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Thread: First time using the EuroTunnel... any tips?

  1. #1
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    First time using the EuroTunnel... any tips?

    I'm heading to the Continent for a few days and thinking of using the Eurotunnel for the first time. When I go to book, it gives two hour time slots (1600-1800, 1800-2000 etc), so does this mean I need to arrive two hours in advance... e.g. - 1800 arrival for 2000 departure?

    Any advice or tips received gratefully. I'll be driving through France and Switzerland, so guessing I need to keep to the speed limits too.

  2. #2
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    When I have booked it has always been for a specific departure time. I usually get there early and usually they put you on an earlier train.

    I always use the tunnel now, especially since then P&O mass sacking.

    Their Twitter feed and app are pretty good for updates.

    I typically book a specific time out and a flexible back.

    Don’t forget the motorway sticker for Switzerland.

    Get one of these for the French tolls, make the long journey easier.

    https://www.emovis-tag.co.uk/
    Last edited by Montello; 22nd September 2022 at 21:38.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by W44NNE View Post
    I'm heading to the Continent for a few days and thinking of using the Eurotunnel for the first time. When I go to book, it gives two hour time slots (1600-1800, 1800-2000 etc), so does this mean I need to arrive two hours in advance... e.g. - 1800 arrival for 2000 departure?

    Any advice or tips received gratefully. I'll be driving through France and Switzerland, so guessing I need to keep to the speed limits too.
    If you arrive early for the EuroTunnel you can often go through before your normal time, so allow yourself time, turn up with plenty to spare and youíll be fine. Unless itís a really busy time youíll go through faster. Youíll be allocated a precise train when you complete your booking but Iíve rarely stuck to it.

    Speeding: just donít. Cruising at 140kph (French motorways are 130 in the dry) is fine, any more will get you a ticket. Not sure whether they still come through automatically post-Brexit, but I still wince at the 5 tickets I got after one trip. A new S Class was to blame. Switzerland is still more prescriptive, at least on the motorways.

  4. #4
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    I'm an idiot and didn't click the time slot... I now see that it gives you specific times at the next stage.

    I'll book the 2020 train which is slightly cheaper, hoping that I can take a slightly earlier train. Purchased the vignette and I think my Spanish Emovis tag works in France too but I'll confirm.

    Good to know about Switzerland as that's my destination and I'm heading for the mountain passes... which will hopefully still be open by the time I arrive. I've also got winter tyres and wheels being installed next week.

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    Quote Originally Posted by W44NNE View Post
    I'm an idiot and didn't click the time slot... I now see that it gives you specific times at the next stage.

    I'll book the 2020 train which is slightly cheaper, hoping that I can take a slightly earlier train. Purchased the vignette and I think my Spanish Emovis tag works in France too but I'll confirm.

    Good to know about Switzerland as that's my destination and I'm heading for the mountain passes... which will hopefully still be open by the time I arrive. I've also got winter tyres and wheels being installed next week.
    Sounds like you are all set, the mountains can be snowy but unlikely you will have any problems. Itís a great place to be Ö enjoy.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Montello View Post
    Sounds like you are all set, the mountains can be snowy but unlikely you will have any problems. Itís a great place to be Ö enjoy.
    Thanks, appreciate the advice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by W44NNE View Post
    Thanks, appreciate the advice.
    Regarding snow I have never seen it lay in September but I have seen it in the air Ö then enjoyed 25 C in the valley.

    Which passes have you got planned?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Montello View Post
    Regarding snow I have never seen it lay in September but I have seen it in the air Ö then enjoyed 25 C in the valley.

    Which passes have you got planned?
    I donít want to state when Iím going on a public forum, but itíll be more likely thereís snow/ice conditions around for sure. The winter tyres and wheels should suffice but it depends when the passes close etc.

