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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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Borders Railway patronage exceeds forecast figures

158869 at Tweedbank on November 25. RICHARD CLINNICK.

More than half a million passengers have used the £353 million Borders Railway since it re-opened in September last year.

Transport Scotland claims the figures show that passenger uptake on the re-opened railway is more than 20% ahead of forecast, and believes it will continue to exceed expectations through the year.

ScotRail Alliance Managing Director Phil Verster added that “no-one expected us to reach 500,000 passengers so quickly”, although campaigners for the line disagreed.

David Spaven, author of Waverley Route; the battle for the Borders Railway, said: “The substantial patronage on the Borders Railway is very welcome, but Phil Verster of the ScotRail Alliance is wrong to say that ‘no-one expected us to reach 500,000 passengers so quickly’. Rail campaigners certainly did, when they saw the ludicrously pessimistic forecasting undertaken four years ago by Transport Scotland.”

The TS Business Case for Borders Railway, published in November 2012, predicted first year annual return passenger numbers of 647,136. The exact figure for September 6 to January 23 was 537,327.

  • For much more on this, read RAIL 794, published on February 17.
  • RAIL would like to clarify that David Spaven speaks as the author of Waverley Route; the battle for the Borders Railway. He is a rail consultant, and a long-time individual campaigner for the new railway. The campaign group is the Campaign for Borders Rail, of which the Chairman is Allan McLean.

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  • Colin Symes - 04/02/2016 09:36

    This happened with the Alloa line too - are TS figures skewed pessimistically to avoid new projects?

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  • BigTone - 04/02/2016 13:19

    Now is the time to extend to Carlisle and "wire it up"

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    • FrankH - 05/02/2016 12:14

      A more likely option following Lamington is complete double track on the GS&W plus OLE.

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      • BigTone - 15/02/2016 18:51

        Both Frank (GSW 2nd route for Glasgow, Borders for Edinburgh)

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  • FrankH - 05/02/2016 12:13

    Let the dust settle and wait to see what the passenger numbers are when the novelty value wears off.

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  • Philip macari - 10/02/2016 22:39

    Trains have been very good for galashiels.500.000 paid..what was the real amount that used the service

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