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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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Cause of Vivarail fire “not immediately obvious”

The inside of the fire-damaged genset. VIVARAIL.

The cause of the fire that damaged Vivarail’s prototype D-Train during main line testing on December 30 2016 is “not immediately obvious”, the company’s interim investigation has concluded.

The investigation was commissioned by Vivarail Chief Executive Adrian Shooter in the immediate aftermath of the incident, which brought the three-car diesel-electric multiple unit to a halt at Kenilworth (RAIL 818).

A blaze started in one of its detachable engine modules (gensets) at approximately 1300. Ten staff from Vivarail and operator West Coast Railway were all safely evacuated, although the stationary Class 230 did cause more than 300 delay minutes to services between Coventry and Nuneaton, until it could be moved at approximately 1700 from the single-line section it was blocking. 

The incident was reported to the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB), but RAIB has since confirmed to RAIL that it will not be conducting its own investigation. A full and final report was therefore due to be completed by Vivarail by January 31 (after this issue of RAIL had gone to press).

  • For more on this, read RAIL 819, published on February 1.
  • To read about what happens next to 230001, read RAIL 819, published on February 1.
  • To read about Vivarail's first hybrid D-Train, read RAIL 819, published on February 1.
  • To read about the full and final report, visit next week.
  • To read about the full and final report, read RAIL 820, published on February 15.

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