Feature, Freight News, Road

More wagons roll for Eurotunnel

[ April 28, 2017   //   ]

Eurotunnel is taking delivery of its first new shuttle rolling stock since 1999, in response to surging freight demand. It introduced the first of three new 35-wagon freight shuttle trains (32 truck carrying wagons and three loading wagons) in February, with a further two due to go into service in the next few months, bringing the total number of freight shuttles to 18 and boosting the Tunnel truck-carrying capacity by 20%.

This would allow the Tunnel to handle 2 million trucks a year by 2020, Eurotunnel group chairman and chief executive, Jacques Gounon, told invited guests at a ceremony in Calais to launch the new wagons on 28 April.

In a later interview he revealed that Eurotunnel has an option to buy to further similar shuttle sets, although it is understood that further additions to the locomotive fleet might then be needed to handle the extra traffic.

The three new shuttle sets will allow Eurotunnel to offer a freight shuttle departure every seven minutes at peak times.

While the new shuttle wagons look at first simplified version of the older wagons, which featured latticed superstructures or overhead ‘pagodas’, Gounon paid tribute the huge amount of work by his technical to ensure that they were the most efficient and aerodynamic wagons yet in the Eurotunnel fleet.

However, while they may lack some of the technical refinements of the latest versions, the old shuttle wagons have plenty of life in them yet, Gounon insisted. “The originals are in good condition. The decision on whether to replace them probably depends on the point at which the higher cost of maintenance outweighs the cost of new wagons.

Eurotunnel uses its freight shuttle rolling stock intensively. The new shuttle sets will be expected to perform single 20 trips per day in regular service.