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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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Chancellor announces funding to develop rail projects further

The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne delivered his final budget of the 2010-2015 Parliament on March 18, ahead of the General Election on May 7.

  • There were no specific announcements regarding funding for a high speed trans-Pennine railway link, other than a promise to build on the HS3 concept to “develop a network of high quality rail connections across the north”, and to publish the interim report of Transport for the North.
  • The government will, “subject to an acceptable contribution from Hull Trains and subject to a business case”, complete electrification of the Selby-Hull line by the end of Control Period 5 (March 2019).
  • The Croxley Rail Link was also confirmed the day before the budget, with the Chancellor giving the formal go-ahead for the £200m scheme. Some £34 million of additional government funding has been promised, plus a further £16 million from Transport for London (which has taken on responsibility for the scheme) to extend the London Underground Metropolitan Line north of Moor Park, via a disused alignment to Watford Junction on the West Coast Main Line.
  • The Chancellor also promised details of a Direct Award to the existing Great Western franchise (to take it through to 2019) during which time it will be responsible for the already announced Intercity Express Programme trains. A further announcement on the franchise is expected from the Department for Transport in the next few weeks.
  • A High Speed Rail Investment Summit was also announced, to be held in Birmingham, which will focus overseas investment to the UK on regeneration and supply chain opportunities created around HS2.


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

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