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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?

View the poll

Great Western wires in use by September

Speaking exclusively to RAIL, Network Rail Regional Director of Infrastructure Projects Great Western and Crossrail Region Robbie Burns said the first section of electrified track to be completed on the Great Western Main Line will be between Reading and Didcot at the end of September this year. This 16-mile section will act as a test track to allow NR to gain experience and for the Class 800/801 trains to be tested.


If NR meets its targets the wires should be up and operational to Wootton Bassett, Bristol Parkway, Cardiff and Newbury by December 2018, with Bath following at the end of April 2019, Oxford by June 2019, Bristol Parkway to Bristol Temple Meads by the end of July 2019, and to all platforms at Bristol Temple Meads by the end of April 2020. A date for the wires to reach Swansea is still to be confirmed.

Burns is responsible for the GWRM between London, Bristol and the Cardiff region. He is also in charge of Crossrail surface works between Paddington and Maidenhead, Stratford to Shenfield and to Abbey Wood. Crossrail will have a major impact on the Great Western Main Line (GWML), as it will run from Paddington to Reading. Burns told RAIL the project is running on time and to budget.

  • For more on this, read RAIL 800, published today (May 11).


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  • FrankH - 11/05/2016 21:08

    So it's going to be 2 and a half years before greener electric trains run Paddington - Bristol Parkway/Cardiff, and 3 to temple Meads. Meanwhile slightly greener (than now) units will run on diesel power where no OHL exists. It must happen somewhere else, the apparent absolute chaos when trying to upgrade/build/extend a railway line. Only in this country it seems does the network operator have to jump through so many hoops to keep moaning councils and Nimby's happy.

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  • Colin B - 12/05/2016 14:54


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  • Kent Railman - 17/05/2016 11:58

    Don't get too excited folks - it may all have to be taken apart again because the big grey gantries are unsightly. See And then the replacement "less intrusive" structures will be a hazard to wildlife, because passing birds can't see them.

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    • FrankH - 18/05/2016 23:52

      That's what i meant about NR having to jump through hoops. Big grey gantries are ok for the rest of us whats so special about that lot down south, bunch of weirdos. I take it the birds are partailly sighted in that area, or can they only fly in a straight line. Do the people down there want trains or are they just constant moaners, anything will do.

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    • FrankH - 19/05/2016 21:55

      Just found something about kingfishers flying along the lineside, did they manage to fly round the telegraph poles or were some found beak first impaled in them ?

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