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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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Grand Central suspends services

Grand Central has followed fellow open access operator Hull Trains in confirming suspension of its services for a second time, due to lockdown.

Owned by Arriva, GC receives no Government support via the Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements (ERMAs) and relies on ticket revenue.

Trains will stop running at the end of service on November 6. The operator plans to return from December 3, with tickets currently on sale for that date onwards.

GC Managing Director Richard McClean said: “After careful weighing up of our options and following discussions with the Department for Transport and trade union representatives, it’s clear that the difficult but necessary measure of taking a short period of hibernation is our only course of action.

“The new lockdown will bring an inevitable fall in passenger numbers, meaning it is not possible to continue operating during this period.”

Open access operators can make use of the Government’s furlough scheme, however.

The COVID-19 situation has already forced GC to abandon its planned introduction of a London Euston-Blackpool North service.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 918, published on November 18, and available digitally from November 14. 


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