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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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Guidance for Digital Railway programme

A ministerial group set up to provide advice on the Digital Railway programme says the Government should publish a clear statement of policy for the delivery of digital signalling and the benefits expected for passengers and freight customers.

In its recommendations, released on December 18, the group says Network Rail should “find ways to open up its supplier base to a wider range of organisations”.

It wants Network Rail to work with the Government to encourage alternative models of funding, and says the Government should agree a programme of delivery “and then incentivise the industry and give it space to deliver”. It adds that the rail industry should be held to account for delivery.

Better collaborative working is called for, as is development of an incremental programme for the delivery of “targeted and scalable digital signalling and operational innovations, or early ‘quick wins’ which build upon lessons learnt from previous deployments, demonstrate cost-effective delivery and encourage industry and stakeholder confidence”.

Finally, the group says that the Government should work with NR to establish “an appropriate governance structure for the Digital Railway programme”. It adds that: “This must ensure that there is clarity of roles, responsibilities and accountabilities, with appropriate delegation and empowerment.”

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