or as part of a coach trip. You cannot travel as a foot passenger, but you are able to take a bicycle. If you don’t need or want to drive your vehicle for your trip, you can travel as a foot passenger on Eurostar.

Can I take my pet on the Eurostar and LeShuttle?

Only on LeShuttle. Eurostar do not currently allow passengers to travel with any pets, unless you’re travelling with an assistance dog. LeShuttle allows you to travel with your pet. This costs £22 each way (applicable for dogs, cats & ferrets), but this is not charged for assistance dogs.

Travelling with your horse? We can cater for them too.

Lady and dog in car
Your pets stay with you during the crossing on LeShuttle

How long does it take to go through the Eurotunnel? 

LeShuttle trains are designed to carry you and your vehicle, regardless of type, through the Channel Tunnel to France in just 35 minutes.

What do you see in the Eurotunnel?

The Channel Tunnel was built through the ground material under the sea, so when you are travelling in the tunnel you don’t actually see anything. At its deepest point it is 75 metres below sea level, and an average of 40 metres below the sea bed. Find out more fascinating facts about the Channel Tunnel

How long is a Eurostar Chunnel crossing?

Eurostar trains take 20 minutes to pass through the Channel Tunnel. Although the French capital might not be your final destination, the Eurostar service takes approximately two and a half hours to reach Paris from London.
 

What destinations do Eurostar & LeShuttle (formerly Eurotunnel Le Shuttle) offer?

London, Paris, Lille, Brussels and Amsterdam are the main Eurostar destinations - although as we have mentioned, the service to and from Amsterdam will be disrupted in 2024. Other stops depending on the service and season have in the past included Calais, Lille, Lyon, Avignon, Marseille, Marne-la-Vallée (for Disneyland® Paris), and Rotterdam in the Netherlands. 

LeShuttle takes passengers from Folkestone, Kent, UK, to Calais in France. You can plan unique trips that you set the pace for, and with no baggage restrictions, into the rest of France, Belgium, Germany or the Netherlands.

 

Skyline view of a French city with buildings and trees under a blue sky

Which is better for Disneyland® Paris – LeShuttle or Eurostar?

If you are heading to Disneyland® Paris, your travel options have changed.

Eurostar no longer run its direct service to Marne-la-Vallée for the Disneyland® parks and hotels. Eurostar passengers will need to change trains and stations in order to get to Disneyland® Paris. You can still only take a certain amount of luggage and you won’t be able to experience the comfort of travelling in your own vehicle. Once you arrive, you will need to arrange any extra transport yourself.

By comparison it is easy to travel from London to Paris by car, for a family trip to Disneyland® Paris. Once you have arrived in Calais, you can plan your onward journey at your own pace. You can take as much luggage as you can fit in your car! 

Pink and white doll house like building with mickey mouse clock and sign saying Disneyland Park

Can you take the Channel Tunnel from London to Paris?

No, the Channel Tunnel runs from Folkestone to Calais. LeShuttle customers can then drive to Paris in their own vehicles. Eurostar trains use the Channel Tunnel as part of its service to Paris, but trains do not go directly to Disneyland® Paris

Frequently asked questions

  • Yes, passports are mandatory for all passengers who are travelling on either the Eurostar or LeShuttle and they will be checked by customs officials prior to departure.

    When travelling with LeShuttle, all passengers passports will be checked at the drive-through border controls. Learn more about our safety and security measures here.

  • When travelling with LeShuttle, you should check in at least 1 hour before your departure time. This allows for security checks at the French and British frontier controls and means you’ll have plenty of time to get into the boarding lanes. 

    You can discover more about travelling with us on our timetable page.

    The check in procedure for Eurostar varies depending on your ticket type, but those with a standard ticket should aim to arrive between 90-120 minutes before their departure.

  • All our tickets are purchased per vehicle and covers up to 9 passengers. 

  • The Eurotunnel is a 50km long rail tunnel that runs underneath the Channel from Folkestone in Kent in southern England to Calais in northern France. From the Calais terminal, LeShuttle customers can drive anywhere in Europe. 

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