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Author Topic: EuroTunnel Vehicular Shuttle  (Read 667 times)

Beltway

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EuroTunnel Vehicular Shuttle
« on: February 07, 2019, 12:55:16 PM »

Pretty straightforward and fast process to take your car or truck across the English Channel.

Step by Step Drive Through Guide to the EuroTunnel Check-in and Boarding Process at Folkstone
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abefroman329

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Re: EuroTunnel Vehicular Shuttle
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2019, 01:03:12 PM »

Frankly, I'm surprised it's so popular for privately-owned automobiles, since there's something deeply unappealing to me about driving a right-hand-drive car on the right side of the road and vice versa.  When we looked very preliminarily into driving from England to Germany in the spring, my plan was to take the train and ferry (or Eurostar) to Calais and rent a car there.  I realize many have no choice but to do this and that it's been going on for decades, though.
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Beltway

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Re: EuroTunnel Vehicular Shuttle
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2019, 01:05:17 PM »

Frankly, I'm surprised it's so popular for privately-owned automobiles, since there's something deeply unappealing to me about driving a right-hand-drive car on the right side of the road and vice versa.  When we looked very preliminarily into driving from England to Germany in the spring, my plan was to take the train and ferry (or Eurostar) to Calais and rent a car there.  I realize many have no choice but to do this and that it's been going on for decades, though.

Any cars built with a steering wheel on both sides?  That might be a solution.
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abefroman329

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Re: EuroTunnel Vehicular Shuttle
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2019, 01:14:59 PM »

Frankly, I'm surprised it's so popular for privately-owned automobiles, since there's something deeply unappealing to me about driving a right-hand-drive car on the right side of the road and vice versa.  When we looked very preliminarily into driving from England to Germany in the spring, my plan was to take the train and ferry (or Eurostar) to Calais and rent a car there.  I realize many have no choice but to do this and that it's been going on for decades, though.

Any cars built with a steering wheel on both sides?  That might be a solution.
I think there used to be cars used for driver's ed that were built like that.  When I took driver's ed in the mid-90s, they were down to a second brake pedal on the front passenger side (where the instructor sat).
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kphoger

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Re: EuroTunnel Vehicular Shuttle
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2019, 01:17:19 PM »

Frankly, I'm surprised it's so popular for privately-owned automobiles, since there's something deeply unappealing to me about driving a right-hand-drive car on the right side of the road and vice versa.  When we looked very preliminarily into driving from England to Germany in the spring, my plan was to take the train and ferry (or Eurostar) to Calais and rent a car there.  I realize many have no choice but to do this and that it's been going on for decades, though.

I was once on tour in England and the continent, and our group kept the same coaches for the whole trip.  The drivers were based out of Austria, as I recall, so their coaches were left-hand drive.  In England, I remember the most difficult thing being finding a decent place to stop and let the passengers on or off the bus.  If you simply parallel park a left-hand bus in a right-hand country, then the passenger door spills out into the road.
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abefroman329

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Re: EuroTunnel Vehicular Shuttle
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2019, 01:30:09 PM »

Frankly, I'm surprised it's so popular for privately-owned automobiles, since there's something deeply unappealing to me about driving a right-hand-drive car on the right side of the road and vice versa.  When we looked very preliminarily into driving from England to Germany in the spring, my plan was to take the train and ferry (or Eurostar) to Calais and rent a car there.  I realize many have no choice but to do this and that it's been going on for decades, though.

I was once on tour in England and the continent, and our group kept the same coaches for the whole trip.  The drivers were based out of Austria, as I recall, so their coaches were left-hand drive.  In England, I remember the most difficult thing being finding a decent place to stop and let the passengers on or off the bus.  If you simply parallel park a left-hand bus in a right-hand country, then the passenger door spills out into the road.
Yeah, I remember that very issue when double-decker bus tours were taking off in popularity in the US and they were having to import buses from the UK.

