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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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GBRf confirms Class 69 conversion

GB Railfreight (GBRf) has confirmed an order for 16 Class 69s that will be converted from Class 56s it bought last year.

The locomotives will be converted by Progress Rail, from which GBRf will also lease the ‘69s'.

Work involves replacing the existing Ruston-Paxman RK3 engines and control gear with EMD 12-710 Series engines rated for EU Stage IIIA emissions certification, and updated electronic controls based upon the Class 66 design. The Class 56s were built between 1976 and 1984.

Prototype 69001 is due for delivery in May 2020, and GBRf believes the locomotives will offer more power, reduced fuel consumption and improved emissions as well as enhanced driving cab environment compared with the Class 56.

In a statement, the operator added that the locomotives will also address the shortage of locomotives available in the UK. No work has been mentioned for the ‘69s’, but they will be able to replace ‘66s’, enabling GBRf to utilise its fleets more efficiently. The company is also known to be interested in operating construction trains for High Speed 2 and these are understood to be resource heavy.

“This is a fantastic move, which will enable GBRf to expand its operations significantly, whilst also providing the extra freight capacity the industry really needs,” said GBRf Managing Director John Smith. “I remember working on the ‘56s’ as a young engineer, and it really will be amazing to see them come back into use under the GBRf banner.”

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 877, published on April 24, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from April 20.

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  • AndrewJG8918 - 04/04/2019 05:04

    Class 69s could also be used on open access train operators to operate a direct passenger service say like from London Euston, London Marylebone or London Paddington to Wrexham, Chester, Shrewsbury, West Wales, Mid Wales and North Wales.

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  • paul - 09/04/2019 15:18

    the class 56 as this article fails to promt was originally converted from a class 47

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  • Stevie Nicholson - 22/09/2019 14:58


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  • Leon Whitfield - 08/12/2019 23:47

    I dont understand why cant use class 60s dump at toton depot

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  • Leon whitfield - 28/12/2020 13:38

    When is class 93s to avvive in UK. Plus why don't u use class 60s dumped a toton as well . Whot a waste . Use double headed 60s more powerful and don't make much nosies

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  • Richard Davies - 15/01/2021 19:07

    Excellent magazine I have been a subscriber for many years.Keep up the good work.

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