Safety & Security

At Eurotunnel Le Shuttle we take the safety and security of our customers and staff very seriously. Read on to find out more about the safety and security measures in place when you travel with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle.

This page should answer all the questions you may have around safety and security when travelling with Eurotunnel, including those regarding COVID-19 guidelines.

All our Covid-safe measures and additional information about your journey can be found on our dedicated COVID hub.

COVID-19 precautions

We have made changes to our service so that it is as contact-free as possible. What this means is you can remain in the comfort of your vehicle at our terminals, without coming into contact with staff or other passengers.

Limited contact travel

Our terminal buildings have been adapted for social distancing and there is an increased frequency and depth of cleaning, if you decide to leave your vehicle to visit shops or restaurants on-site or to use the toilet facilities before boarding.

To minimise delays and customer touchpoints we ask customers to upload all required COVID-19 documentation before they travel. If you're unable to do this, or if the documentation has not been validated before you arrive on site, then you may be asked to come into our terminal to have these manually checked by our staff at the COVID-19 document check point. Staff at this COVID-19 document check point will be wearing masks or will be sitting behind a Perspex screen.

A large silver car on a stop sign using a check in booth to arrive at Eurotunnel Le Shuttle and travel to France

Drive-through border controls

You will be asked to show you passport at our drive-through border controls. Officials may select you for security checks or searches, but this is nothing to worry about.

From border control you drive directly onto the shuttle. During your crossing from Folkestone to Calais you must remain in your vehicle and toilets are closed. This allows for complete social distancing from other passengers aboard your shuttle. You are not required to wear a mask while in your vehicle.

Channel Tunnel security

Channel Tunnel security measures are regularly adapted to keep our site secure with detection methods designed to provide the highest level of protection for our customers and staff.

Freight carriers are rigorously inspected to mitigate the entry of illegal substances and or illegal intrusions.

Security Control Centre

Some of the security features our control centre use include:

  • A 40km perimeter fence encircles the entire 650-hectare French terminal.
  • High level fencing around the platforms, infra-red detectors, hundreds of CCTV cameras and thermal detection sensors at the terminals.
  • A buffer zone and the Eurotunnel Truck Park offering secure areas for drivers off the motorway.
  • Drones and other top-secret protections are in place to keep security levels at an all-time high.

The Channel Tunnel (Security) Order 1994

This is an important piece of legislation that explains the laws that protect the tunnel and the people who use it. It makes it clear what will happen should these laws be broken and means that security measures can be put in place to uphold legal rights. You can read The Channel Tunnel Byelaws to see exactly what applies.

Is the Eurotunnel safe?

Eurotunnel is a very safe way to travel. There are numerous systems in place and exercises conducted to keep it this way. The Safety Authority in charge of maintaining the Channel Tunnel and its transport methods is made up of independent experts and the tunnel itself is designed to be some of the safest infrastructure in the world. Here are some features that are in place.

A panoramic view of Eurotunnel Le Shuttle train tracks stretching over green and brown fields dotted with buildings running under a blue bridge with blue water in the distance

Simulator and safety training

Each of our drivers has at least one Driver Simulator training day per year, when they use our replica cab that can simulate operating a freight or passenger shuttle. The replica is built the exact specification of a real loco, using real parts from our own maintenance stores. The training cab can be used to replicate real-life situations, to address driver errors, or to refresh knowledge gaps. All drives can be video recorded and played back to the driver if needed.

The training sessions allow drivers to practice handling any number of normal, degraded and emergency situations. All sessions also include a SAFE station stop to simulate an evacuation due to a fire on board.

SAFE stations

There are four SAFE fire-fighting stations in the tunnel, each equipped with a unique, innovative system for spraying a pressurised water mist designed to immediately extinguish fire. 

In the unlikely event of a fire occurring on board a Shuttle, once all risks have been eliminated for the passengers, the driver can either drive the train to a SAFE station to extinguish the fire or drive it out of the tunnel where firefighting tracks are located near the two portal entrances. 

 

BINAT safety exercise

BINAT means Bi-national as both UK and French teams work together on safety and security training. This is an annual exercise to test the safety operational process for customers and staff, as well as the response of the emergency teams in the Tunnel. It checks that emergency services will respond sufficiently and coordinate their services effectively in the event of any emergency in the tunnel.

Eurotunnel and the Public Authorities organise BINAT each year to make sure the safety processes work and that any changes (if necessary) are made. 

 

Does the Channel Tunnel leak?

Inside a train tunnel made of grey stone and lined with black wiring and lit with fluorescent lighting

The answer to this may surprise you. The tunnel does leak, but it is designed to. Seawater from the rocks above the tunnel drips through and is then pumped away. The water is a mixture of groundwater and seawater, collected at six drainage stations and is continuously monitored to protect the enormous pumps and pipes from corrosion and to make sure that water discharged to the sea is not environmentally harmful.

In the UK there are two major pumping stations positioned at 14km and 25km into the tunnel. Each station has four 3.3KV pumps, each capable of moving 1000 m3 of water per hour. If just three of the pumps were running, they would fill an Olympic size pool in less than an hour. 

There are pits for the water to drain into, meaning you will occasionally see wet patches in the tunnel. This is completely natural and nothing to worry about.

The safer way to France and beyond

Book a trip with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle to travel safely from Folkestone UK to Calais France in just 35 minutes. 

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