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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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DfT cancels South Eastern franchise competition

Government cancelled the South Eastern franchise competition on August 7, citing “significant concerns” that the ongoing process would mean greater cost to the taxpayer.

Only two bidders had been left in the process, following the decision to ban Stagecoach from the South Eastern, East Midlands and West Coast Partnership franchise competitions last April (RAIL 877).

The remaining bidders were Abellio with East Japan Railway and Mitsui & Co, and current operator Govia. Earlier in the process, Trenitalia had pulled out of the bidding.

The new franchise had been due to be awarded this summer, but will continue in Govia’s hands under a Government Direct Award that will run to April 2020.

The Department for Transport said the decision “follows significant concerns that continuing the competition process would lead to additional costs incurred to the taxpayer, with no certainty that this would deliver envisaged benefits for passengers in a timely fashion."

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 885, published on August 14, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from August 10.


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