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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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First S-Stock train runs under automatic control

Thales and London Underground have begun line testing of the new signalling and train control system destined for LU’s four sub-surface lines.

The Communications Based Train Control (CBTC) system is a development of the SelTrac equipment currently in operation on the Jubilee and Northern lines, and will be rolled out on the District, Circle, Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City lines to increase capacity from 24 to 32 trains per hour (TPH) at peak times by 2023.

Thales was awarded the £760 million contract in August 2015 after the original contract with Bombardier collapsed in 2013.

The first S-Stock train to run under automatic control using the Thales moving block signalling system is now undergoing testing at Old Dalby test track in Leicestershire. A second ‘production model’ train will be ready by the summer incorporating any necessary modifications before all 191 S-Stock trains are returned to Bombardier in Derby to be fitted out with the necessary on-board equipment.

The first 53 will be returned to LU by February 2018, a second batch of 59 by July 2018 and the final batch of 80 by September 2018. Bombardier will release them at a rate of one or two per week to be taken to Old Dalby for 500km of running tests before they return to traffic.

  • For more on this, read RAIL 797, published on March 30.

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