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As lockdown restrictions ease and we start to consider travelling again, the future of cross-Channel operator Eurostar remains uncertain.
Eurostar is seeking financial support from the UK Government, citing higher access charges here as a reason.
The French Government has pledged to provide support for the operator, while £200 million has been provided by one of its shareholders, Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec (CDPQ) and Hermes Infrastructure.
Registered in the UK and supporting 3,000 jobs either with the business or in the supply chain, the company is, however, 55% owned by SNCF (French state rail), 40% by CDPQ/Hermes and 5% by SNCB (Belgian state railways).
So: Should the UK Government provide financial assistance to Eurostar?

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GALLERY: GWR and Hitachi unveil first production Class 802s in Italy

The first two Great Western Railway Class 802s were unveiled in Pistoia, Italy, on February 9.

Five-car bi-modes 802003 and 802004 are the first of 33 trains built by Hitachi Rail Europe at the Tuscan site.

They will be delivered to North Pole by the end of the month, and will enter traffic later this year.

HRE said that the three Class 802s already in the UK (five-car 802001/002 and nine-car 802101) will enter traffic in July followed by the Italian-built ‘802s’.

Construction has reached 25 trains at the site. There are 33 to be delivered by the end of January. GWR has 22 five-car and 14 nine-car Class 802s on order.

GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said: “We know how important the railway is to the economies and communities of the South West, and today marks another significant milestone in delivering the improvements we know our passengers wish to see.

“These trains have been privately financed and will help us deliver faster, more frequent services into the South West with no cost to the taxpayer.”

Berry Sas, Projects Director at Hitachi Rail Europe, said: “We are proud to see our factories producing high quality trains for the South West using parts sourced from the UK.  A strong British supply chain is used in both our UK and Italian factories, and we are delighted to award big contracts to suppliers based along the GWR route.”

 Mary Kenny, Chief Executive Officer at Eversholt Rail, which is financing the deal said “Eversholt Rail has invested £497m in these new Class 802 trains. The dispatch of the first completed trains from Hitachi Rail’s Pistoia’s works marks a significant milestone in the project for all parties and stakeholders.”

  • For full coverage of the Class 802 launch as well as an update from Mark Hopwood, read RAIL 847, published on February 28, and available digitally on Android and iPadfrom February 24.
  • For a feature on the construction at Pistoia, read RAIL 828, available digitally on Android and iPad.






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