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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 extends GWR Emergency Measures Agreement

The Department for Transport has extended the Emergency Measures Agreement for Great Western Railway until at least June 26 2021.

It follows the announcement of an agreement to operate GWR until March 2023 with a possible one-year extension, the first six months of which would be under an EMA, which expired at the end of August.

Under an EMA, the DfT waives revenue, cost and contingent capital risk. The train operator is paid a fixed management fee with a potential performance-based fee.

The DfT can extend the EMA before it ends, and GWR also has the right to revert to operating with revenue risk with protection provided through the Forecast Revenue Mechanism until at least 2023. The franchise agreement also makes provision to agree a revenue rebasing which would apply at the end of the EMA term.

FirstGroup Chief Executive Matthew Gregory said: “The extension of the EMA for GWR provides important clarity and continuity for our customers, employees and wider stakeholders.

“Across the network we are increasing service levels to provide more capacity as schools recommence and work and leisure facilities reopen, and we are taking all necessary steps to ensure our passengers continue to travel safely.”

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