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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 will boost connectivity

The lack of connectivity between the east and west of Britain still concerns Rail Minister Claire Perry, but she says that HS2 will help.

Speaking at the National Rail Conference on November 5, she said: “I remain gobsmacked by how slow some of the links east-west can be - between Newcastle and Carlisle, for example, cities that are ripe for an investment in railway. But HS2 really starts to pull that economic activity right across the country.

“This is a process that St Pancras started with HS1, it’s a process that Crossrail and Thameslink will continue, and it’s a process that I think will reach a climax with HS2, a scheme that will define transport in 21st century Britain, just as the stations, tunnels and bridges for the Great Western Main Line defined the confidence and vision of transport in Brunel’s time.”

  • For more on Perry's speech, and for ful coverage of the National Rail Conference, read RAIL 788, published on November 25. 


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  • Michael Wand - 19/11/2015 23:29

    Well, lets test Ms Perry's claim with a real example: the east-west rail connectivity between the two big hitters in Mr Osborne's northern powerhouse, Leeds and Manchester. As the crow flies, there's only 40 miles between the two city centres but it takes a whole hour by train. HS2 will leave that time unchanged. Yet Mr Osborne needs a real step-change in east-west connectivity if his powerhouse is to flourish and not be drained southwards by HS2. He could get this by funding a new fast link between Manchester Victoria and Leeds, following the M62 corridor eastwards from Rochdale. It would cut the Leeds-Manchester rail time in half, draw the eastern and western halves of Mr Osborne's powerhouse half an hour nearer each other and join up a Northern Cities Crossrail, reaching parts that HS2 will not.

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  • Moomo - 22/11/2015 15:17

    HS1, Crossrail, Thameslink and HS2 do not and will not make even the tiniest jot of difference to the miserably slow rail journey between Newcastle and Carlisle - except in the sense that they divert scarce public resources towards London.

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