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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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Birmingham New Street just nine months away

A new, bigger and brighter Birmingham New Street station and the associated premium shopping centre, Grand Central, is set to open in September 2015 (in just nine months time).

Throughout January and February, glazing will be installed on the shop fronts and the flooring of the new concourse will be completed. In March, demolition beneath the new atrium will be complete, allowing the whole of the concourse to be open to natural light for the first time. In May, a major train crew facility will open within the station, bringing staff in from their temporary accommodation. And the first part of the main wall separating the new and old station will also be removed to allow services to be connected, and the building work to operate both parts as one station can begin.

Over the summer, the new concourse will be fitted out with finishes to the waiting rooms, shops and public facilities and Navigation Street bridge will reopen to the public. The remainder of the station's main wall will be removed and all final finishes will be completed.

The five-year redevelopment of Birmingham New Street began in April 2010 and the first half of the new concourse was opened three years later in April 2013.

For more information, see RAIL 766, published on January 21.

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