Problems in Calais and Kent

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Problems in Calais and Kent

Postby anneb » Sun Aug 02, 2015 12:12 pm

I thought I'd copy a post I've just written in the Seaferries RIP thread as the problems in Calais and Kent are now much bigger than just a ferry closing down issue:

I've been following Eurotunnel on Twitter. They have problems nearly every night in Calais, don't always publicise it too much. Last night, for example, there were migrants got to the tunnel entrance. Someone tweeted that their booked shuttle was at 1.25am and they were held up at the Calais terminal for six hours !!! Article now about last night's incursion in the Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ ... ences.html

We're booked for September, there and back, and it is certainly a worry that we may be held up for ages. We've often been held up on the Shuttle for 30 mins or an hour - the terminals either end are both miserable places to hang around in.

Thankfully the M20 is cleared of Operation Stack since yesterday and looks like the government is organising some car parks for the lorries for next time there's a problem. The M20 became a huge lorry park with Kent police glorified car park attendants. Chaos for the people of Kent - we have friends in Hythe, it took them several hours to get home from London last weekend due to the diversions.

Anne
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Re: Problems in Calais and Kent

Postby graham34 » Sun Aug 02, 2015 2:33 pm

I really wouldn't worry about your journey. This has been front page news for a week plus in the UK and action is being taken. Friends returned a week ago and were held up more by the M25 than the tunnel, Calais protests or tractor blockage problems.

Avoid booking overnight/early morning seems to reduce the chance of delays.
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Re: Problems in Calais and Kent

Postby anneb » Sun Aug 02, 2015 4:23 pm

Yes, definitely avoid early or late Shuttles !

But it's difficult to see a viable solution to the problem. The tunnel is very vulnerable to incursions, whether from migrants, or, as the chief Commissioner for Police in Surrey wrote in the Telegraph last week, from terrorists or drug traffickers. Putting up fences and having guards is not a full solution - I mean think about it, the railway line that the Eurostar to Paris takes must go out into the open at some point ? Does it have barbed wire and guards all the way to the Gare du Nord ?

Re the M20. Part of the problem there lies with the huge amount of freight which uses that motorway and the system that they use for the Eurotunnel and the Port of Dover. We've been travelling up and down the M20 on a fairly regular basis over the past 25 years, not just when going or coming from France but also to stay with friends in Hythe. The M20 used to be a 'nice' motorway, we'd groan when we got to the M25. Now it's the other way round. The M20 is horrible because of the lorries. Year on year the amount of freight has been increasing. Some of these lorries drive at breakneck speed, and occupying two lanes as well as over taking each other. It's so dangerous. Kent County Council produced a 'Freight Action Plan' some years ago to try and address the problem of the large amount of freight travelling through Kent to Dover and Folkestone: http://www.kent.gov.uk/__data/assets/pd ... n-plan.pdf A problem even without Operation Stack ! Operation Stack is brought in not just when there are strikes or bad weather at sea, it's brought in when there is too much freight for Dover to handle - it's the Port of Dover that apparently requests it. But some of that problem is due to the way Eurotunnel, and I presume also, though I'm not sure, the Port of Dover, run their booking system for freight. Have a look at the freight section of Eurotunnel: http://www.eurotunnelfreight.com/uk/home/ and how it works. A haulier books to use Eurotunnel for a particular day - the lorry can turn up at any time during that day, or the day before, or the day after, to travel. There is no booked time to cross as with cars - cars are not allowed to turn up more than 2 hours before booked travel, or 2 hours after, so the cars all arrive steadily in stages. As a consequence of the lorries not arriving at a prebooked time (yes I know that might be tricky with long journeys, but isn't it so for cars too ?) you can see that a huge number of lorries can all turn up at once ! But there isn't enough space to park them all while they wait for a shuttle. So huge numbers of lorries can arrive at the Eurotunnel or Port of Dover but neither of those companies has allowed for the parking space....and so they ask for Operation Stack. Thankfully the government is now organising lorry parking at MOD sites....but really Eurotunnel and the Port of Dover should have factored all this in when they encouraged freight to travel via them !

I can highly recommend reading the Eurotunnel Twtiter site. Eurotunnel are extremely responsive with their Tweets, and anyone can read them without being a member of Twitter. Very up to the minute info there: https://twitter.com/LeShuttle/with_replies

Anne
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Re: Problems in Calais and Kent

Postby montgolfiere » Mon Aug 03, 2015 10:12 am

I personally have never had problems on the M20 ( outside when affected byWeather, Strike or Stack Problems). However i am actively looking into other routes, especially outside Strike Prone/Immigrant Mecca France...eg Harwich/Hook of Holland, for the next time i plan to visit the UK.
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Re: Problems in Calais and Kent

Postby Londres » Sat Aug 08, 2015 9:19 am

I came through the tunnel from Folkestone on Wednesday evening at 7.00pm and it was a dream. Onto the shuttle very quickly, and no delays at all. Indeed, the rail worker told me it was quiet for August, since a lot of people have been put off the tunnel by the stories of Operation Stack etc.

The fields around Calais have a visible police presence and there are large temporary lights around the fences. Other than that there were no real signs of any problems.
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Re: Problems in Calais and Kent

Postby montgolfiere » Sat Aug 08, 2015 12:00 pm

That sounds better....
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