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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 looks to bi-mode and battery options

Network Rail Chief Executive Andrew Haines has poured cold water on the prospect of a renaissance in electrification schemes across the network during Control Period 6 (April 2019-March 2024).

His intervention comes despite the recent publication of a report by the Rail Industry Association (RIA) that says electrification costs could be cut by as much as 50%, while also urging government to review and renew its electrification programme.

Speaking at a RIA event in Telford on March 19, Haines acknowledged that NR had made huge strides in its delivery of electrification schemes since the beginning of GWEP in 2009.

But he did not expect government to sanction many new schemes, due to the abundance of alternative options available - including bi-mode trains, and emerging hydrogen and battery technology.

While not ruling out any new schemes completely, Haines believed that battery trains in particular presented an exciting opportunity to replace diesel traction on short, isolated sections of track with no overhead or third-rail power supply.

He said: “What I’ve seen already in my time at Network Rail is that we’ve secured lots of cost reductions in electrification - particularly in Scotland - because we have clarity in standards, learned lessons and developed the supply chain. So, I think there’s a place for it, but with caveats.”

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 875, published on March 27, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle NOW.

  • For the FULL story on the RIA report, read RAIL 875, published on March 27, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle NOW.

  • For an in-depth analysis of the RIA report, read RAIL 876, published on April 10, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from April 6.

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  • Paul Hampson - 26/03/2019 13:28

    No other country in the developed world has taken this stance. Proof if it was needed of the illogical, irrational, completely bonkers thinking that has characterised anything the UK public sector has done for the past 40 years. Battery trains may be ok for lightly loaded branch lines but have nothing to offer mainline traction. Bi modes with diesels are just diesels when off the wire! How does this advance the decarbonisation of the rail network?

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  • AndrewJG8918 - 26/03/2019 23:46

    VivaRail are converting the Ex-London Underground D78 Stock (Class 230 “D-Train”) as Diesel-electric (DEMU). And Battery operated units (BMU). With London Northwestern Railway to start introducing the Class 230 units in service on the Marston Vale line in summer this year since it’s been delayed.

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  • Duncan Bhaltair Eanraig Wilson - 17/04/2019 14:46

    What? No misleading/false comments from Andrew Gwilt on this one?

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