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    Grand Master Foxy100's Avatar
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    I recommend taking a good stock of Britsh cheese, it's highly unlikely you'll be able to find any once in France.
    "A man of little significance"

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foxy100 View Post
    I recommend taking a good stock of Britsh cheese, it's highly unlikely you'll be able to find any once in France.
    Iím much more interested in the wine lol

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by W44NNE View Post
    I'm an idiot and didn't click the time slot... I now see that it gives you specific times at the next stage.

    I'll book the 2020 train which is slightly cheaper, hoping that I can take a slightly earlier train. Purchased the vignette and I think my Spanish Emovis tag works in France too but I'll confirm.

    Good to know about Switzerland as that's my destination and I'm heading for the mountain passes... which will hopefully still be open by the time I arrive. I've also got winter tyres and wheels being installed next week.
    Youíll be sorted; if thereís buckets of snow in the Swiss Alps youíre in trouble, but itís unlikely. Take your time on the hills though; slow down a little and enjoy the beauty. Itís tempting to go full-tilt at the twisties but unless youíre an absolute trackday demon youíll realise that slower is waaay better.

    Have a good trip.

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    I didnít post earlier as you said ďin a few daysĒ and previous posters covered it well. But if youíre going later in the year you may want to carry chains too, as some passes are closed to vehicles without them.
    'Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain' - Schiller.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Longblackcoat View Post
    Youíll be sorted; if thereís buckets of snow in the Swiss Alps youíre in trouble, but itís unlikely. Take your time on the hills though; slow down a little and enjoy the beauty. Itís tempting to go full-tilt at the twisties but unless youíre an absolute trackday demon youíll realise that slower is waaay better.

    Have a good trip.
    Youíre right. I have a favourite road I cover as quickly as possible in Spain. Driven it loads of times, and then recently I had reason to drive it slow. The beauty was nuts around it. I wonít be going fast if itís icey, winter tyres or not :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    I didnít post earlier as you said ďin a few daysĒ and previous posters covered it well. But if youíre going later in the year you may want to carry chains too, as some passes are closed to vehicles without them.
    Yeah thatís a good point. I donít think Iíll need them but might look in to options just in case.

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    Make sure you have plenty of petrol in the tank if you're going up mountains and through passes. Motorways in Switzerland are a bit slow down/speed up at every slip road and tunnel and often for no apparent reason at all. Snow tyres should be fine, unless you're really unlucky. Never had a problem in 20 years of driving through Switzerland. As others have said, chill out, don't speed in either country, and enjoy the views.

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    I've turned up at the tunnel 4h early in the past and no issues they just put us on an earlier train if there's room.

    In terms of the Alpine passes, the biggest worry is your brakes on the downhill. They are endless so can cook your brakes if you are feathering them all the time. Stick it in a low gear and let the engine slow you.

    If you go truly high, like the col de la bonette, you also need to watch your temperatures. My mates Elise was reading sky high every 5 minutes and needed parking to cool down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EBB21 View Post
    Make sure you have plenty of petrol in the tank if you're going up mountains and through passes. Motorways in Switzerland are a bit slow down/speed up at every slip road and tunnel and often for no apparent reason at all. Snow tyres should be fine, unless you're really unlucky. Never had a problem in 20 years of driving through Switzerland. As others have said, chill out, don't speed in either country, and enjoy the views.
    Quote Originally Posted by pete-r View Post
    I've turned up at the tunnel 4h early in the past and no issues they just put us on an earlier train if there's room.

    In terms of the Alpine passes, the biggest worry is your brakes on the downhill. They are endless so can cook your brakes if you are feathering them all the time. Stick it in a low gear and let the engine slow you.

    If you go truly high, like the col de la bonette, you also need to watch your temperatures. My mates Elise was reading sky high every 5 minutes and needed parking to cool down.
    Yeah thanks, good tips. Iíll take the GR Yaris for this one and it does well in these sorts of environments with massive brakes (for its weight), AWD and a turbo.

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    French Government are subsidising fuel just now to tune of 30c/ltr. BUT - many supermarkets are not the cheapest any more.

