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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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Direct Award plan for CrossCountry

The Government could award a five-year Direct Award contract to run the CrossCountry franchise from 2019.

On October 13, it published a Prior Information Notice (PIN) in the Official Journal of the European Union. Publication of the PIN means the Department for Transport can choose to directly award a contract rather than holding a conventional franchise competition.

It follows Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling’s announcement of the Rail Review in September, in which the existing competition for the CrossCountry franchise was scrapped pending the review’s findings.

Should the Direct Award take place, the contract is likely to include a core period and an optional additional period. Arriva currently operates CrossCountry under a Direct Award, but this is due to expire in October 2019.

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  • AndrewJG8918 - 17/10/2018 11:53

    What about Arriva sorting out the Northern franchise. I think that they should end the franchise and allow the government to take over. As there are more strikes going to happen on Northern not just the remainder of this year but possibly into next year aswell. Arriva Northern are a disgrace.

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  • AndrewJG8918 - 17/10/2018 22:13

    Will Arriva retain the Chiltern Railways franchise or will it be passed onto another bidder that could take over the Chiltern franchise such as Abellio, KeliosAmey, MTR, Trenitalia, First Group, Stagecoach, Govia/Go Ahead or joint venture between Abellio+JR East/Mitsui or First Group+MTR. That might win the contract to take over the Chiltern Railways franchise. When Arriva does lose its current franchise.

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  • AndrewJG8918 - 20/10/2018 11:27

    I’ve noticed that Crosscountry has upgraded their Mk2/Mk3 carriages with new electric plug doors. Which looks really good and easier to access the train much quicker than opening the doors manually. Same with the ScotRail Class 43 Mk3s that entered service few weeks ago.

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