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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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Greater Anglia launches ‘Norwich in 90’ service

The first ‘Norwich in 90’ trains ran today (May 20).

Greater Anglia introduced two faster trains in each direction between Norwich and London, leaving the Norfolk city at 0900 and 1700, returning at 1100 and 1900. The trains only call at Ipswich, which is reached in 55-57 minutes from the capital. They are followed by retimed trains that serve other stations en route. It cuts 12 minutes off Norwich-London journeys and four minutes from the Ipswich journey time.

GA Managing Director Jamie Burles said: “Today’s launch of our new faster services between Norwich, Ipswich and London, is another big step in the transformation of our railway in East Anglia.

“Today we travelled on our existing trains, but this service will run on our brand new Intercity trains as we replace all of our existing trains with brand new state-of-the-art modern trains.”

The faster services were first discussed in 2009, and then came to the political fore in 2014 when then-Chancellor George Osborne asked local MP Chloe Smith to chair a newly-created Great Eastern Main Line Taskforce.

Before the first train, Chris Starkie, chief executive of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and key member of the Great Eastern Mainline Taskforce, said: “This is a great milestone following a long period of negotiations and campaigning. It’s a huge step forward in improving customer experience and cutting journey times.

“Norfolk and Suffolk is one of the fastest growing regions in the country and it needs high quality rail infrastructure to support growth and to help businesses compete in global markets. The LEP strongly believes investing and transforming our railways is essential today and also decades to come ensuring we remain competitive and attractive as a business location.”

MP Priti Patel, (Conservative, Witham), said: “Having established the Great Eastern Main Line Taskforce in 2013 and worked closely with rail user groups, local businesses and MPs, I am delighted to see these new services getting underway today.

“The new ‘Norwich in 90’ and ‘Ipswich in 60’ services are another major achievement for the Taskforce and featured in our original rail investment prospectus to the Government for the Greater Anglia franchise.

“These new services build on the Taskforce’s other recent successes including the launch of Delay Repay 15, passenger refunds for late running services over 15 minutes, and the securing of more than £1 billion funding for new Greater Anglia trains due to come into service within a matter of weeks.”

Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail Anglia’s route managing director, said: “Delivering these faster services for passengers into the new timetable has been a real joint effort, and along with Greater Anglia, we know that ‘Norwich in 90’ will provide better journeys for the people who live and work in the region as well as supporting the local economy.

“Recent performance on the route has been some of the best in years, and together we’re working on various initiatives to make journeys better for everyone.”

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 880, published on June 5, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from June 1.

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  • AndrewJG8918 - 23/05/2019 22:56

    And Chelmsford and Colchester will be missed out. Suppose it’s ideal for Greater Anglia to launch the Norwich in 90 and Ipswich in 60 service. With commuter trains to stop at Chelmsford and Colchester.

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  • kelvin - 26/05/2019 02:08

    NORWICH IN 90 is hardly headline news as this could have been achieved years ago. Only politics have blocked it because Essex commuters have more clout with the government than their fellow east Anglian travellers.This is proven by the fact that peak time express services in 90 minutes are still regarded as heresy on the GEML.

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