'Absolutely horrendous' Furious holidaymakers lash out over Eurotunnel traffic hell

Travel delays spread from Dover to Eurotunnel in Folkestone

During this weekend, tens of thousands of frustrated families heading for the Port of Dover endured chaos when trying to cross the Channel into France because of delays at passport checks. The hold-ups have been blamed on more border checks after Brexit and French authorities’ understaffing of checkpoints in Dover. Only half of the 12 passport check booths were open at the huge port as the chaotic scenes began unfolding on Friday.

The traffic hell around the Port of Dover is finally easing and this afternoon began “flowing normally”.

But there is still chaos around the Eurotunnel at Folkestone, with some families forced to spend around 21 hours trying to make the crossing.

Members of the coastguard are handing out bottled water to the stranded motorists as scorching temperatures hover around 25C.

Father-of-three Manesh Luthra left his Essex home with his family at 4am on Saturday and only reached close to the Eurotunnel just before 6am today.

eurotunnel traffic

Motorists have vented their fury over the huge Eurotunnel traffic jams (Image: REUTERS / HENRY NICHOLLS )

eurotunnel disruption

There has been huge traffic chaos around the Eurotunnel at Folkestone (Image: REUTERS / HENRY NICHOLLS)

He told the BBC: “We joined the back of the queue for what was the worst 21 hours experienced. We moved metres in hours.”

Mr Luthra said he and his family considered giving up and turning back “numerous times” as they received “no info, no support and no supplies”.

The motorist added: “It was savage. I was worried there would be an accident.”

Holidaymaker Joan, who is travelling with her disabled sister, told LBC they had only been able to travel one mile in eight hours, describing the situation as “absolutely horrendous”.

READ MORE: British holidaymakers told to ‘shun’ France if they’re not welcome

eurotunnel traffic jams

Motorists have been left furious by the Eurotunnel traffic chaos (Image: GARETH FULLER / PA WIRE)

She said: “We left our hotel and at 8.30am we entered the traffic jam – this is where we have been all day long. We have moved a mile in eight hours.

“It is absolutely horrendous, there are people passing out, we have had no police presence, there are people ringing 999, we have had no information.

“The hard shoulder is like a public urinal now.

“People are trying to give their dogs exercise. People are running out of water.”

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dover traffic

Tens of thousands of families have been stuck in long queues heading to the Port of Dover (Image: GETTY)

dover disruption

Brexit has been blamed by many for the travel problems (Image: GETTY)

A man named Eugene, who was travelling with his wife and two children by Eurotunnel, described it as a “stressful” experience being stuck for eight hours in the car before eventually being able to board a train.

The 53-year-old said: “Have made this journey a number of times pre-pandemic and pre-Brexit. No such issues apart from occasional minor delay. A shame that this has occurred.”

Jen Knight and her husband Jody, from Eastleigh in Hampshire, decided to stay overnight in Ashford on Saturday.

But their hopes of the chaos easing today were dashed as after leaving at 5.30am today, they did not make it to the Eurotunnel until after 1pm.

Mrs Knight told the BBC: “The diversion signs around Kent were a joke. The M20 was closed and there was confusion over the diversion routes.

brexit timeline

Five key moments that led to Brexit (Image: EXPRESS)

“Eventually we got on the A20 which was slow moving. We were moving a mile an hour and in a stationary queue two miles from the Eurotunnel.”

Getlink, which operates the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle service, said in a statement: “The travel situation in Kent remains challenging.

“The expected high levels of holiday traffic and unusually high levels of trucks on the roads mean that there is congestion on routes leading to the Channel.

“The Eurotunnel Passenger Shuttle service is running at full capacity, with four departures per hour carrying passenger traffic to France. There are also two departures per hour on the separate Freight Shuttle service.

“Eurotunnel is already ahead of the traffic forecast for today, having carried the equivalent of two additional Shuttle departures during the morning, and we will continue to add extra departures through the day to help move traffic to France.

The statement added: “Eurotunnel recognises the difficult conditions customers are experiencing on the roads and we are working with Kent Police and National Highways to find solutions to the congestion.

“Even if the congestion makes customers late reaching check-in, once they arrive at the terminal in Folkestone, they will be loaded onto the next available departure.

“Once through check-in, it is currently taking an average of 90 minutes for customers to clear through the terminal, French border controls and board a Shuttle.”

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