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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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GB Railfreight in 'locomotive acquisition' talks


GB Railfreight (GBRf) is discussing the possibility of purchasing locomotives with various companies, though no deal is yet in place.

GBRf spokesperson Victoria Adams told RAIL that suggestions that the operator was buying Class 60s from DB Cargo were ‘speculation’. She said: “GBRf has currently no agreement to purchase Class 60 locomotives from DB Cargo, and we have made no offers to purchase.”

She confirmed, however, that GBRf is looking at future locomotive availability, to align with recent new contract wins. She said various options were being investigated, but that no deal for ‘60s’ had been agreed.

Adams added: “We are in discussion with various major UK companies in relation to locomotive acquisition, but no such agreement is yet in place.”

Previously, GBRf Managing Director John Smith told RAIL that the company was talking to manufacturers regarding new trains, and he would not rule out leasing a redundant High Speed Train for high-speed freight once they are returned to rolling stock leasing companies by passenger operators.

GBRf took delivery of its final Class 66/7 in February last year, and currently has 78 Class 66s, 20 Class 73s and 16 Class 92s (not all the ‘73s’ and ‘92s’ are operational). It also hires Class 08s and ‘20s’ from Harry Needle Railroad Company. 

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  • FrankH - 10/07/2017 11:46

    There's only the class 60 and 66's available second hand. The 60's top speed is to slow for intermodal so for the new contract wins from Felixstowe and london gateway it has to be 66's.

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    • BigTone - 10/07/2017 12:57

      Depends what the non-intermodal contracts are. I know there is an oil train out of Immingham. I'm not sure what the sand train's wagons maximum speed is. If they do buy Class 60's, they would be used on trains where the maximum speed is not a defining factor thus releasing 66's for the intermodals

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      • FrankH - 10/07/2017 22:24

        Sand train will probably be 60mph loaded and 75 empty. But unless it gets a decent run will never get near 75mph. It's the extra haulage capacity of the 60's over a 66 plus the fact they can apply all the tractive effort at 0mph as opposed to 6mph on a 66. The big question is will DB Cargo sell them to a direct competitor, Colas wasn't going for DB contracts, GBRF is.

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        • BigTone - 11/07/2017 16:41

          I'm not sure about those sand hoppers, they are 4 wheel wagons so I don't expect 75 mph out of them. Colas did get some DBC contracts and are hauling most of them with 60's (Immingham - Rectory Lane tanks). Grid (56078 for one) delivering fuel to West Burton and Drax power stations. That also brings another question. What, if anything, is being done to the 56s at Leicester?

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          • FrankH - 12/07/2017 23:05

            The 56's are GBRL owned arn't they. Re engining was touted at one time but with coal traffic down so badly I think they're stuck with them. GBRF are going for the locos left idle with the decline in coal traffic. I expect to see class 92's on London Gateway - Scotland intermodal traffic with a loco change at Willesden using the sleeper locos once they've proved reliable.

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      • FrankH - 10/07/2017 22:39

        They've also got the MOD traffic to cover, nothing to heavy there though.

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  • E Houghton - 28/09/2017 18:03

    A class 60 is an ideal loco for oil trains I think that GBrf are going after the ex murco trains from DBCARGO A60 is the loco to have for these trains out class A 66 any day

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