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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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AGA spotlights £40m service improvements

AGA 90002 at Norwich on May 5. RICHARD CLINNICK.

Abellio Greater Anglia has spent £40 million in the past year on “customer-focused initiatives and service improvements”, according to its annual report.

The operator says this is double the investment agreed with the Department for Transport at the start of its franchise in July 2014.

AGA’s Annual Report to Customers for 2015-16 was released on June 13, a few days before the DfT was due to announce the winning bid for the long-term Anglia franchise that starts in October. Abellio, FirstGroup and National Express are the shortlisted bidders for the franchise.

The report highlighted the £12m refurbishment of the Mk 3 fleet (which is more than 80% complete); the £1m refresh of 24 Class 317/6s and the start of an interior refresh of 15 ‘317/5s’; the refresh of 66 Class 321s; and the start of a full refurbishment of ten Class 321s at Doncaster. Other schemes included seat cover replacements for the Class 170 and ‘360’ fleets along with a heavy clean for all trains, and introducing more cleaners.

  • For more on this, read RAIL 803, published on June 22.

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  • Andrewjgwilt1989 - 15/06/2016 11:01

    East of England will not be getting brand new trains for another 20-25 years so yes £40million improvement sounds good for the AGA Class 321's, Class 317's, Class 90 Mk3 Intercity, Class 153's and Class 156's EMU & DMU rolling stock trains that are more older than the Class 360's (13 years old) and Class 379's (6 years old). Most of those trains that are older are reaching nearly 30 years old.

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    • Andrewjgwilt1989 - 15/06/2016 11:03

      And the Class 170's are about 17 years old.

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    • New Trains - 19/06/2016 03:05

      20-25 years is probably a lot of a push! While the 317s still run well, I can't imagine them having a revenue-earning life of sixty years. Obviously the big news will hit with the franchise announcement later this month - the East Anglia franchise is up in October, and the current government seem to be looking for new trains. All eyes on the class 90 situation and the class 317s - will they be replaced under the next franchise? (Certainly the 90s look ideal candidates for replacement with the 91s when they come off-lease from Virgin Trains EC; though while GN and LO are getting rid of 317s, the East Anglia fleet are slightly younger and so they may be kept on.)

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      • Andrewjgwilt1989 - 19/06/2016 08:54

        Well say like in 15-20 years time. There will be agreement and invest enough money to replace these older trains including the Class 321's, Class 317's, Class 90's+Mk 3+DVT Intercity, Class 153's and Class 156's rolling stock trains with possibly new IEP Electric & Bi-Mode intercity trains from Hitachi to be built for London-Norwich & London-Lowestoft route and AT200 Hitachi commuter trains (electric and diesel) to replace the Class 321's and Class 317's on the Great Eastern and West Anglia routes and Class 153's and Class 156's in the regional routes and the Marks Tey-Sudbury line. Bombardier could build the new Aventra Electric and Bi-Mode trains to replace all those trains on all routes. Siemens may build the Desiro City Electric & Bi-Mode trains for all routes. It all depends in 15 years time on whether new trains is likely to be built for the Anglia rail franchise.

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  • John Mileham - 11/07/2016 18:42

    I traveled on a Abellio service a little while ago and the service was Brilliant. They have spent double the amount promised to improve the service which I think they have in such a short franchise. I truly hope they get the extended franchise and strongly believe they can and will deliver further improvements in a decent amount of time to do so. Most of the delays FAIL to mention that the TRACKS / infrastructure are the cause of the delays etc Owned not by Abellio but National Rail.

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  • John Mileham - 13/07/2016 22:31

    At last some one who recognised the shear determination and respect this trying company deservers ... Spent double to prove they are the total best choice for the future building of a railway easy Anglia deserved.... Well done Abellio Let's hope all the others see clear sense JM

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