Eurotunnel or ferries?

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mjr
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Re: Eurotunnel or ferries?

Postby mjr » 19 Jul 2018, 10:11am

robgul wrote:[...] and says the ferry is faster, it's not by the time you check-in, wait around and then get off (each time I've been on the ferry they made us wait until all the cars were off) Eurotunnel is faster and contrary to suggestions re the ferry fare up-thread usually cheaper.

Thanks for the info. What's the longest it's been, do you think?

The ferries are also an annoying distance/route from a train station. If only there was an evening UK to France run (timed for the second bike-carrying train out of St Pancras perhaps), Eurotunnel would be ideal. Without that, it seems like stopping over for the 8am departure and then the Coquelles drop off means not reaching Calais until midday.
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Re: Eurotunnel or ferries?

Postby robgul » 20 Jul 2018, 7:58am

mjr wrote:
robgul wrote:[...] and says the ferry is faster, it's not by the time you check-in, wait around and then get off (each time I've been on the ferry they made us wait until all the cars were off) Eurotunnel is faster and contrary to suggestions re the ferry fare up-thread usually cheaper.

Thanks for the info. What's the longest it's been, do you think?

The ferries are also an annoying distance/route from a train station. If only there was an evening UK to France run (timed for the second bike-carrying train out of St Pancras perhaps), Eurotunnel would be ideal. Without that, it seems like stopping over for the 8am departure and then the Coquelles drop off means not reaching Calais until midday.


How long is a piece of string for the longest time? - exceptionally, ast time we came back in June 17 we were held up for an hour at the border control as there was a coachload of (apparently) mostly illegals trying to get through in front of us in the queue.

AND the first time we (tried to) used it in September 2008 we were phoned on the train from London and told to carry on to Dover and the ferry as the tunnel was on fire !!

Rob
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Re: Eurotunnel or ferries?

Postby Slowroad » 19 Sep 2018, 10:02pm

Just thought I'd report back on my experience of Eurotunnel - well, it all works well but it's a bit weird!
Cycled from the Camping and Caravan Club site in east Folkestone (up a v steep hill) to the pick-up point at Holiday Inn in west Folkestone, at the crack of dawn literally. At 7:45 a long wheelbase white van with extra windows turns up - it was for me, and just me. I was the only person using the service this morning. Bike was tied up securely in the back, I sat in the front. There's room for 7 cyclists and bikes. A bit of a wait to get on one of the rather sinister trains, then another short wait till it set off. Strange sensation, being in a moving vehicle which isn't being driven! 35 minutes later we're in France, and by 10am French time I was dropped off in a car park. So that's about an hour in total, probably the quickest you could do it.
On the way back we had a much longer wait for a train. I was picked up at a bit before 6pm, and was dropped off near the campsite at a little after 6:30, so taking the time difference into account, about 1 1/2 hours. This driver (a personal chauffeur again!) told me lots about Eurotunnel, including that it can take a great deal longer in busy holiday periods. It'd be worth asking them when you ring.
I'd definitely do it again, and those times worked fine for me. The drivers are very helpful and may be able to drop off at the rail station, for instance.
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Re: Eurotunnel or ferries?

Postby Sweep » 19 Sep 2018, 10:52pm

sounds like a wonderful service.
Sweep

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Re: Eurotunnel or ferries?

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 20 Sep 2018, 8:01am

Cycling through the ports is fine if you aim for a night crossing. It varies of course, but as a rough rule of thumb the cheapest ferry crossing is liable to be about half the cost of the tunnel.

The tunnel is amazing though. My Dad lived in Kent, ran his own company. When he moved his office to Paris the commute took less time that it did previously to Canary wharf, despite being 4 times the distance. The wonders or modern travel, eh?
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Re: Eurotunnel or ferries?

Postby MartinBrice » 20 Sep 2018, 12:58pm

be careful of Eurotunnel and bikes - it's a service only once or twice a day and it might not be at the time you want. The ferries go every 20 minutes or so, and you can go to dunkirk if you want. You can rock up and buy a ticket at te port, although you might pay a bit more for that. and you have to stop for a meal at some pijt so you might as well do that on the ferry. i've found that eurotunnel isn't really much quicker when you take into account having a meal and that you are dropped on the outskirts of Calais - you might then have to cycle miles to where you want to be.
Anywa, YMMV.

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Re: Eurotunnel or ferries?

Postby PH » 20 Sep 2018, 7:16pm

Lance Dopestrong wrote:Cycling through the ports is fine if you aim for a night crossing. It varies of course, but as a rough rule of thumb the cheapest ferry crossing is liable to be about half the cost of the tunnel.

