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TypeSocietas Europaea
CAC Next 20 Component
IndustryRail transport
FoundedAugust 1986
HeadquartersParis, France
Key people
Jacques Gounon (Chairman)
Yann Leriche (CEO)
ServicesOperation of Channel Tunnel infrastructure; freight rail transport; car shuttle train services
RevenueIncrease €1.085 billion (2019)[1]
Increase €159 million (2019)[1]
Number of employees
SubsidiariesEurotunnel, Europorte, ElecLink, CIFFCO

Getlink, formerly Groupe Eurotunnel, is a European public company based in Paris, that manages and operates the infrastructure of the Channel Tunnel between England and France, operates the Eurotunnel Shuttle train service, and earns revenue on other trains that operate through the tunnel (Eurostar passenger and DB Schenker freight).[2]

There is 50.45 kilometres (31.35 miles) of double track railway in the main tunnels, plus extensive surface-level terminal facilities at Folkestone in England and Calais in France. The rail network for operation of the Eurotunnel Shuttle train services is entirely self contained, with connections near the two terminals to the respective national railway networks. Signalling and electric traction supply are also under Getlink control.


The company was formed on 13 August 1986, with the goal of financing, building and operating a tunnel between England and France.[3] The company awarded a contract for the construction of the tunnel to TransManche Link (TML). The tunnel cost around £9.5 billion to build, about double TML's original estimate of £4.7 billion.[4]

The tunnel was financed partly from investment by shareholders and partly from £8 billion of debt, and was officially opened on 6 May 1994 by Queen Elizabeth II and President François Mitterrand.[3] In its first year of operation, the company lost £925 million because of disappointing revenue from passengers and freight, together with heavy interest charges on its £8 billion of debt.[5]

In April 2004, a dissident shareholder group led by Nicolas Miguet succeeded in taking control of the board. However, in February 2005, Jean-Louis Raymond, the Chief Executive appointed after the boardroom coup, resigned and Jacques Gounon took complete control becoming Chairman and Chief Executive.[6] In July 2006, shareholders voted on a deal that would have seen half the debt, by then reduced to £6.2 billion, exchanged for 87% of the equity.[7][8]

However this plan failed, and on 2 August 2006, the company was placed into bankruptcy protection by a French court for six months.[9] In May 2007, a new restructuring plan was approved by shareholders, whereby Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, and Citigroup agreed to provide £2.8 billion of long term funding, the balance of the debt being exchanged for equity, and the shareholders agreed to waive the unlimited free travel and other perks that they had enjoyed.[10]

In June 2007, the company entered into a partnership through subsidiary Europorte 2 with the Port of Dunkirk relating to rail freight traffic; the company was to operate trains from Dunkirk to the Delta 3 logistics terminal at Dourges, and collaborate on container shipments to the United Kingdom, using the port of Dunkirk via the tunnel.[11][12]

Following the restructuring, Eurotunnel was able to announce a small net profit in 2007, of €1 million, for the first time in its existence.[13][14] Half year earnings for 2008 rose to €26 million (£20.6 million). The net profit for 2008 was €40 million, despite the costs associated with traffic loss from September 2008 to February 2009, following a fire in the tunnel, and this allowed Eurotunnel to issue its first ever dividend of €0.04 per euro value.[15][16]

The return to financial health allowed the company to announce on 28 October 2009, the anticipated voluntary redemption of some of its convertible debt. By anticipating to November 2009 the reimbursement of debt due in July 2010, it aimed to issue up to 119.4 million new ordinary shares, and thus shore up its capital while reducing its debt load.[17]

In December 2009, the company and SNCF acquired Veolia Cargo, splitting the business between them. The company took over French operations: Veolia Cargo France, Veolia Cargo Link, and CFTA Cargo are expected to be rebranded Europorte France, Europorte Link and Europorte proximity and become part of its Europorte freight business. Socorail has not been announced as being rebranded.[18]

In January 2010, the Port of Dunkirk awarded the company a seven-year concession, to operate its 200 km (124 miles) railway system.[19]

In June 2010, the company acquired British railfreight company First GBRf for £31 million from FirstGroup, to be merged into its Europorte. It was rebranded GB Railfreight.[20][21]

On 11 June 2012, a bid by the company for three Channel ferries belonging to the former operator SeaFrance (in liquidation) for lease to another operator was accepted.[22] Eurotunnel acquired the assets of SeaFrance ferries Berlioz, Rodin and Nord Pas-de-Calais. Eurotunnel was chartered to start the MyFerryLink ferry company on 20 August 2012.[23] After years of legal fights over accusations that Eurotunnel operating a ferry line was uncompetitive, the company stopped operating MyFerryLink on 1 July 2015.[24]