Coaches and lorries are another story, of course there's no other choice when it comes to those.
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Road Hog

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Re: EuroTunnel Vehicular Shuttle
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2019, 12:18:35 AM »

The most difficult thing I found about driving in the UK with a left hand drive car was going through the drive-thrus and having to use the passenger window.
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Rothman

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Re: EuroTunnel Vehicular Shuttle
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2019, 08:35:38 AM »

I never thought about that before.  Hilarious.
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abefroman329

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Re: EuroTunnel Vehicular Shuttle
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2019, 09:13:04 AM »

The most difficult thing I found about driving in the UK with a left hand drive car was going through the drive-thrus and having to use the passenger window.
A friend of mine lived in the UK but was born in Norway, and was given a company car, and when he took it home to Norway, he would have to get out of the car every time he stopped at a toll booth to pay the toll.
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mgk920

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Re: EuroTunnel Vehicular Shuttle
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2019, 09:39:25 AM »

I can't imagine what it was like in Sweden when they switched from driving on the left to driving on the right.

 :wow:

Mike
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abefroman329

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Re: EuroTunnel Vehicular Shuttle
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2019, 09:46:58 AM »

I can't imagine what it was like in Sweden when they switched from driving on the left to driving on the right.

 :wow:

Mike
According to the article I just read, most, if not all, vehicles in Sweden were left-hand-drive when they made the switch.
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mgk920

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Re: EuroTunnel Vehicular Shuttle
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2019, 09:54:07 AM »

Is there any real-time video on line of a complete (train) 'driver's eye' view of the trip through the tunnel?

Also, are there any public observation parks by either or both terminals where railfans/trainspotters can view the activity and traffic at the tunnel portals?

And remember - drive on the right as you leave the Calais terminal!

 :nod:

Mike
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Beltway

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Re: EuroTunnel Vehicular Shuttle
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2019, 10:08:52 AM »

Frankly, I'm surprised it's so popular for privately-owned automobiles, since there's something deeply unappealing to me about driving a right-hand-drive car on the right side of the road and vice versa.  When we looked very preliminarily into driving from England to Germany in the spring, my plan was to take the train and ferry (or Eurostar) to Calais and rent a car there.  I realize many have no choice but to do this and that it's been going on for decades, though.
Any cars built with a steering wheel on both sides?  That might be a solution.
I think there used to be cars used for driver's ed that were built like that.  When I took driver's ed in the mid-90s, they were down to a second brake pedal on the front passenger side (where the instructor sat).

I am sure the car would be more expensive to build. 

It would seem a lot easier to leave your car in your own country, and then rent a car with the appropriate configuration when you get to the other country, than to take your car there.  It might cost more but at least you would have the proper configuration.
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Scott M. Savage
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vdeane

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Re: EuroTunnel Vehicular Shuttle
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2019, 12:39:01 PM »

The most difficult thing I found about driving in the UK with a left hand drive car was going through the drive-thrus and having to use the passenger window.
The same thing happens at the toll booths for Whiteface Mountain.  I think there are a few older rural customs booths on the US/Canada border like this as well.
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abefroman329

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Re: EuroTunnel Vehicular Shuttle
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2019, 02:44:51 PM »

It would seem a lot easier to leave your car in your own country, and then rent a car with the appropriate configuration when you get to the other country, than to take your car there.  It might cost more but at least you would have the proper configuration.
It's cheaper to bring your own car if you own one than to rent one at the border.
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Beltway

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Re: EuroTunnel Vehicular Shuttle
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2019, 04:12:24 PM »

It would seem a lot easier to leave your car in your own country, and then rent a car with the appropriate configuration when you get to the other country, than to take your car there.  It might cost more but at least you would have the proper configuration.
It's cheaper to bring your own car if you own one than to rent one at the border.

I would have thought so, but how inconvenient is it to drive on the opposite side of the road that your car is designed for?
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Scott M. Savage
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NoGoodNamesAvailable

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Re: EuroTunnel Vehicular Shuttle
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2019, 05:42:26 PM »

The most difficult thing I found about driving in the UK with a left hand drive car was going through the drive-thrus and having to use the passenger window.

