OMD UK’s Team Eurotunnel Le Shuttle took a trip to their headquarters. We visited their operations on both sides of the channel in Folkestone and Calais to experience behind the scenes of their day to day. After working on the account for some time, we were all excited to see how it operated.
Our first stop was the control centre where a 40-foot screen stood at the front of the room. Blinking lights gave live updates of the trains that were entering and exiting the tunnel. Our immediate thoughts were that we had walked into the Millennium Falcon. This room has oversight over both Eurotunnel le shuttle and Eurostar trains. People tend to get the two confused as they both run through the same tunnel, yet the service is very different.
Next, we boarded a narrow shuttle that took us through the service tunnel, which runs in between the two main rail tunnels used for maintenance and emergencies. We were shown the safety lock doors and how the air pressure regulator works. We were stunned by the level of detail and work required to keep the tunnel running in constant operation.
Our next stop was the fire safety training simulator. We sat in a replica Eurotunnel le shuttle carriage that was filled with smoke so thick that you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. Danny was our designated captain and fire warden, who successfully ushered us all to safety. Turns out if there is a fire on a train, you get off!
We jumped back on the coach and took the 35-minute channel crossing journey to France. When we emerged on the other side, we were stunned at how short the journey time was and that we had 4G signal the whole way. The distance from Folkestone to France was shorter than London to Luton. I also know now where I would rather spend my afternoon eating lunch.
The coach took us to the Pet Reception in Calais, which is where all the pets that pass under the channel have to go through customs with their Pet Passport. We were lucky enough to see a variety of dogs pass through, some slightly more friendly than others.
The day out gave us the opportunity to explore what goes into running the service every single day. We also got to see first-hand the passion that the staff have who work there. Having such an experience with a client can really help you to understand and appreciate their business at a much deeper level.