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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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Arriva establishes Community Rail group

Arriva Rail North, the company that will take over the Northern franchise from April 1, has established a Community Rail Executive Group (COMREG) to provide support and advice for the operator’s engagement with the 19 Community Rail Partnerships across the franchise area.

COMREG will meet quarterly and “will help ensure that through the franchise Arriva is engaging closely with local communities, working in partnership to deliver rail-related projects, and maintaining a strong level of funding for community-based activities”, the company says.

Led by Arriva, the group will initially be chaired by Paul Salveson, who set up the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP) in 1997. It will include ACoRP General Manager Neil Buxton, Mid-Cheshire Community Rail Partnership Officer Sally Buttifant, and 15 industry professionals, local community representatives and sustainability experts.

Rail North Chairman Liam Robinson said: “Community Rail has achieved some fantastic outcomes across the North, and Rail North is keen to see it developed further. It’s good to see that Arriva is making a very positive start by creating a forum for passengers, operators, local politicians and user groups to share best practice.

“As the experience of creating Rail North has shown, by working together we can create a better rail network for the benefit of everyone in the north of England.”

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