There's a drive-thru in Yonkers like this. The drive thru lane runs clockwise around the building because of the one-way streets surrounding it. It's pretty surreal driving through it—I've only gone through with passengers, but I can only imagine how awkward that long reach must be!
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02 Park Ave

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Re: EuroTunnel Vehicular Shuttle
« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2019, 06:15:55 PM »

One must also install an headlamp adapter kit when changing the side of the road on which one is to drive.
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Re: EuroTunnel Vehicular Shuttle
« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2019, 12:18:49 PM »

The White Castle on NY 25 in Commack has the drive through window on the right, but an odd awning and pulley system so the driver can pay and receive food on the left.  There's photos deep in the Google Maps place listing.  Guessing this building used to be a bank with the pneumatic tubes.  (Gmaps link: https://www.google.com/maps/place/White+Castle,+2237+Jericho+Turnpike,+Commack,+NY+11725/@40.843246,-73.292182,17z
)
« Last Edit: February 09, 2019, 12:21:51 PM by sbeaver44 »
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Beltway

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Re: EuroTunnel Vehicular Shuttle
« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2019, 12:56:55 PM »

One must also install an headlamp adapter kit when changing the side of the road on which one is to drive.

What is that?  Cars I have had have the same headlight design on both sides, as far as I could see.
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Scott M. Savage
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1995hoo

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Re: EuroTunnel Vehicular Shuttle
« Reply #20 on: February 09, 2019, 03:03:23 PM »

One must also install an headlamp adapter kit when changing the side of the road on which one is to drive.

What is that?  Cars I have had have the same headlight design on both sides, as far as I could see.

It relevels and re-aims them. Headlights on a left-hand drive car are oriented slightly differently than headlights on a right-hand drive car. In a left-hand drive car, they illuminate the right edge of the road slightly more, with the idea being that the glare is thus less bothersome to oncoming traffic. (This is more noticeable with HID headlights than with sealed-beam or halogen lamps. I'd try to take a picture while driving at night, but I don't think it'd really work.) If you drive a left-hand drive car in a right-hand drive country, you have to adjust your headlights to avoid producing too much glare. There are sticker kits available. Some cars have automatic adjusters. Or a mechanic can probably do it.

Edited to add: Wikipedia has this diagram illustrating the issue. If you drove this car in a country where you drive on the left and you failed to adjust the headlights, you'd cast a lot of glare at oncoming traffic.

« Last Edit: February 09, 2019, 03:07:37 PM by 1995hoo »
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Beltway

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Re: EuroTunnel Vehicular Shuttle
« Reply #21 on: February 09, 2019, 07:05:31 PM »

One must also install an headlamp adapter kit when changing the side of the road on which one is to drive.
What is that?  Cars I have had have the same headlight design on both sides, as far as I could see.
It relevels and re-aims them. Headlights on a left-hand drive car are oriented slightly differently than headlights on a right-hand drive car. In a left-hand drive car, they illuminate the right edge of the road slightly more, with the idea being that the glare is thus less bothersome to oncoming traffic. (This is more noticeable with HID headlights than with sealed-beam or halogen lamps. I'd try to take a picture while driving at night, but I don't think it'd really work.) If you drive a left-hand drive car in a right-hand drive country, you have to adjust your headlights to avoid producing too much glare. There are sticker kits available. Some cars have automatic adjusters. Or a mechanic can probably do it.

Interesting diagram.   I haven't used HID headlights, but I have used halogen headlights since the 1970s, and I never really noticed any difference between the two headlight patterns.
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Scott M. Savage
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1995hoo

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Re: EuroTunnel Vehicular Shuttle
« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2019, 08:50:39 AM »

Yeah, it's something I had not been aware of until 2004 when I got my current Acura and I noted the beam pattern—the HIDs are much better than the halogen lights in my previous car (a '97 Accord) and the cut-off at the top of the light beam when the low-beams are on is much more pronounced than with the halogens. (Same is true compared to the sealed-beam headlights on my RX-7, but I avoid driving that at night anyway!) The Acura's headlight beam has almost like a "step," for lack of a better word, that's visible when I'm on a dark road—the "step" makes it clear that the passenger-side headlight beam is aimed slightly higher and shines further down the road than the driver-side headlight beam, much as is shown in that Wikipedia image. This is the original factory setting.

