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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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Election manifesto: Fares freeze and low-emission technology

The headline promise in the Liberal Democrat manifesto is to freeze rail fares for commuters and season ticket holders for the duration of a Parliament. The party claims that commuting by rail is “expensive, unreliable and unpleasant”.

Like the Conservatives and Labour, the Lib Dems plan to extend Britain’s rail network, reopen stations and redouble singled routes.

The party wants to convert the rail network to low-emission technology (electrification or hydrogen) by 2035. And it supports HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail, East West Rail and Crossrail 2, with “far tighter financial controls”.

The Lib Dems promise to open franchise bidding to public sector companies, local or combined authorities, and not-for-profit and mutual companies, and to build into franchise agreements a stronger focus on passengers which would include investment in new stations, lines and modern trains.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 893, out now.

 

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