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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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Network Rail's Easter engineering plans

New station facilities, new platforms, new junctions and thousands of more reliable pieces of equipment will be installed of the Easter period, April 3-6, Network Rail has confirmed.

The work includes track, signalling and platform improvements at London Bridge, new overhead line installation at Chadwell Heath, Romford and Ilford on the GEML, new freight lines will be built under the Reading viaduct to completely separate passenger and freight services, enabling all those travelling on this route to experience smoother, faster journeys into and through Reading. An entire new signalling system is also being brought on-line replacing the existing one that has brought the route to a halt almost half a dozen times in the recent past, while a worn-out bridge south of Watford will be replaced enabling line speeds to be increased. Track, signalling and junctions will also be replaced.

NR says that passenger numbers drop by 20%-40% over the Easter period.

Mark Carne, Network Rail chief executive, said: “Our improvement programme this Easter, delivered by a 14,000 strong army of rail workers, is focussed on delivering a better service for passengers.  We are acutely conscious that many people want to use the railway during the holidays to reunite with their friends and families, which is why the vast majority of the network is running normally over the holiday period but there will be disruption for some.

  • For more on this story, read RAIL 771, published on April 1.

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