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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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COVER STORY: European rail freight comparison

In 2014, UK had the fourth highest volume of freight moved by rail (22.1 billion net tonne kilometres). This was behind Germany (112.6 billion), Poland (50.1 billion) and France (32.2 billion).

Twenty-five of the 28 member countries submitted data to the European Union for 2013 and 2014. Over that period, freight moved in the EU rose by 1.1%, compared with a 1.2% drop in the UK. The key drivers were growth in Sweden (21.3 billion net tonne kilometres - up 1.6%), Austria (20.5 billion - up 6.3%) and Italy (20.1 billion - up 5.4%).

In 2014, 108.5 million tonnes of freight was lifted in the UK. Despite a fall of 7.8% compared with 2013, this still left the UK third behind Germany (365.0 million) and Poland (227.8 million). These countries also recorded falls in 2013, with Germany dropping 8.7 million and Poland 4.8 million.

  • For much more on rail freight, read RAIL 803, published today (June 8).

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