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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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GTR Chief Executive Horton resigns

Charles Horton, Chief Executive Office of Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), is resigning.

Go-Ahead Group plc has confirmed he will remain in post for a short period to oversee the development of a temporary timetable. His successor will be announced in due course.

Horton said: “I recognise that passengers have been hugely frustrated at the significant disruption caused by the introduction of new timetables. It is the right time to hand leadership of GTR to a new pair of hands. I am immensely proud of my team and I would like to thank my 7,000 colleagues at GTR for all their hard work over the past four years.”

David Brown, Group Chief Executive of Go-Ahead, said: “I would like to thank Charles for his hard work with Govia for the past 15 years. Under often challenging conditions, he has built a team to deliver the largest railway change programme for decades, on a franchise that is not only the UK's biggest, but which has also has seen the highest passenger growth.

“We are committed to working with the Department for Transport and Network Rail to address recent problems and to deliver a reliable, punctual service for passengers.”

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash called for GTR to be renationalised.

He said: “Mr Horton may now have gone but the rotten franchise he was steering remains in place and no change at the top will alter that. This whole basket case operation is a failure on every level. 

"The Horton resignation opens the door for this sorry chapter to be bro‎ught to a close and that means sweeping GTR away and returning the services to public ownership with safety, access and quality the guiding priorities."

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 856, published on July 4, and available digitally on Android/iPad from June 30.

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