I've never noticed whether this is as noticeable in my wife's 2015 Acura, which has LED headlights. Not sure why I've never noticed it, but it might be that I'm used to it from my car and thus it doesn't occur to me, whereas when I first got my car 15 years ago it wasn't something I'd experienced before and thus it stood out to me. I did read somewhere that one reason some people find HID headlights annoying or distracting is the more pronounced cut-off on the low beams. (Unlike halogens or sealed-beams, HIDs generally don't use separate bulbs for low- and high-beams. Instead, a shutter opens and closes when you switch between the two, and it truncates the beam when you're using low-beams such that it cuts off the part that shines brightly into oncoming drivers' eyes. The snap of the shutter opening and closing is audible from within the car if the radio isn't on.)

Maybe some night I can get a picture if I shine my headlights on the garage door when I get home. I'll have to see. Not supposed to be very good weather the next few days, though, so it might be a while.
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english si

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Re: EuroTunnel Vehicular Shuttle
« Reply #23 on: February 10, 2019, 10:48:43 AM »

When I went over to France on holiday as a child, we used the ferries (crossing longer crossings further west, most of the time). The ferry company would give us a sticker kit, included in the price of crossing, consisting of a (ferry-company branded) GB sticker, and the stickers for the headlights. I believe our holiday company might have provided the same too (certainly there were car stickers with a rival company's name about), but we used the ferry company's just because we got it just before we needed it.

I'd imagine that, these days, they'd come with the kit pack of stuff needed to drive in France (hi-vis jackets for every person in the car so they can join in protests, warning triangle (though that's been required for decades), two breathalysers), or be bought separately for subsequent visits. Cars automatically have the sticker equivalent in the license plates (and really sillily 27 countries only have the small letter code marking the difference as the flag above it is identical, whereas Norway, Switzerland, etc use their flag, and the UK managed to get their flag accepted as a variant though the default is - for 47 more days, the same as 27 other countries), so I don't think they are given out anymore.

I did use the tunnel once - for the last 'booze cruise' we did (previous ones had used the ferry). Lower rates of 'sin' taxation in France meant that alcoholic beverages (and tobacco products, etc) were much cheaper there - so that if you bought a certain amount, you covered the cost of your crossing (personal use only, mind you - no reselling or Customs and Excise would be on you to pay the UK taxes). Plus you had a foreign day trip. Calais still has a fair few businesses set up for this sort of traveller, despite the price differential reducing from the heyday around the turn of the century.
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english si

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Re: EuroTunnel Vehicular Shuttle
« Reply #24 on: February 10, 2019, 11:36:44 AM »

I'm surprised it's so popular for privately-owned automobiles
'Passenger Shuttles' can hold 120 cars and 12 coaches, 'Truck Shuttles' can hold 32 trucks. Up to 10 trains an hour in each direction, though two of them are the Eurostar regular trains, leaving peak car shuttle frequency as 4 trains an hour and the same for truck shuttles.

The (more enjoyable as there's stuff to do, but slower) ferry service still runs frequently from Dover to Calais too (though far less frequently than it did before the tunnel opened). There's also other ferry routes (mostly freight only), so you are likely to see foreign registered trucks on the British motorway network, despite the drive-on-left problem. Unless it's a Sunday (or Monday morning), due to the German Sunday truck ban, it is very rare that I don't see foreign trucks if I go on the M25, despite being directly opposite Kent.
It would seem a lot easier to leave your car in your own country, and then rent a car with the appropriate configuration when you get to the other country, than to take your car there.  It might cost more but at least you would have the proper configuration.
That would have been fun with a boot full of stuff, four bicycles, etc, etc. And at least we weren't self-camping, with all the extra stuff that would have required!

And my brother and his mates wouldn't have liked just taking laptops to LAN parties in Sweden (though my brother does that now, due to being the far side of the Irish Sea, so flies instead), instead hiring a van and taking desktops and dual screens and so on through the Chunnel (I gather the Harwich-Esjberg ferry, avoiding driving from Calais to Denmark, is a more expensive option) and across to Sweden makes sense...


My parents never really had a problem driving our normal car in France, other than occasionally getting lost. My dad did struggle one time with which side of the road he should be on in California, but that was with a hire car designed for that side of the road. And my new (2 months) neighbours haven't got rid of their Dutch-registered car, which presumably is designed to drive on the right (I've not had a good look. I'm not even 100% it's Dutch - I've not looked too hard as that's nosy). It's not ideal, but it's perfectly bearable to be in a car made for the other side of the road, from what I can make out.
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