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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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Discussions ongoing to offset EMT rolling stock shortfall

Discussions continue between East Midlands Trains and the Government over the future of rolling stock beyond January 1 2020.

The current fleet of High Speed Trains used by EMT is not due to be modified to meet disability access regulations that come into force from that date. This means that eight eight-car HSTs owned by Porterbrook and three six-car HSTs owned by Angel Trains, recently cascaded from Grand Central, will not be able to operate beyond that date, leaving a significant hole in the East Midlands fleet.

The current EMT franchise, owned by Stagecoach, is due to finish in March 2019, but is likely to be extended to August that year. Government intends to issue an Invitation to Tender for the franchise in April.

EMT told RAIL that unless there is a change to the plan, or an extension beyond August, it could say little other than that it is “assisting the DfT in determining suitable options going forward”. 
An EMT spokesman said: “We are aware of the upcoming changes to regulations regarding the accessibility of rolling stock, particularly the HSTs currently operated by East Midlands Trains.”
“Our current franchise is stated to end in 2019, and therefore decisions beyond that time are a matter for the Department for Transport. However, we are engaged with the Department to support a smooth transition.”

  • For the full story, read RAIL 844, published on January 17, and available now on Android and iPad.

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  • AndrewJGwilt1989 - 15/01/2018 17:52

    What about the Class 222 Meridians DEMU's. Will they be kept on the Midland Main Line or will they be used on other routes in the East Midlands. Possibly the 4-Car and 5-Car Class 222's could be used on Norwich-Liverpool Lime Street service and 7-Car Class 222's on Crosscountry routes (working alongside the Class 220's).

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  • FrankH - 15/01/2018 19:45

    Stagecoach, Porterbrook and Angel all have the Government over a barrel on this one. No one is going to spend money on upgrading the HST's for disability regs unless they know the HST's will be in service long enough to recoup costs and make a profit.

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  • BigTone - 15/01/2018 23:24

    As said before by FrankH, If Scotrail can upgrade their HSTs, what is stopping EMT? It will buy some time to sort out the re-letting of the franchise and the aquisition of new stock. If EMT (or their successor) decide on new rolling stock then the HSTs can be used elsewhere on the network. Failing that, just ask Brussels for a temporary derogation

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    • FrankH - 19/01/2018 14:13

      Nothing is stopping EMT upgrading the HST's but as I said an assurance will be needed to all involved that they will be in service long enough to re coup costs and make a profit otherwise it's a non starter. Wabtec at Doncaster is busy doing the Scotrail ones so EMT will have to wait.

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  • anthony kelly - 31/03/2018 20:19

    Hsts are the best thing EMT use invest in them and get more coming off lease with other train operators and get rid of the plastic meridians all the public love hsts

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