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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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HS2 could halve journey times and boost economy by £1.4 billion

Hourly services from the Curzon Street HS2 station, running to Nottingham, Leicester and Leeds via the East Midlands Hub at Toton could more than halve journey times as well as boosting the economy by at least £1.4 billion.

Midlands Connect has submitted the business case to the Department for Transport, which if approved could see Nottingham-Birmingham journey times cut to 33 minutes from an average of 72 at the moment, while Leicester-Leeds could take 46 minutes rather than the current two hours. Only 19% of Birmingham-Nottingham journeys are made by rail, compared with 51% between Manchester/Sheffield and Birmingham.

Under the latest plans, passengers would use the existing network to reach Toton before boarding an HS2 service. Midlands Connect says its plans would use new classic-compatible electric trains.

“Now we have more clarity over the costs and timescales of HS2, is it time that the true benefits of high-speed rail are also fully understood to make sure the project goes ahead in its entirety, said Sir John Peace, Chairman of Midlands Connect and Midlands Engine.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 888, published on September 25, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from September 21.

  • For the FULL story on Government's HS2 announcement last week, read RAIL 887, published on September 11, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle now.

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