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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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EXCLUSIVE: More Merseytravel trains and line extensions?

The 52-strong Class 777 order could be expanded, depending on the future size of the Merseyrail network.

Currently, 52 trains from 59 Class 507/508s are needed each day. When the new ‘777s’ are fully in service that figure will change to 50 trains from 52 - unless it’s a major event such as the Grand National, when all 52 trains could be required.

Merseytravel Programme Director David Powell told RAIL: “When we have all the new trains, we can then speed up the timetable and that reduces the number of diagrams. We need to get the new timetable in as soon as it’s ready.”

He said that Network Rail was still completing infrastructure work, including power modifications and signal sighting.

As for additional new trains, Powell explained: “As things stand, we don’t have to get any more during this concession, which runs until 2028. There is an option for up to 60 additional trains, and if that was to happen it would be an exciting world.

“We wrote a Long-Term Rail Strategy about five years ago. If we manage to deliver all that’s in there up to the 2040s, that is how we would need 60 trains, and we will order more trains.”

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 897, published on January 29, and available digitally now.

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