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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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100-day review complete as Donovan reveals ambitions for “a new Northern”

Northern’s immediate focus is on recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and the full restoration of services, says Managing Director Nick Donovan.

On June 8, as he discussed a 100-day review of the business since the Government’s Operator of Last Resort (OLR) took over from Arriva, Donovan stated: “Despite the pandemic, the review has been delivered. COVID-19 has not changed our commitment to deliver a ‘new Northern’ that will deliver real and tangible improvements for passengers.”

He claimed many improvements have already been made, including more staff being recruited, a full train cleaning programme, and improvements to some stations.

“But of course, there remains much more to do to provide the modern, reliable service we want to deliver,” he added.

“We have prepared a range of analysis and proposals and we will be working with the Department for Transport, Rail North Partnership and wider stakeholders to continue to assess these.”

In a document seen by RAIL, the company has restructured its management team, creating a Chief Operating Officer (COO) role. Deputy Managing Director Richard Allan will leave the operator in late August, remaining in an advisory role until then. Regional Directors, Head of Control and Engineering Director will be among the roles reporting to the COO.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 907, published on June 17, and available digitally from June 13.

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  • Steve Alston - 20/06/2020 23:52

    As Mr Donovan quite recently held a very large number of FirstGroup shares and may still do, I am interested to know if any decisions made by him are of benefit to either Avanti or Transpennine.

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  • DAVID SHELTON - 24/06/2020 18:27

    Northern as a franchise must succeed & must be given Gov support to survive until such time ax new Trans Pennine Routes open.

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