Eurotunnel Third Generation freight, image:

Eurotunnel’s new ‘third generation’ freight wagons

Eurotunnel has strengthened its rail freight fleet by investing 40 million Euros in the acquisition of three new ‘third generation’ freight shuttles. Built by WBN Waggonbau Niesky (WBN), each one of the 800 metre-long shuttles comprise 32 carrier wagons and three loaders.

The boom in the digital economy and high concentration of cross-Channel traffic onto the shortest routes – not least because of the reduced carbon footprint – means demand for Eurotunnel’s Le Shuttle freight service between France and the UK is set to continue its rapid growth. The company aims to be transporting two million trucks a year by 2020.

Energy efficiency

Made to order by German-based WBN, the new shuttles benefit from the latest technology, ensuring energy efficiency, strength and reliability. They will provide Le Shuttle Freight with an additional 20 per cent capacity, with up to eight departures every hour through the 51 kilometre-long tunnel. The shuttles went through a rigorous final testing phase in February, consisting of 80 loaded and uninterrupted crossings through the tunnel. A shuttle was loaded with 32 trucks, each filled up with water containers, so that each weighed between 36 and 39 tonnes, to create a realistic test environment.

Jacques Gounon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Groupe Eurotunnel SE, said:”With the entry into service of three new freight shuttles, for the first time since January 1999 Eurotunnel starts a new phase of its development by offering, on top of the speed of crossing, an unrivalled frequency of departure.”

New contract

Europorte France meanwhile, the rail freight subsidiary of the Eurotunnel Group, has entered into a new two-year contract to transport raw materials used for the production of PVC by Vynova from its plants in Tessenderlo in Belgium to Mazingarbe in France. Europorte is providing five to six trains per week.

Following a succesful tender process, Europorte France was selected by Vynova and rail freight forwarder Forwardis on the basis of its capacity to provide a seamless end-to-end service, thanks to the use of E4000 TBL1+ locomotives on both the Belgian and French networks.


Pascal Sainson, Chairman of Europorte, said: “Signing this contract not only underlines Europorte France’s ability to meet the expectations of its customers while optimising its fleet of locomotives, but also underlines the expertise of its staff who operate on both national networks. Europorte is proud to demonstrate its capacity to develop new markets with high-performance potential.”

Author: Simon Weedy

Simon is a journalist for - a dedicated online platform for all the news about the rail freight sector

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Eurotunnel’s new ‘third generation’ freight wagons |