Towards the end of World War I, the British government built three ferries to transport the armies of tanks, guns, locomotives and wagons bound for English units fighting on French soil.
The first service began in Calais on 18 February 1918 with the train ferries nos. 1 and 2. They made two round trips per day and docked at the end of the Carnot basin.
Operation of the ferries continued until 21 January 1921 to allow the repatriation of military equipment to Britain.
Given the quality of the services rendered by this type of ship, an attempt was made to establish a commercial line with England, but it was not until 1931 that the French Ferry Company was able to open the Calais-Harnich line with train-ferry no. 3.
Meanwhile, the Southern Railways built new ferries for the transportation of passenger trains and freight. The disadvantage of the port of Calais was that the ferry pier was within a tidal basin, so berthing depended on the tide.
Despite assurances from the port of Dunkerque, the new pier was installed in our neighbour’s port but of course in a wet dock. The Dover-Dunkerque Line was commissioned on 11 October 1936, thereby causing the closure of the Calais-Harnich line.