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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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Hitachi targets UK market for battery-powered trains

Battery-powered trains built by Hitachi in the North East could be in traffic by the end of 2023, after the Japanese company signed a deal to develop a battery hub in the UK.

Hitachi will work with Sunderland-based Hyperdrive Innovation to create batteries that can be mass-produced. This follows research by the train manufacturer that suggests there is a potential market for the technology of more than 400 trains.

“Battery trains can play a vital role in improving the air we breathe, tackling climate change and providing modern, high-performing rail service,” said Hitachi Rail Group CEO Andrew Barr.

Hyperdrive Chief Executive Chris Pennison added: “To date, only 42% of UK railways are electrified, with British trains using 469 million litres of diesel each year, emitting over 2.4 million tonnes of CO2 annually. The partnership underpins the vision that the rail industry can be a major contributor to the UK Government’s target of net zero emissions by 2050.”

The initial market for the trains is thought to be for Hitachi’s AT200 range (which includes ScotRail’s Class 385s).

On battery power, Hitachi said the trains will have a maximum speed of 90mph-100mph and a battery mode range of 56 miles. The battery life is expected to be ten years, and the charge will be continuous rather than merely by regenerative braking and charging at the end of service.

The company previously told RAIL that the ‘385s’ and ‘800s’ could be candidates for conversion (RAIL 898).

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 909, published on July 15, and available digitally from July 11.

 

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