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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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Coal traffic declines - but underlying trend is up

The continued decline in coal traffic led to a 3% drop in the volume of freight carried on Britain’s railways between July and September 2019 (Q2, 2019-20), compared with the corresponding three-month period in 2018-19.

However, other traffic is increasing, according to figures published by the Office of Rail and Road on December 17.

Coal volumes fell by 69% compared with Q2 2018-19, to 0.08bn net tonne-kilometres. Coal accounted for just 2% of the overall freight moved in the quarter, whereas as recently as Q2 2013-14, it accounted for 35% of freight moved.

But construction (up 4%) and domestic intermodal (up 2%) increased to their highest levels since 1998-99 and now account for 70% of rail freight moved.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 895, published January 2, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from December 28.

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