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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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Haines: “be realistic” on rail infrastructure projects

Network Rail Chief Executive Andrew Haines is urging Government to be “realistic” about plans for up to £100 billion worth of infrastructure spending across the life of the current Parliament. 

In the run-up to last month’s General Election, Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to unleash an “infrastructure revolution”, as well as giving his personal backing to the construction of a high-speed route between Manchester and Leeds and improved connectivity throughout the region (dubbed Northern Powerhouse Rail). 

Further details of a £100bn infrastructure fund are due to be revealed by Chancellor Sajid Javid during the Budget announcement scheduled for March 11. A National Infrastructure Strategy will also be published, setting out exactly which schemes stand to benefit. 

The Government has indicated that it is likely to give the go-ahead to both NPR (previously costed at £39bn) and the Midlands Rail Hub (£2bn), although Haines told RAIL that he will also be encouraging ministers to consider ideas where significant benefits can be achieved for less money and through less disruptive works - such as running longer trains.   

 

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 897, published January 29, and available digitally from January 25

 

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