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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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Abellio wins East Midlands franchise

Abellio will operate the East Midlands franchise from August 18.

The Department for Transport announced the company will replace Stagecoach with an eight-year deal that runs until 2027 on April 10.

The new franchise, to be known as East Midlands Railway, will receive new trains that will help reduce journey times and add more peak-time seats on the Midland Main Line. There will be more than £17 million worth of station improvements while there is a commitment to trials of hydrogen fuel cell trains and zero-carbon pilot schemes at six stations.

A new express service will be introduced from Corby to St Pancras International, and Abellio will also introduce improved delay repay compensation and ‘Flexipass’ tickets.

Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling said: “Improving the experience for passengers is at the heart of this new franchise. Abellio will deliver state-of-the-art new trains, upgraded ticketing systems and improvements to stations.

“Through zero-carbon pilot schemes, trialling hydrogen fuel cell trains and delivering more seats on modern, spacious trains, the new franchise will also play a major role in building a railway fit for the future.”

Dominic Booth, Managing Director of Abellio UK, said: “We look forward to this franchise driving economic growth and delivering significant benefits for passengers.

“Abellio will invest £600m in improvements to trains and stations, maximising the effect of the Government’s £1.5 billion upgrade of the Midland Main Line to make journeys easier, more reliable and comfortable for our passengers.

“Closer collaboration between East Midlands Railway and Network Rail will ensure that track and train are aligned to deliver vital enhancements to infrastructure and to put the interests of passengers first.”

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 877, published on April 24, and available digitally on iPad and Kindle from April 20.

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  • AndrewJG8918 - 10/04/2019 13:30

    East Midlands Railway it is then. As Abellio will be taking over the East Midlands Franchise as Stagecoach East Midlands Trains is to end. Plus with new trains to be order whether it’ll be Bombardier to manufacture the new Bi-mode Aventra trains (Class 7xx). Or Hitachi to build the AT300 IET Bi-mode (Class 8xx) or Stadler to build the Bi-mode Flirt (Class 7xx) that will replace the Class 43 Mk3 HSTs and Class 222 Meridian DEMU stocks from 2021/2022. And possibly to retain some Class 222s (4-Car and 5-Car) to be used on other services in the East Midlands region such as London St. Pancras-Lincoln and Nottingham-Norwich services. Aswell as Virgin Group to lose its Virgin Trains West Coast franchise.

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  • Mike - 22/04/2019 22:38

    Have you seen Abellio’s performance as Scotrail? The DoT ignored the fact that on past performance Abellio can’t run a piss up in a brewery. Nearly 4,000 cancelled Scotrail trains in 2018. An accident waiting to happen. But still, they get the contract. Mind you, look at how the DoT choices for East Coast Main Line have performed in the last 10 years. DoT not known for being savvy.

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