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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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Government ponders changes on CrossCountry

Longer trains and major changes in service patterns on the CrossCountry franchise are being suggested by the Government, in its public consultation released on June 7.

The franchise is due to be renewed towards the end of 2019, and the consultation follows an earlier exercise examining potential future timetables.

Among the ideas suggested are transferring local services such as those between Birmingham and Leicester/Nottingham to other operators, and curtailing or diverting one of the current CrossCountry trains serving Newcastle further south (for example, to Leeds or Doncaster) to help alleviate capacity constraints on the northern section of the East Coast Main Line.

At one extremity of the network, the Department for Transport (DfT) suggests that Great Western Railway’s twice-hourly service between Plymouth and Penzance from December 2018 could be covered by GWR operating trains earlier and later. From Torbay, the DfT argues that a “marginal reduction” from Torbay could then allow a half-hourly northbound CrossCountry service from Exeter to connect into the Plymouth-Penzance service.

From Edinburgh to Aberdeen, the DfT says it “may be possible” to reach agreement with Transport Scotland to provide alternative services. 

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 855, published on June 20, and available digitally on Android/iPad from June 16.

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  • AndrewJG8918 - 11/06/2018 19:00

    Could Crosscountry provide a new service from Nottingham to Norwich by using their Class 220 Voyagers and Class 170 Turbostars. As East Midlands Trains are to scrap the Liverpool Lime Street-Norwich Route.

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    • Steve - 29/06/2018 14:58

      The Crosscountry services should reflect the best practices of the very long distance trains that operate on the continent by their parent company, DB. This means: Longer trains. Comfortable seats with plenty of legroom. More table seats. The option of compartment style seating. An on board bistro carriage serving decent hot meals (not expensive 'Pullman' fine dining in First Class carriages as on GWR). Family compartments so that noisy children do not bother other passengers and have room to play/rest. A guard's van with CCTV for large items of luggage. Is it really too much to ask? Is it really too much to ask on a long train journey?

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  • Nova 3 - 11/06/2018 23:21

    For the Longer trains, Cross Country could introduce the 9 Car HSTs from Virgin Trains East Coast to run with the Class 221 Super Voyager (operating as 5 & 10 Cars) on the Penzance/ Plymouth to Edinburgh/ Aberdeen and Southampton Central/ Reading to Newcastle routes. While the 220s could do the Cardiff Central to Nottingham route, Birmingham to Leicester/ Nottingham and Manchester Piccadilly to Bristol and Bournemouth releasing the Class 170s to future routes or other operators.

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    • Jon Porter - 15/06/2018 00:07

      Quite! I watched today as a ridiculously small 4 car Voyager unit filled to the rafters at Bristol tried to fit even more people in. It's eventual destination Dundee. Ex GWR and VTEC HSTs can be made PRM compliant and proper sized trains put onto these long distance services.

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      • April Victoria Durnin - 14/10/2018 15:15

        that's true too few train carriages on the route especially on the Manchester Stoke to Torbay route.

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  • derek brown - 25/09/2019 11:45

    would be nice some old class 43 redone up put on the Manchester to bounemouth as well Newcastle reading stil usesome class220/1 two routes you what more seats

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