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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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Alstom wins £642 million contract with Avanti for Pendolino refurbishment and maintenance

Alstom has won a seven-year deal with Avanti West Coast worth £642 million for the refurbishment and maintenance of 56 Class 390 Pendolinos.

The deal is worth £127m for the refurbishment, which is thought to be the largest ever carried out in the UK, while the maintenance deal is worth £515m.

More than 100 jobs will be created by the contract, mostly at the company’s Widnes site, while it secures work for Alstom depots across the UK.

The refurbishment includes plans to install more comfortable seating, shop improvements, revamped toilets, improved lighting, installing at-seat chargers, improved WiFi while new interior layouts will be installed.

“I’m really pleased that – because of this brand new facility – local people will benefit through jobs and apprenticeships for years to come through projects like this,” said Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram.

“This deal will improve the experience of passengers and ensure the fleet can continue to serve communities up and down the west coast route in the years ahead,” said AWC Managing Director Phil Whittingham.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 897, published January 29, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from January 25.

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