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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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HS2 Bill amendments bring construction closer

Changes to the HS2 route near Lichfield, relocating the Heathrow Express maintenance depot at Langley rather than North Pole East, and construction of sidings near Old Oak Common are among 120 amendments proposed by the Government to the new line’s Hybrid Bill.

The changes follow extensive consultation between HS2 Ltd and communities along the first phase of the route from London to Birmingham. Another significant amendment is construction of a bypass for Chipping Warden in Northamptonshire.

At Lichfield, original plans to cross the West Coast Main Line and A38 road on viaducts have been altered. HS2 will now pass under the railway and road, avoiding the need for two crossings over the Trent and Mersey Canal, which had generated concern from the Canal and Rivers Trust.

Meanwhile, the construction of sidings to the west of Old Oak Common could allow a future connection between Crossrail and the West Coast Main Line in the future.

A motion has been laid in Parliament instructing the HS2 Select Committee to consider the changes and approve them. The Department for Transport says the Hybrid Bill “remains on track” to achieve Royal Assent by the end of 2016, with construction starting in 2017.

  • For more on this story, read RAIL 778, published on July 8
  • For more comment and analysis on the rail industry – subscribe to RAIL 

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