Channel tunnel trains will not sell refreshments: Operator provides lavatories but not other facilities.

THE TRAINS that will take cars and coaches through the Channel tunnel will have no facilities for drinks or refreshments during the journey, the operator Eurotunnel confirmed yesterday.

Enormous Le Shuttle trains, which are 5.6m high (18ft), one-third of a mile long and take up to 180 cars, were shown at Calais for the first time yesterday by Eurotunnel which took over the tunnel last week.

Christopher Garnett, Eurotunnel's commercial director, said there was no need for any facilities: 'The journey will only take 35 minutes. There is a toilet every third carriage but we didn't feel that we needed to provide anything else.'

Nor will there be much to entertain the passengers. There are only five small windows on each level of the 24 carriages - half of them double- deckers - that will make up the trains. Mr Garnett said the size of the windows had been dictated by safety requirements for the 31-mile journey through the tunnel at speeds of up to 85mph. 'In any case, there is a lot of artificial light inside,' he said.

The compartments, which will each take five cars, are roomy enough for people to leave their vehicles to stretch their legs. But unlike the ferries, which have become floating hypermarkets, there will be nowhere for them to go except the lavatory - no shops, no duty frees, not even a drinks machine.

The ribbed aluminium carriages, said by Eurotunnel to be the most sophisticated ever built to cope with the stringent safety requirements, look like a Fifties fantasy spaceship.

Inside, each compartment is separated from its neighbour by a fire gate, and there will be six crew in addition to the two drivers to deal with any emergency. Each train, which cost about pounds 40m, has 100 emergency doors, 380 cameras and monitors, and display panels visible from each car giving information on the journey's progress.

Motorists will use one of four loaders to drive on to the train and Mr Garnett dismissed any doubts about how long this process will take. He said: 'Motorists will get from British motorway to French motorway in an hour, saving an hour and a half on the ferry'.

He said that on a windswept day like yesterday, where squally showers prevented hovercraft from operating and delayed ferries, time savings would be much greater.

Eurotunnel claims it will take only eight minutes to unload each train and as customs will be cleared before entry on to the train, motorists will be free to drive straight off on to the motorway system. There will be no bookings and Eurotunnel expects most people to buy their tickets from toll booths at the entry to the terminals. Mr Garnett said there would be four price bands covering winter, spring/autumn, summer, and peak time Fridays and weekends. But unlike ferries there would only be one price for any particular day.

Although details are not being disclosed until 12 January when tickets go on sale, Mr Garnett said that fares would be broadly in line with those of ferries.

Services for lorry shuttles, which are being kept entirely separate from cars, will start on 7 March. But delays to delivery of the rolling stock means that Eurotunnel will only start passenger shuttles on 7 May, the day after the official opening of the tunnel by the Queen and President Francois Mitterrand.

Initially there will be two shuttles an hour, moving to four at peak times, with a 24- hour service every day of the year.

(Photograph omitted)

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea