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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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FIRST PICTURE: Completed Mk 5A bodyshell for TransPennine Express

TransPennine Express has released an image of the first completed Mk 5A bodyshell in Spain. 

A total of 66 vehicles are currently being built for 13-five carriage trains that will be operated by TPE.

They will enter traffic next year, and will run between Liverpool, Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds, York, Scarborough and Middlesbrough.

These, along with the other new trains being delivered by TPE will provide 20,000 extra peak per day with more than 13 million seats being introduced across by 2019. 

The Mk 5A sets will contain 291 seats and include what TPE called: "spacious, comfortable seating", free Wi-Fi, plug sockets, USB ports, improved information systems and an on-board media server for streaming TV shows and films.

Built by Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) in Spain and financed by Beacon Rail, the Mk 5As will be hauled by Class 68s also be owned by Beacon Rail and sub-leased from Direct Rail Services. The '68s' and Mk5As will be maintained at Alstom’s facilities at Longsight (Manchester).

  • For more on TPE's plans for Class 68-hauled trains, read RAIL 821, out now.

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