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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: TransPennine Express Class 397 takes shape in Spain

A driving vehicle from a CAF Class 397 electric multiple unit for TransPennine Express. TPE.

Work begins on construction of TPE ‘397s’

Construction of the first TransPennine Express Class 397 electric multiple unit is well under way at CAF’s factory in Beasain, Spain.

Twelve five-car EMUs are on order, and will enter traffic between the North West and Scotland from spring 2019. Funded by Eversholt Rail, they will replace four-car Class 350s, and are part of an introduction of three brand new trains fleets by TPE. CAF-built Mk 5s and Hitachi Rail Europe Class 802s are also on order.

The ‘397s’ will be maintained by Alstom at Longsight and Polmadie.

“Once ready, these futuristic trains will be some of the most modern in the country, and I’m thrilled to be overseeing such an important transformation,” said TPE Managing Director Leo Goodwin.

Eversholt Rail Chief Executive Officer Mary Kenny said: “Our new-generation high-speed EMUs under construction by CAF in Spain will help turn TPE’s ‘Take the North Further’ vision into reality.”

José María Muguruza, Project Manager for CAF, explained: “The trains are the ‘high speed’ variant of the Civity electric train, are capable of 125mph operation, and will provide passengers with a new journey experience.”



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  • Jon B - 06/09/2017 15:52

    Why aren't they "tilting " then? There's not much 125 mph on the North West main line!

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    • FrankH - 06/09/2017 21:17

      For what you save time wise there's no need to tilt. A VT Glasgow - Preston with 3 stops, 2hours 16 minutes. at 125mph max. A TPE Glasgow - Preston 2 hours 36 minutes with 5 stops at 110 mph max. Take 5 minutes for each stop off and TPE is only 10 minutes slower. The 397's are 125 mph max so will be not much slower than VT without tilt.

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  • Vija McLocklan - 06/09/2017 19:53

    Its about time too, passengers on the TPE presently have less space than livestock transported on cattle trucks. Shame on you. The Manchester airport train has only three carriages, one of them 1st class. Even the guard can't get through the scrum, and doesn't even attempt this impossible task.

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    • FrankH - 06/09/2017 21:33

      First class is a compartment with 15 seats. The rest of the coach is second class. However I've had the experience of an Airport trip in the morning rush, 07.15 Chorley all seats taken ,some standing. Bolton total chaos and squash up, Potential passengers being told to get the next service. By Deansgate it was virtually empty. Not a good experience.

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  • AndrewJGwilt1989 - 09/09/2017 03:49

    They will replace the Class 350/4's that Transpennine Express are to transfer the 350/4's to London Midland.

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    • TPE Driver - 15/09/2018 07:08

      I'll be driving these, the Glasgow traincrew depot opens for drivers in December and TPE. reckon we should be operational by May 2019 with Nova 2. Doesn't take me long to learn new traction :)

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