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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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HNRC in the market for more '47s' for contract work

Class 47s are the target for Harry Needle Railroad Company, which is looking to further increase the size of its fleet as more contract work is lined up.

The company currently supplies GB Railfreight with 47812/815/843, which it leases from Riviera Trains. They will be followed later this year by RT 47847/848.

HNRC Managing Director Harry Needle told RAIL that he was in the market for more ‘47s’, and confirmed an interest in 47701, which is stored at the Dartmoor Railway. He described it as a “good locomotive”, but acknowledged that a deal was probably unlikely. It was once main line-certified and formed part of the Fragonset Railways fleet (see panel), but has not worked for several years.

Needle said he was in the market if the right locomotive became available, but suggested that rumours of a deal for 47375, 47488 and 47744 were not true. 

HNRC also owns 47703/714/
715/769 outright. Of these, 47714 is on hire to Serco for testing at Old Dalby, and is used regularly. 

Next to return to traffic will be 47703, which is undergoing an exam at HNRC’s Barrow Hill facility. This includes a repaint into ScotRail livery as carried when it was used in Scotland. 

The repaint is being carried out as a staff initiative, but Needle said that when the contract hire for which the ‘47’ is initially needed is completed, it will return to Barrow Hill to be fitted with GSM-R signalling equipment and On-Train Monitoring Recorders (OTMR). When that is done, it will be painted in HNRC orange.

Next to follow should be 47769, with 47715 the last to be reactivated. This is currently based at the Wensleydale Railway, and although in running order, it requires GSM-R, OTMR and Train Protection Warning System (TPWS), having been off the main line since EWS withdrew it. 

The ‘47/7’ was owned by FR and Cotswold Rail, but never returned to main line use.

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