Photo  Transport
  Home of bus, tram, ferry and lorry photographs
    Home  |  Buses  Ferries  |  Lorries  |  Trams  |  Coaches  |  Trains  |  Transport  |                                  Covers  Search  |
  January 2010
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  Have a Calais Christmas
     Snow causes chaos for ferries
  Have a Calais Christmas
Twas the weekend before Christmas, when all through northern France not a creature was stirring.   And the reason for this peace and tranquillity ?   An enormous dump of snow that had paralysed most of the road network.   Normally Calais before Christmas is manic as hordes of Brits descend on shopping centres (below middle).   Not this year.   On the Friday the ferries operated normally (above and middle left) until the snow arrived in the late afternoon (below left).   As a result Calais was shut overnight for health and safety reasons due to ice on the ramps, stranding thousands of passengers on board boats which could not disembark.   Remarkably LD Lines sailings from Boulogne (left) continued uninterrupted while chaos ensued at Calais.   So when Saturday dawned there was an enormous back log of tourist traffic for the port to deal with.   The situation was further exacerbated by the Channel Tunnel closing due to a train getting stuck in the tunnel.   By night fall operation stack was in place in England while in France trucks were being parked all over the terminal (below right), as only cars and passengers were travelling (below middle).   It may have been picturesque (below left) but it was a land fit only for reindeer and sleighs.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx rr x x x


xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx All photos taken on 18 and 19-Dec-09.   Click to enlarge.

  Photo Facts (Top to Bottom)
  • P&O's Pride of Kent leaves Calais bound for Dover.
  • Calais Town Hall (Mairie) is one of the most distinctive features of the town and can clearly be seen from the ferry as it approaches the port.
  • Seafrance Moliere arrives in Calais in the late afternoon.   The beach was completely frozen and in places was covered in snow.
  • LD Lines Norman Spirit off Cap Gris Nez heading from Boulogne to Dover in the gloaming.   This vessel was unexpectedly transferred to from Portsmouth to Dover as the Norman Arrow is off service for the winter.   Despite the chaos at Calais this service ran without major disruption.
  • Only the motorway was gritted or ploughed between Calais and Boulogne.   All other roads were like skating rinks leading to extremely hazardous driving conditions.   Here Escalles looks like a scene from a Christmas card.
  • The coast of the Nord-Pas-De-Calais rarely sees snow so they were completely unprepared for the f6 inch fall on the weekend before Christmas.   Few ventured out as can be seen by the empty promenade at Wimereux.
  • As a result of the snow, Cite Europe, the main shopping centre in the region for locals and tourists was like a ghost town.   Not only could the residents not get to the motorway to reach the centre, but no Brits could make it over or under the channel.   This must have been a disaster for the already depressed local economy.
  • By Saturday evening Calais port was full - mainly with lorries - which meant tourist cars had to queue to wait until a ferry arrived.
  • Inside the port as everywhere else was thick,icy, untreated snow.   Seafrance Rodin is seen about to start boarding late on Saturday evening.
  • Lorries, lorries everywhere.   As in the UK, lorries were also stacked on the motorway approach to Calais port.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxixxxx FAQ  |  Contact  |  References
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx                                                                  Copyright 2001-2009, Ray Ward