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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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ETCS forecast to facilitate 30% capacity boost

Installation of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) will increase capacity by up to 30% on some parts of the network, according to Martin Arter, Network Rail Programme Director, Digital Railway.

Arter, speaking to the All-Party Parliamentary Rail Group, pointed out that traffic growth since 1993 has led to Britain having 41% of Europe’s declared congested infrastructure, and that on the South West Main Line ERTMS would cost 30% less than conventional capacity upgrades.

He said a study conducted by NR concluded that ERTMS would provide an extra 30,000 peak time seats and be delivered four years earlier than the ‘next best’ plan.

Under NR’s current plans a technology demonstrator of European Train Control System (ETCS) Level 3, which uses radio-based moving block signalling, would be delivered in June 2018. Development would be complete by the end of Control Period 5 in 2019, with early deployment beginning in Control Period 6 (2019-2024). The first route to have NR’s Digital Railway programme installed will be Norwich-Great Yarmouth-Lowestoft in 2019.

  • For more on this story, see RAIL 799 on sale April 27.


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  • Stuart - 29/04/2016 08:21

    30% increase in capacity sounds good as a headline but the detail is "up to 30%" on "some routes" so could be "less than 10%" on "most routes". For Norwich- Great Yarmouth- Lowestoft, I am sure there are cheaper ways of increasing capacity (more carriages or extra passing loop perhaps)

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