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Report - Calais Hoverport August 2012

Discussion in 'European and International Sites' started by sidibear, Aug 15, 2012.

  1. sidibear

    sidibear 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Mar 8, 2010
    Likes Received:
    The early passenger-only hovercraft operations of Townsend and Hoverlloyd to Calais simply ran up the beach to the west of Calais port and landed on the sand, before an initial hoverport was provided in the mid 1960s between the beach and the port. The large Calais hoverport which remains today on the eastern side of the port was built and owned by Calais Chamber of Commerce and opened on 1 April 1969 to service the car-carrying Hoverlloyd operation from Ramsgate Pegwell Bay. This was later joined by a Seaspeed link from Dover from 1970. After the two rival operations merged into Hoverspeed in 1981, services from Pegwell Bay ceased in 1982.

    With the demise of Boulogne in 1993, the Calais hoverport became the only French destination for the remaining two stretched SRN4 craft The Princess Anne and The Princess Margaret. It was this pair which finally concluded the story of Cross-Channel hovercraft operations in October 2000 when the final flights were undertaken from and to Dover. From then on, Hoverspeed utilised a variety of SeaCats and SuperSeaCats on the Calais-Dover run, operating from the fast craft berth provided adjacent to the hoverport in the 1990s. Gradually however it became clear that the company was not able to turn around the losses it was incurring and the formal announcement of Hoverspeed's final closure came in a press release on 4 November 2005, the last SeaCat sailing from Calais to Dover being just three days later.

    In its heyday, the building at the bottom of the pic has now gone but the rest are still there, and heavily steel clad,







    In the car is my very patient wife and parents, who eventually got out and also walked around for a look.:D




    Access to the other side of the building can be quite difficult


    I wanted to get into the control tower so bad it hurt....


    Calais has a lot of immigrants trying to get to the UK and so they don't want to give them anywhere accessible to doss hence the steelwork, also look out for human poo while you are walking around the place especially in the doorways, its heavily used as a truckers toilet as they use the car park over night.
    We were passing by on our way to Dunkirk, come off the ferry, turn left and you will go past it, next junction, turn around and drive back towards it, take the exit and its in front of you. Nice relaxing walk around, just a shame its so heavily fortified, that control tower is just crying out for an internal visit.

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