• France's news in English

Hopes rise for Calais-Kent commuter link

Matthew Warren · 21 Oct 2011, 08:00

Published: 21 Oct 2011 10:38 GMT+02:00
Updated: 21 Oct 2011 08:00 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

There is growing momentum for a cross-Channel "metro" link from the French port of Calais to the English county of Kent, after a meeting on Thursday between business leaders and politicians.


The meeting, held in the Kent town of Ashford, discussed the possibility of a 25-minute train service Ashford and the French port of Calais. 

Newspaper Le Figaro quoted French company boss, Olivier Cadic, who based his business in Ashford and supports a cross-Channel link. 

"We have a hard time recruiting because the high costs of accommodation in Kent mean people on modest salaries find it hard to live here," he said. "Yet, just on  the other side of the Channel, in Calais, there's 25 percent unemployment."

The French train operator, SNCF, already has a number of its regional TER trains that are equipped to run through the tunnel. They were bought with an earlier Lille-Manchester project in mind. 

Existing high-speed Javelin trains which run in the south-east of England could also be used to run through the tunnel without any technical modification. 

The prospect of the link was given a further boost earlier in October when Eurotunnel, which owns and operates the tunnel, said it would offer cash incentives to launch the service.

Jacques Gounon, the Eurotunnel chief executive, said he thought a regular service between Kent and the Nord-Pas de Calais region would help boost the economy by letting people commute to work on either side of the Channel.

"We cannot understand why such a connection doesn't already exist," he told a jobs fair in Calais, reported the Kent Online website. "I'm willing to make some discounts if tolls are an issue because I believe we must take the lead."

The tunnel is currently used for Eurostar high-speed train services between London, Paris and Brussels as well as for Eurotunnel trains that carry cars and trucks. Just 55 percent of the tunnel's capacity is currently used.

Some of the Eurostar trains link Ashford and Calais but services are too infrequent and prices too high for a regular commute.

The French Consul General in London is optimistic. "It's certain that this will happen," he said. "You just have to look at a map to see how the two regions complement each other."

Le Figaro reported that the ball is now in the court of the Nord-Pas de Calais region who need to decide whether there is sufficient demand to support the link. 



Matthew Warren (news.france@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

2011-10-25 16:14:52 by Fiennoise
If anyone's interested, we are selling our pretty stone former farmhouse just 10 minutes from Calais International station. You can see it here: http://www.green-acres.com/en/properties/38838.htm
Today's headlines
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available