The channel tunnel freight service opens for business and one Irish driver is among the first to travel by train from England to France.
The shuttle train containing fourteen lorries left Folkestone in Kent, England for France at 11.15 am. One of the trucks on board was Irish with the Irish Road Haulage Association logo emblazoned on its side. The journey for Tom McKenna from Interpalace Freight began two days earlier in Dublin Docks.
In 1993, forty thousand Irish lorries passed through Dover en route to mainland Europe.
Sheila McCabe of McCabe Transport outlines some of the advantages of travelling by the tunnel. The new service is not weather dependent like the ferry and has a guaranteed time-saving. The tunnel train service is also geared for freight so hauliers don't have to worry about passengers taking up space.
Eurotunnel is now negotiating with individual hauliers over price. A container service will also be on offer whereby freight can be carried by train directly from English cities to cities on mainland Europe. Haulier Jimmy Quinn says that his company has plans to base their own fleet of vehicles in cities across Europe to avail of the freight-only service.
For Irish driver Tom McKenna, who is the first Irish driver to use the tunnel, the route will soon become routine.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 19 May 1994. The reporter is Alasdair Jackson.