Groupe Eurotunnel switched its listing from the London Stock Exchange to Euronext London on 19 July 2012.[25][26]

In the year 2015, statistics estimate that over 10.5 million passengers travelled on the Eurotunnel with 2,556,585 cars, 58,387 coaches and 1,483,741 goods vehicles making use of Eurotunnel's services.[27]

2017-present: change of group name and governance[edit]

On 20 November 2017, Groupe Eurotunnel changed its name to Getlink[28][29] in order to assume the transformation of the group, to turn the page on initial setbacks with an internationally sounding name and to encompass all of its activities, in addition to its historic profession of operator of the Channel Tunnel.[citation needed]

In March 2018, Atlantia (company) acquired the 15.49% stake of Goldman Sachs in Getlink and its 26.66% voting rights, for around 1 billion euros.

In June 2018, Getlink and EY presented the new study on UK - Europe trade flows via the Channel Tunnel to the European Commission.

In May 2019, Getlink celebrated the 25 years of operation of the Channel Tunnel, with the creation of a monumental fresco by the street-art artist YZ on the entrance to the Tunnel on the French side.

In early 2020, the group announced the separation of the positions of chairman of the supervisory board from that of chief executive officer from July 2020. Jacques Gounon remains President and Yann Leriche will be the Chief Executive Officer.

In June 2020, the company dropped its listing on the Euronext London stock exchange, it remains listed on the Euronext Paris market.

Brexit preparation[edit]

Since the Brexit vote, Getlink and its subsidiary Eurotunnel have been preparing for the changes to come. 290 new truck parking spaces at the Coquelles terminal have been added, all the truck controls have been grouped into a single point, the Pit-Stop, 3 additional control lanes at the Coquelles terminal and 2 lanes at the Folkstone were created. A smart border has been developed in collaboration with Customs and a Customs-SIVEP center to carry out additional veterinary and phytosanitary controls has been built.

SAS PARAFE, for the identity check of coach passengers, were installed on the two terminals in 2019 and 300 French and English staff were trained in administrative and customs formalities, veterinary and phytosanitary procedures, checks and document scanning, support and information for customers.

More than 500 institutional visits took place at the Coquelles and Folkestone sites in 2019.

Operations and services[edit]

Vehicle shuttle trains[edit]

The company operates shuttle services with Eurotunnel Class 9 locomotives.

Getlink operates two types of shuttle trains that transport vehicles through the Channel Tunnel along with two terminals to support the operation of the trains. Le Shuttle trains transport personal vehicles and coaches, while Le Shuttle Freight transports large trucks.

Freight train services[edit]

Europorte operates freight trains in France, as well as the cross channel freight services performed by Europorte 2 before 2009. Since the part acquisition of Veolia Cargo in September 2009, it also provides rail transport services to industrial locations through Socorail.

Passenger services[edit]

Getlink hosts, but does not operate, passenger train services through the Channel Tunnel. As of 2020, Eurostar is the only passenger train operator that uses the tunnel, offering services that connects the United Kingdom with France, Belgium & The Netherlands.

Eurostar trains are operated by Eurostar International Limited, whose majority owner is SNCF, the national railway of France. Eurostar International is the largest customer of Getlink, which levies charges (currently £25 per passenger per return journey) for use of the tunnel.[30]

Samphire Hoe[edit]

The company also owns the small nature reserve of Samphire Hoe on the coast of Kent, England, which was created from Channel Tunnel spoil during construction in the 1980s/90s. The road tunnel down, the ventilation area and the reserve itself are all owned by Eurotunnel.

Future operations[edit]

Low cost passenger train service[edit]

In August 2018, Bloomberg Businessweek reported that Getlink is interested in setting up an Ouigo-style low cost high speed rail service between London and Paris, travelling between the railway stations of Stratford International and Charles-de-Gaulle.[31]

Regional rail[edit]

In September 2020, Getlink announces a partnership with RATP Dev to jointly bid under the "Régionéo" brand name for regional rail services in France which will gradually opened to competitive tendering.[32]

Rolling stock[edit]

 Class  Image  Type   Top speed   Number   Routes operated   Built   Notes 
 mph  km/h 
Class 9 Eurotunneltrain.jpg Electric locomotive 100 160 58 Channel Tunnel 1993 Used for vehicle shuttles
Class 92 92027 George Eliot at Stafford.jpg Electric locomotive 87 140 16[33] Channel Tunnel 1993 Used by Europorte Channel for freight services
Class 0001 Diesel locomotive 60 100 5 Rescue locomotive 1992
Class 0031 Diesel locomotive 31 50 12 Shunting 1990

