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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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Virgin Trains East Coast launches

Inter City Railways took over the Inter City East Coast franchise with the new Virgin Trains East Coast brand on Sunday March 1.

The first weekday of scheduled operation for the franchise was marked today (March 2) by the unveiling at King’s Cross of 91124 and a full set of Mk 4 coaches and Driving Van Trailer in a new vinyl-based livery. The train formed the 1100 King’s Cross-Edinburgh.

Inter City Railways, the company behind VTEC (a 90%/10% joint venture between Stagecoach and Virgin), is investing £21 million in the first two years of the franchise on improving the existing fleet. The work includes an initial deep clean, refurbished toilets, new carpets and seat covers, new on-train signage and external re-branding.

From 2018, 65 new Class 800/801 Hitachi Super Express trains will be introduced, replacing all but six of the Class 91/Mk 4 sets in the existing fleet. They will be used on services to existing East Coast Main Line destinations as well as Middlesbrough and Harrogate.

The East Coast services have been under the control of Department for Transport-owned Directly Operated Railways since the previous private franchise was handed back to government in November 2009.

  • For more on this story, read RAIL 770, published on March 18.

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  • Jonathan Beale - 03/03/2015 13:18

    How many liveries have the class 91s had since being built?(after the new virgin launch )

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    • Julian Hicks - 05/03/2015 00:12

      Think that will be their fifth [excluding minor variations]! BR; GNER; National Express; East Coast; Virgin [Interesting that the latest franchise doesn't use the company name [Inter City Railways] or its major [90%] partner's name [Stagecoach] anywhere in the new branding]! P.S. Still think GNER's was the best livery ...

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  • Julian Hicks - 05/03/2015 00:13


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