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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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Anglia could be the ‘California of Europe’ with right rail investment

Spending £476 million upgrading the Great Eastern Main Line could deliver £4.5 billion of wider economic benefits, according to a report released on November 4.

“We could be the California of Europe, yet we have some of the oldest trains in Britain,” said Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, following the release of The Great Eastern Report.

“Our rail service is overcrowded, the infrastructure not resilient to failures. It is as quick to go 225 miles over land and sea from London to Brussels as it is on the train to Norwich, over half the distance. We can’t go on like this.”

The report claims the improvements will unlock additional £1.3bn in capital investment along the route, and offer journey savings of £9m per year.

There is also a call for new rolling stock to be included in the new rail franchise tender that will be announced next year. It claims passengers want journey times of London-Chelmsford in 25 minutes, to Colchester in 40 minutes, Ipswich in 60 and Norwich in 90.

  • Full story in RAIL 761, published on November 12

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