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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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Five Hitachi Class 385 bodyshells heading for UK

Class 385 body shells on their way to the UK. HITACHI.

Five Class 385 bodyshells are due to arrive in the UK this month, while in Japan the first completed ‘385’ is undergoing testing.

Hitachi Rail Europe (HRE) is building 70 electric multiple units for ScotRail that will enter traffic next year. The next six are being built in Kasado (Japan), and the remaining 63 will be assembled in HRE’s Newton Aycliffe facility near Darlington.

The five bodyshells on their way to the UK are first production trains, and will be used to form three-car trains (a sixth bodyshell will follow). They were shipped from Kobe.

Meanwhile at Kasado the first four-car ‘385’ is undergoing testing before being shipped to the UK later in the year. HRE is building a further three four-car trains and two three-car trains in Japan, and these will be undergoing testing soon before moving to the UK. All HRE-built trains - and bodyshells bound for Newton Aycliffe - will be shipped to Teesport for onward road movement. This is the same method as for the Class 800/801 Intercity Express Programme trains.

  • For more on the Class 385s, read RAIL 802, published on June 8.

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  • Chris A Jones - 02/06/2016 15:27

    Any design work being done at Newton Aycliffe?

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