Last time I used it the bike shuttle service was £16 each way, I think it may have gone up to £20, there's no difference if you book well in advance or the day before. Are you finding ferry prices for half of that? Last time I went Shuttle I came back on the ferry, forget the price but sure it was a little more.

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Re: Eurotunnel or ferries?

Postby AMC » 20 Sep 2018, 7:20pm

Just to add to Robgul's point about knives, we took our Bike Fridays folded in bags as luggage on the Eurostar a few years ago, they searched our "hand" luggage (ie not the panniers that were all stashed in laundry bags) & confiscated my Opinel knife on the basis that it has a locking blade. My partner was waved through with his (large) Swiss Army knife blade as it doesn't lock. The train into Brussels was so delayed we arrived at our destination 6 hours late... In general I do prefer the ride on / ride off aspect of ferries, but go with whatever suits the trip at the time.

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Re: Eurotunnel or ferries?

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 20 Sep 2018, 7:27pm

Locking blade makes it a designated offensive weapon in the uk, irrespective of blade length, so not a good idea to have one in public.
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Re: Eurotunnel or ferries?

Postby mjr » 20 Sep 2018, 7:55pm

MartinBrice wrote:be careful of Eurotunnel and bikes - it's a service only once or twice a day and it might not be at the time you want. The ferries go every 20 minutes or so, and you can go to dunkirk if you want. You can rock up and buy a ticket at te port, although you might pay a bit more for that. and you have to stop for a meal at some pijt so you might as well do that on the ferry. i've found that eurotunnel isn't really much quicker when you take into account having a meal and that you are dropped on the outskirts of Calais - you might then have to cycle miles to where you want to be.
Anywa, YMMV.

Ferries to "Dunkirk" are only every two hours and it's something like 10 miles from actual Dunkirk... But you're on tour so isn't cycling miles to where you want to be each day part of the point? :-) The ferry food is nothing special but it's OK. I just wish the restaurant didn't sway so much! :lol:
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Re: Eurotunnel or ferries?

Postby Cyril Haearn » 20 Sep 2018, 7:59pm

"Rotterdam" is 40 km from Rotterdam :?
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Re: Eurotunnel or ferries?

Postby Slowroad » 21 Sep 2018, 8:07am

Eurotunnel is £20 at the moment, ferries for my dates were £25. As I have mentioned before.
Eurotunnel took an hour to an hour and half all done, ferries take the same time just at sea, with (at my dates) 90 minutes check-in, and a longer wait to get off.
You can call to ask Eurotunnel if they will drop you off at the train station in Calais if you have an onward journey, but it's no more difficult to cycle to the station from the drop-off than the ferry port.
As a cycle-camper the CCC site at Folkestone is near enough - couldn't find a campsite for Dover.
It's worth checking all options! :-)
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Re: Eurotunnel or ferries?

Postby Bonroute » 13 Oct 2018, 11:10am

Rob -Thanks for the post about the Eurotunnel service, I have just used it (£20 approx). I was ignorant about this service. Only two of us plus the driver so they just sent a transit type van. Once through I took a TGV from Calais Frethun to Paris Nord. Then Paris Austerlitz to Tarascon sur Ariege by intercities de nuit for a total of £49. Great value as compared to Eurostar If you have time. You also need to check which trains take whole bikes and which accept bagged (restricted dimensions) via sncf or loco2loco but worth doing.
Thanks again!

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Re: Eurotunnel or ferries?

Postby robgul » 13 Oct 2018, 8:07pm

Bonroute wrote:Rob -Thanks for the post about the Eurotunnel service, I have just used it (£20 approx). I was ignorant about this service. Only two of us plus the driver so they just sent a transit type van. Once through I took a TGV from Calais Frethun to Paris Nord. Then Paris Austerlitz to Tarascon sur Ariege by intercities de nuit for a total of £49. Great value as compared to Eurostar If you have time. You also need to check which trains take whole bikes and which accept bagged (restricted dimensions) via sncf or loco2loco but worth doing.
Thanks again!


Glad it worked. Answering a point above ... in theory the bike service contractor has priority boarding once through the border controls - i.e. should be able to drive straight to the high-vehicle lane for the next available train. I said in theory, it's been a little mixed the last couple of times.

I'm just trying to plan French trains to get from Caen to Tours and back to Caen from Angers in the Loire Vallley ... SNCF doesn't make it easy although the Captain Train booking service does ease the burden.

Rob
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Re: Eurotunnel or ferries?

Postby mjr » 15 Oct 2018, 1:16pm

Bonroute wrote:Rob -Thanks for the post about the Eurotunnel service, I have just used it (£20 approx). I was ignorant about this service. Only two of us plus the driver so they just sent a transit type van. Once through I took a TGV from Calais Frethun to Paris Nord.[...]

How's the ride between the drop-off and Frethun, please?
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