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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Tunnel or Ferry from Calais

mandy hall

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I always use the ferry, so I do not have to drive 20 miles to get on the train and am home 15 minutes after landing in Dover.  The M20 roadworks are for the allegedly Smart Motorway and a new interchange at Ashford.


I have noticed that if the Tunnel fails all cars are put on the ferry anyway.  There are very occasional delays on the ferry, normally occasioned by high winds or engine faults, 


I did a return trip to Calais last weekend on the ferry for £82.   Even if you book the non-flexible cheapest ticket and arrive sufficiently early at the port for the previous ferry you are put on the earlier ferry.  


Getting through the French Customs is normally speedy, it is the British Immigration that is always slow, or do I have the magic ability to pull up behind the car that has suspicious characters in it?



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There and back again yesterday. No delays. In fact, on the return journey we got an earlier train. If we balance the times we get an earlier crossing against the delays, the time saved well outweighs the occasional delay.

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I have been out and back on the shuttle twice in the past week and had a very smooth passage through check in, passport control, and security on all 4 legs.

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Horses for courses; if you have a long journey down to Dover it is good to have the break from driving and to be able to stroll around, take the sea air and so forth. Although I have used the Shuttle occasionally, I have stuck to the ferry for the last fifteen years or so and have had no problems in that time, except once, when I got diverted to the Shuttle (some disruption on the French side with some industrial dispute or other); and it also happened to em the other way when I had a Shuttle ticket.


As regards taking a car or not - it rather depends on what you hope to achieve in your trip over and how much literature and associated battlefield paraphernalia you need to carry around - camera, books, folder/note book, maps then and now etc can make for quite a weight. And you are reliant on public transport getting you to where you need to go; not too bad in the Salient, pretty dismal on the Somme and all but non existent in the Argonne.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am now back from my holiday.  Biggest problem is actually all the roadworks on the M23 and and M20, only just made our tunnel crossing due to the speed restrictions.  Some people’s idea of 50 mph, is very strange.  


Coming back we arrived at the tunnel 24 hours early, didn’t take as long to get back from German coast as I thought and there are plenty of roadworks with speed restrictions that people are obeying without the need for cameras. Initially we were quoted 93 euros to get on any train before midnight after a bit of discussion, we were offered the 21.20, a 3 hour wait for free.  This we accepted, we could eat and then sleep.  Well we didn’t get any sleep, eurotunnel must have been testing every alarm at the terminal.  It was pretty obvious it was actually very quiet, no cars at the terminal.  We decided to go the boarding area as soon as the train in front of us closed, thinking first on, first of and promptly got waved onto the train before ours that was still sitting at the platform.


So all in all the only waiting around was created by us getting to the tunnel early.



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2 hours ago, mandy hall said:

I  We decided to go the boarding area as soon as the train in front of us closed, thinking first on, first of and promptly got waved onto the train before ours that was still sitting at the platform.




I always wondered why some people insisted on heading off for "their" train some minutes before they were being invited to proceed, as per the departure board ....... :D

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The roadworks on the M20 are to continue for some considerable time yet. Junction 10A isn't due for completion for a year. By the way I am no expert but how a junction about 1/4 of a mile from an existing junction helps anything I don’t understand, but hey what do I know. So best allow extra time to reach the tunnel or Dover for the next twelve months or so.  

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There is regular gridlock on the roads around the existing Junction 10.  I know several people who get stuck in it every day.  There is a large hospital just to the north of this junction and heavy traffic has caused issues with ambulances that have been delayed in emergency situations, sometimes with tragic results.


There is a lot of development ongoing nearby, including significant numbers of new houses.  There is also a big expansion planned for an existing lorry park which, even if the "B" word didn't exist, is desperately needed.  There are too many lorries parking, sometimes dangerously and often illegally, in laybys overnight, leaving behind rubbish and worse.


If the planners have got their sums right the new Junction 10A should significantly reduce this by moving a lot of the traffic on to a new dual carriage way that will keep things flowing better and which will allow traffic that is not actually for Ashford to bypass it better.


At the current Junction 10 two of the four slip roads will be closed.  You will no longer be able to join the M20 from there going coast bound.  Also you will not be able to leave the M20 there going westbound.


We've had the recent "bonus" of the coast bound speed limit through these works being raised from 50 to 60mph.  It is still 50mph westbound.  Both of these are enforced with average speed cameras.  This work should be completed by this time next year.


I don't live in Ashford but commute through it every day on the M20.  This new junction is the least of the issues on the M20.  It's only 50 miles long but when travelling westbound just over 50% of the M20 is currently affected by roadworks.


The road is down to two lanes, with no hard shoulder and a 50mph average speed limit, from Junction 9 to nearly Junction 7, which is around 15 miles.  This is for Operation Brock, which is a different name for the "B" word.  This will be in place until 31 October, and closer to that date I expect the coast bound carriageway to be closed and changed back to a potential, if not actual, lorry park.  Then it will be two lanes and a 50mph limit in both directions.  I suspect that may be in place for some time.


Finally there are narrow lanes and a 50mph average speed limit in both directions from Junction 6 through to just beyond Junction 3 (the M20/M26 split), which is around 8 or 9 miles.  This is to convert this section to a "smart" motorway i.e. the hard shoulder becomes an active lane.  While it can be very busy through this section every rush hour I'm not sure this is the best solution.  Having smarter drivers would be a better option!  This work is scheduled to finish early next year.


I've been doing this commute for over 4 years and have witnessed some of the worst driving I've ever seen.  In the two lane section I've been overtaken by lorries that must be doing 10mph over the limit.  The majority of these are foreign registered.  While some of them are from the "usual suspects" of Poland, Romania and Bulgaria the worst offenders are the Dutch.  I've been overtaken by cars going significantly faster than that, with around half being UK registered.  I don't know if the speed cameras are working but they are having no effect on a significant percentage of traffic.  You rarely see police patrolling the M20 now or even just parked in their laybys or on over-bridges acting as deterrents.  You are more likely to see them involved in clearing up the pieces after accidents.

The only advantage of these roadworks is that by having to drive to a reduced speed limit I'm getting a lot more miles to the gallon than I used to!  Of course I'm paying for this with slower journey times.  This is a good week for me.  A bank holiday means only four commutes!  And with this being half-term the traffic should be reduced.





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I realise the aims, and the problems. I used to work at the hospital you mention. I hope they have got their sums right.


Interestingly when we moved to our current house about ten miles from Ashford 32 years ago,  the M20 from Maidstone was still a twinkle in road planners eye, the main route being the A20 or via Leeds and Sutton Valence. The roads that linked to the M20 and which are now being ripped up and the “Industrial” Estates and the Outlet Centre didn’t exist, they were all green fields where sheep could safely graze. As you rightly say hundreds of acres of further green fields are being swallowed up in new estates both housing and other, the Outlet Centre is being extended. 


Unless their calculations are truly future proof presumably in 30 years all this will be ripped up to accommodate yet more roads and estates. Progress of course. But I shan't be around to see it. 

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we run along the M20 half a dozen times a year each way, our first year we were spoilt , no roadworks, since then we have changed from night time travel to day time as the night diversions made us late, poor sineage , more traffic during the day but at least the motorway still runs.

as for calculations, 1971 when I lived in a small village we used to play in the fields and fish the river, when they built the M4 we walked along the top, over the river or climbed through the tunnels below the bridge . We used to walk up and down while the course was being laid down, never thought it would be as busy as it is today.  There are so many roads around our area that were constructed and at the time allowance taken for a second lane each side, which are now over crowded and widening planned or being carried out. cost now is very high but presumably not in the budget of the builders/council at the time.

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