Eurotunnel Folkestone Terminal

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Folkestone Terminal
Eurotunnel Shuttle vehicle transport terminal
Folkestone Channel Tunnel car shuttle 3496.JPG
Vehicles disembark from a train at Cheriton
Location Cheriton, Folkestone, Kent,
United Kingdom
Coordinates 51°05′46″N 1°08′06″E / 51.096°N 1.135°E / 51.096; 1.135Coordinates: 51°05′46″N 1°08′06″E / 51.096°N 1.135°E / 51.096; 1.135
Owned by Eurotunnel
Line(s) Channel Tunnel
Platforms 8 island Platform
Tracks 8
Structure type At Grade
Opened 6 May 1994

The Eurotunnel Folkestone Terminal[1] is a railway terminal built for the transport of road-going vehicles on specially constructed trains through the Channel Tunnel. The terminal is one of two, with the Eurotunnel Calais Terminal located at Coquelles, near Calais.


As part of the Channel Tunnel project, the plan for services included the use of dedicated shuttle trains that would carry both passenger and freight vehicles between Britain and France, which would compete with the cross-channel ferries. In order to accommodate these services, it was planned to build a brand new vehicle terminal on each side of the tunnel that would allow cars and lorries to be loaded quickly onto the trains. The site chosen for the British terminal was Cheriton, in Folkestone, Kent, not far from the British tunnel portal.

The site eventually came to nearly 350 acres (140 ha) in area, and was bordered by both Cheriton and Newington. Construction began at the same time as boring for the tunnel, which provided large amounts of soil to be used to stabilise and level the terminal site before construction of the facility was undertaken. At the same time, a pipeline was provided connecting Sandgate and Goodwin Sands for the transport of dredged sand to the site. A 6.5km pipeline was laid from Sangate to the terminal. Dredging was by Westminster Dredging.

The major elements to be built at Cheriton were the platforms and overbridges, which connected the terminal to the M20 motorway, which was completed simultaneously with the tunnel project. The tunnel was officially opened on 6 May 1994, with services between Cheriton and Coquelles beginning in July the same year, when the first freight shuttles started running. Passenger services then started in December 1994.


The terminal consists of eight island platforms, which are each 791 metres in length, with four overbridges connecting them to the motorway. The overbridges are located at approximately equidistant points along the length of the platforms so that vehicles have to drive for as little distance as possible along the platforms themselves; vehicles unloaded from the front to the middle of the train would use the furthest bridge, while those unloaded from the centre to the rear would use the next bridge in, and vice versa for those vehicles embarking. The bridges at the western end of the platforms are intended for embarking vehicles, while those at the eastern end are for those disembarking. The island platforms are separated by single track, allowing vehicles to access the train from both sides.

The terminal is located at the end of a loop connected to the route from the tunnel; trains exiting the tunnel travel clockwise around this loop and then pull into the terminal, meaning the locomotive that pulled the train will remain at the front for the next service through the tunnel. The terminal at Coquelles also has a loop arrangement, but instead trains travel anticlockwise; this is intended to ensure equal wear on the flanges of the wheels.

The terminal has a larger loading gauge than the rest of the British network owing to the oversized trailers used to carry the road going vehicles. As a consequence, all maintenance of the rolling stock is undertaken within the small, self-contained Channel Tunnel rail network, with the major work carried out at Coquelles (which is a much larger facility), and minor work undertaken at Cheriton.

The Eurotunnel rail control centre is located within the Folkestone Terminal.

Preceding station   Eurotunnel   Following station
Terminus   Eurotunnel Shuttle
Channel Tunnel


External links[edit]