The tank engine, built in 1909 in Ashford, Kent, cannot make its way through the Channel tunnel under its own steam because it would have played havoc with the link's smoke detectors. It would also not fit on a Le Shuttle freight wagon.
The engine, operated by Kent and East Sussex Railway, was requisitioned to haul munitions in Boulogne. K&ESR is being twinned with Chemin de Fer de la Baie de Somme - at Noyelles, 50 miles from Calais. The engine is to join Noyelles' festival of steam this weekend. P&O Ferries was quick to help and relish the irony. "There are things the tunnel simply can't do," a spokesman said.
Photograph: David Giles / PA