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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: Public ownership plan

The Labour Party has re-confirmed its commitment to bringing railways back into public ownership.

In its General Election manifesto, published on November 21, Labour says it will use options including franchising expiry to bring train operations back into public hands (infrastructure manager Network Rail was reclassified as a public sector body in 2014). It argues this would enable it to make fares simpler and more affordable.

Labour says such measures would “rebuild the fragmented railways as a nationally integrated public service, cut the wastage of private profit, improve accessibility for disabled people, ensure safe staffing levels, and end driver-only operation”.

It says a publicly owned rail company will steer network planning and investment, and co-ordinate main line upgrades, resignalling, rolling stock replacement and major projects. A full rolling programme of electrification is promised.

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

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