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Getlink, [1] in February 2020
  2. ^ "Website legal information". Getlink. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  3. ^ a b "History". Eurotunnel. 30 November 1984. Archived from the original on 23 November 2010. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
  4. ^ O'Connell, Dominic (8 January 2006). "Channel tunnel project has made Britain £10bn poorer". The Times. Archived from the original on 12 June 2011. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  5. ^ Ipsen, Erik (23 April 1996). "Bank debt causes £925m loss at Eurotunnel". International Herald Tribune. Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
  6. ^ Norris, Floyd (11 June 2005). "Chief of Eurotunnel quits amid turmoil on board". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 25 December 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  7. ^ "Eurotunnel faces debt opposition". BBC News. 4 June 2006. Archived from the original on 15 February 2009.
  8. ^ Harrison, Michael (14 July 2006). "Eurotunnel blames Deutsche as it files for bankruptcy protection". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 20 November 2007. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  9. ^ "Eurotunnel gets court protection". BBC News. 2 August 2006. Archived from the original on 30 April 2008. Retrieved 3 August 2006.
  10. ^ "Eurotunnel 'saved' by investors". BBC News. 25 May 2007. Archived from the original on 2 September 2007. Retrieved 26 May 2007.
  11. ^ "Channel Tunnel freight deal follows crucial vote",, 1 July 2007
  12. ^ "Eurotunnel and the Port of Dunkirk together on rail freight", (in French), 15 June 2007, archived from the original on 18 October 2015
  13. ^ "Pour la première fois de son histoire, Eurotunnel est devenu bénéficiaire". Le Monde. 8 April 2008. Archived from the original on 10 April 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2008.
  14. ^ "PEurotunnel reports first profit". BBC News. 8 April 2008. Archived from the original on 12 March 2010. Retrieved 28 October 2009.
  15. ^ "Premier dividende pour les actionnaires d'Eurotunnel". Le Figaro. 4 March 2009. Archived from the original on 5 March 2009. Retrieved 4 March 2009.
  16. ^ "2008 Summary". Groupe Eurotunnel S.A. 23 March 2009. Archived from the original on 8 October 2009. Retrieved 28 October 2009.
  17. ^ "Eurotunnel tourne la page de sa dette". Le Figaro. 28 October 2009. Archived from the original on 31 October 2009. Retrieved 28 October 2009.
  18. ^ Eurotunnel completes Veolia Cargo takeover Archived 25 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine James Faulkner 1 December 2009
  19. ^ "DUNKERQUE PORT choisit EUROTUNNEL pour l'exploitation et la maintenance de son réseau férré", (in French), 13 January 2010, archived from the original on 19 June 2013
  20. ^ FIRSTGROUP PLC : Disposal of rail freight business[permanent dead link] PR Newswire Europe via COMTEX, 1 June 2010, via
  21. ^ Eurotunnel buys GBRf from FirstGroup Archived 18 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine 1 June 2010,
  22. ^ Wright, Robert (11 June 2012). "Eurotunnel to take over SeaFrance vessels". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 20 June 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  23. ^ Smith, Peter C. (2012). Offshore Ferry Services of England and Scotland. Pen and Sword. p. 70. ISBN 9781848846654. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  24. ^ MyFerryLink : Eurotunnel cède deux bateaux au Danois DFDS
  25. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 January 2017. Retrieved 16 March 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  26. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 August 2014. Retrieved 16 March 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  27. ^ "Eurotunnel statistics for use during 2015".
  28. ^ Eurotunnel rebrands as Getlink Archived 1 December 2017 at the Wayback Machine International Railway Journal 20 November 2017
  29. ^ Group Eurotunnel rebrands as Getlink Archived 2 December 2017 at the Wayback Machine Railway Gazette International 20 November 2017
  30. ^ "Interview with Eurostar Chief Executive" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2009. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
  31. ^ "The Discount Airline Model Is Coming for Europe's Railways". Bloomberg Businessweek. 17 August 2018.
  32. ^ "Getlink et la RATP lancent Régionéo" (in French). 15 September 2020. Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  33. ^ "Eurotunnel's Rail Buy". Daily Express. 19 July 2011. Archived from the original on 1 August 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2011.

Further reading[edit]

  • "Eurotunnel operations in profit for the first time". RAIL. No. 325. EMAP Apex Publications. 25 February – 10 March 1998. p. 9. ISSN 0953-4563. OCLC 49953699.

External links[edit]

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