    Look out for Total stations, where 98RON fuel can be Ä1.60/ltr or even lower in some places.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackal View Post
    French Government are subsidising fuel just now to tune of 30c/ltr. BUT - many supermarkets are not the cheapest any more.

    Look out for Total stations, where 98RON fuel can be €1.60/ltr or even lower in some places.
    This is good news! I was in Spain recently where they’re doing the same… nothing beats a discount at the till on premium fuel lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by W44NNE View Post

    Any advice or tips received gratefully. I'll be driving through France and Switzerland, so guessing I need to keep to the speed limits too.
    As others have said, be reeeeaaalllly careful in CH with the speed limits. Iíve been (stupidly) caught a number of times and itís bloody painful on the wallet. The local traffic will know where the m/way cameras are and slow down in plenty of time.

    Have a brilliant time.

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    I have been early and even missed my allotted train, but never had a problem and always been waved through for the next train. Donít forget your hi-viz vests, best draped over the seat-backs so they are visible, as well as your headlight beam adjusters, U.K. sticker, breathalyser kit, spare bulbs and all the usual paraphernalia of requirements for driving in France. Donít speed by anything more than 1kph. Enjoy.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by W44NNE View Post
    Yeah thanks, good tips. Iíll take the GR Yaris for this one and it does well in these sorts of environments with massive brakes (for its weight), AWD and a turbo.
    I was in an 800kg vx220 with pagid rs14 endurance racing pads and they were crying by the end.

    I have a video somewhere on the stelvio pass in the snow, no transaction control and doggie paddling at the wheel...

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barchettaman View Post
    As others have said, be reeeeaaalllly careful in CH with the speed limits. Iíve been (stupidly) caught a number of times and itís bloody painful on the wallet. The local traffic will know where the m/way cameras are and slow down in plenty of time.

    Have a brilliant time.
    Quote Originally Posted by yumma View Post
    I have been early and even missed my allotted train, but never had a problem and always been waved through for the next train. Donít forget your hi-viz vests, best draped over the seat-backs so they are visible, as well as your headlight beam adjusters, U.K. sticker, breathalyser kit, spare bulbs and all the usual paraphernalia of requirements for driving in France. Donít speed by anything more than 1kph. Enjoy.
    The speeding scenario is pretty worrying. How is it on the mountain passes (if open) for cameras?

    Quote Originally Posted by pete-r View Post
    I was in an 800kg vx220 with pagid rs14 endurance racing pads and they were crying by the end.

    I have a video somewhere on the stelvio pass in the snow, no transaction control and doggie paddling at the wheel...
    Hahaha now that sounds like my idea of a good time!

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Barchettaman View Post
    As others have said, be reeeeaaalllly careful in CH with the speed limits. Iíve been (stupidly) caught a number of times and itís bloody painful on the wallet. The local traffic will know where the m/way cameras are and slow down in plenty of time.

    Have a brilliant time.
    Donít know how CH works but my son has been flashed couple of times in France this year and no fines issued. In the past Iíve always received in the post pretty promptly.

    Brexit I supposeÖ

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Donít know how CH works but my son has been flashed couple of times in France this year and no fines issued. In the past Iíve always received in the post pretty promptly.

    Brexit I supposeÖ
    I (my wife) have been flashed a few times and had nothing

    They loiter before the peageÖ. Either gun you or check your time between peage gates

    Payment a couple of years back was cash only

    Never bothered with all the French gubbins although I do think we have high viz?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfie View Post
    I (my wife) have been flashed a few times and had nothing

    They loiter before the peageÖ. Either gun you or check your time between peage gates

    Payment a couple of years back was cash only

    Never bothered with all the French gubbins although I do think we have high viz?
    They do not time between peage gates- thatís a pub tale.

    The French were, however simply handing over large batches of speeding fines to UK debt-collection agencies which took longer to filter through to your doorstep. That was prior to full departure from EU.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Donít know how CH works but my son has been flashed couple of times in France this year and no fines issued. In the past Iíve always received in the post pretty promptly.

