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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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MTU: ‘IIIB-compliant engines will fit inside UK locomotives’

Diesel engine manufacturer MTU has said it is feasible to fit power units that meet the new European emissions regulations to UK loading gauge locomotives.

The EU’s Stage IIIB rules take final effect from January 2015 and freight industry leaders have raised concerns that locomotives with the new power units have yet to be developed; the Vossloh Class 88 electro-diesel is the only one currently on the market (RAIL 754).

One of the main areas of concern expressed has been accommodating large IIIB-compliant diesel engines within the confines of a UK loading gauge locomotive. However, MTU, which exhibited its 16V 4000 power unit at InnoTrans in Berlin in September (RAIL 758/759), has told RAIL: “It is generally conceivable to equip locomotives that run on tracks in UK with MTU engines which meet the emission standards of EU Stage IIIB.”

MTU spokesman Rolf Behrens also told RAIL that while the initial costs of IIIB-compliant engines would be higher, the total life cost of the engines was expected to be no greater than those built to the earlier rules.

“The significantly stricter emissions standards of EU Stage IIIB necessitate an extended scope of supply of the engines that meet those standards. Examples for this extended scope are Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF), two-stage exhaust gas turbo charging and Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR),” said Behrens.

“This extended scope of supply has an influence in the double digit percent range on the total acquisition price. However, no increase in total cost of ownership is to be expected for the rail operator, given a typical load profile and utilisation period, due to the engines’ improved fuel efficiency compared to Stage IIIA engines.”

Behrens said, however, that whether IIIB engines could be used to ‘retro-fit’ existing designs would depend on “detailed information about the locomotive classes in question.”

The 2,000-2,400kW generated by the 16V 4000 puts it into a similar power class to the EMD engines used in the Class 66. At InnoTrans, MTU also exhibited its diesel power pack for the Hitachi IEP Class 800 (RAIL 759).

Since August the Friedrichshafen (Germany)-based MTU has been wholly owned by Rolls-Royce, which was previously joint owner with Daimler.

  • This news story was published in RAIL 760 on 29 October 2014


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