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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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Failure to win back passengers will damage hopes of cutting carbon emissions

Government needs to encourage people back to public transport - and to rail in particular - with affordable ticketing, including flexible tickets for commuters.

That‘s according to a survey by Campaign for Better Transport, which says that failure to do so would lead to a car-led recovery, risking the country’s climate change targets and affecting the economic recovery.

The Rail Delivery Group said train operators want to support a green economic growth across the UK and used the results to highlight its own calls for ticket reform.

Results, published today, showed private car use will likely remain around the same levels as pre-COVID, with around a 1%-3% increase depending on the activity.

However, while the proportion of people intending to use public transport once restrictions are lifted is very similar to pre-damages numbers, this is likely to be affected by the kinds of journeys people need to make.

“Cars are the main contributor to carbon emissions and lethal air pollution, so returning to a car-dominated transport network is simply not an option post-COVID,” said CBT Chief Executive Paul Tuohy.

The survey found that less crowded services (30%), cheaper tickets (29%) and better routes (29%) top the public’s wish list if they are to use public transport again.

RDG Director of Nations and Regions Robert Nisbet said rail was already helping people to travel with confidence via extra services, enhanced cleaning and better ventilation.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 929, published on April 21, and available digitally from April 17. 

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