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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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Collaboration with DfT to meet needs of East Midlands passengers

Passengers in the East Midlands will receive better representation in the future, following a multi-year collaboration agreement signed by the Department for Transport and Transport for the East Midlands (TfEM).

Announced on September 3, the agreement involves two Rail Monitoring and Performance Officer jobs, jointly funded by DfT and TfEM.

The first role will include stakeholder engagement, while the second will include researching and assessing information and data to support the case for service improvements across the East Midlands franchise area.

There will also be input into other relevant franchises, consultation exercises, and involvement in wider rail processes and structures. The jobs will be based in Melton Mowbray.

The agreement will last until at least 2027, when the franchise is due to expire (although there is an option for a two-year extension), with a 12-month notice period on either side.

“This bespoke collaboration agreement delivers a railway truly focused on meeting the needs of the passengers who use it. It provides councils and local leaders with a greater voice in the management of the services which matter to them, helping deliver positive long-term changes focused on what passengers want,” said Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps.

Unlike Midlands Connect and Transport for the North, TfEM is merely an advisory body.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 914, published on September 23, and available digitally from September 19.

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