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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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Train punctuality falls to lowest level for nine years

Punctuality on Britain’s railways in 2015-16 fell to its lowest annual level since 2006-07, according to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR). Reliability was even worse, with the highest number of Cancellations and Significant Lateness (CaSL) recorded since 2004-05.

The ORR says that while overall performance is still better than that of the early 2000s, the national Public Performance Measure (PPM) moving annual average has “declined steadily” since the start of 2013-14. The figures show an overall PPM of 89.1%, 0.7 percentage points (pp) worse than in 2014-15, and a CaSL figure of 3.1% (a rise of 0.2pp).

The worst performing sector for punctuality was London and the South East, with a PPM of 87.8% of trains arriving on time (down 1.2pp). Only long-distance operators showed an improvement, with a PPM of 87.6% (up 0.3pp). Despite a marginal fall of 0.1pp to 91.2% of trains arriving on time, the Regional and Scotland sector’s score represented the seventh year in a row that it has recorded a PPM score of more than 90%.

  • For more on this, read RAIL 801, published on May 25. 

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