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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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Timetable set for next Manchester Metrolink contract

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has shortlisted four bidders to operate and maintain the Manchester Metrolink system, and expects to issue the Invitations to Negotiate for the next contract on February 2.

The current contract is due to expire in July 2017. Selected after the OJEU process (Notice in the Official Journal of the European Union), which started in July 2015, the bidders are:

N Keolis Amey Metrolink (Keolis UK and Amey Rail Ltd.).

N NX Manchester Metrolink (National Express, MJ Quinn, Stobart and Bombardier Rail).

N Metrolink RATP Dev Ltd (RATP Dev UK Ltd).

N Transdev Tram UK Ltd (Transdev plc).

The RATP Dev UK Ltd subsidiary of Groupe RATP is the system’s current operator, having bought the ten-year contract between TfGM and Stagecoach Metrolink Ltd from Stagecoach Group on August 1 2011.

Following receipt of the Tenders by May 9 2016, TfGM expects to announce the Indicative Preferred Bidder in September 2016, to be followed by confirmation in November 2016 and then Contract Signature in January 2017. The agreement will be for an initial term of seven years, with an option for TfGM to extend the contract for a further three years.

The preferred service level for the new contract is for a six-minute frequency on most lines up to 2000 Mondays to Fridays and 1800 on Saturdays, and 12 minutes at other times. The exceptions are that the Rochdale, Eccles, MediaCity and Trafford Centre lines will have a 12-minute frequency at all times. While this increases capacity over the network, the acquisition of further trams is not ruled out.

The information was given to the TfGM committee meeting on January 15.

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