    Brexit I supposeÖ
    Hmm. I was in a car on German plates, and obviously thereís a reciprocal arrangement between CH and DE, so I wouldnít take the risk in CH as it was never in the EU to begin with. The likelihood is that nothing changed Post Brexit.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by W44NNE View Post
    The speeding scenario is pretty worrying. How is it on the mountain passes (if open) for cameras?

    Hahaha now that sounds like my idea of a good time!
    Never seen a camera or police on any of the passes. Iíve always trundled through any villages quite peacefully then you can get a bit more flow when you get to the faster limits.

    You donít want to go too fast though, youíll miss the view!




  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by pete-r View Post
    Never seen a camera or police on any of the passes. Iíve always trundled through any villages quite peacefully then you can get a bit more flow when you get to the faster limits.

    You donít want to go too fast though, youíll miss the view!
    Looks amazing. Iíll share some photos of my tripÖ hopefully as snowy as your pics

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackal View Post
    They do not time between peage gates- thatís a pub tale.

    The French were, however simply handing over large batches of speeding fines to UK debt-collection agencies which took longer to filter through to your doorstep. That was prior to full departure from EU.
    AhÖ. There you goÖ. I got gunned, but was told that time checks happened by an old bossÖ. He was a bit of a kn@b

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfie View Post
    Ah…. There you go…. I got gunned, but was told that time checks happened by an old boss…. He was a bit of a kn@b
    If you think about it - I have a Sanef Tag, which allows me to sail through the tolls without even stopping. My pal needs to stop and take a ticket/pay a ticket, and get his gloves back on. By that time, I can be a mile away.

    One of us might appear to be speeding. (me)

    Have a good trip, and don't skimp on fuel quality - it's a relative bargain over there this year!

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackal View Post
    If you think about it - I have a Sanef Tag, which allows me to sail through the tolls without even stopping. My pal needs to stop and take a ticket/pay a ticket, and get his gloves back on. By that time, I can be a mile away.

    One of us might appear to be speeding. (me)

    Have a good trip, and don't skimp on fuel quality - it's a relative bargain over there this year!
    Itís not me going! I went in August, although today I just got my £112 bill from Sanef paidÖ. Love the tagsÖ. Itís a competition about quickly you can get through the 30km barriersÖ. A low stake game of chicken!

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfie View Post
    Itís not me going! I went in August, although today I just got my £112 bill from Sanef paidÖ. Love the tagsÖ. Itís a competition about quickly you can get through the 30km barriersÖ. A low stake game of chicken!
    Lost sight of that..........................

    Even on the normal e-tag lanes I manage to get away without actually coming to a halt - on my bike.

  33. #33
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    Always remember that you do a lot of climbing very quickly on the passes. We went from icy rain to snowflakes the size of 50p pieces in approximately two minutes and started to lose traction. We had just gone past a "passing place" so reversed back and turned round (took another couple of minutes). By then, we were literally snow ploughing our way down the slope towards a hairpin bend. As you braked, you lost the steering (rear wheel drive car) and as you released the brake, to get the steering back, you picked up speed towards the hairpin bend. The tyres finally gripped about ten metres from the bend (and drop!). We got around the bend and then had a steady drive back to the tunnel. Through the tunnel, the sun was in charge!

    A little taster (not me!) :-
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSTS3w6Wvs4
    Last edited by tixntox; Today at 13:20.

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by tixntox View Post
    As you braked, you lost the steering (rear wheel drive car) and as you released the brake, to get the steering back,
    A minor point but Iím not sure that I understand this: Iím presuming that youíre saying that the wheels locked up as soon as you applied the brakes. But what has RWD got to do with that?

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by W44NNE View Post
    II think my Spanish Emovis tag works in France too but I'll confirm.
    Definitely worth checking. I have the French one and I'm pretty sure that it doesn't work in Spain.

    Also, in the "exceedingly unlikely" category, if you've converted your Yaris to LPG, I don't think that you could use EuroTunnel! :-)

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