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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 leads UK’s economic regeneration - Mark Thurston

HS2 is the most important economic regeneration project in decades, delegates at RAIL’s National Rail Recovery Conference were told on February 23.

HS2 Ltd Chief Executive Mark Thurston said that during the peak of construction in two to three years’ time, HS2 will support 30,000 jobs plus many more in the supply chain.

He added that all contracts for Phase 1 (London-West Midlands) would be awarded by June 2023.

“We are creating something the industry really needs - a solid pipeline of construction activity and a clear timetable for investment,” he said.

“We have 20 years of construction ahead of us to take the route all the way into Manchester and beyond. This is giving a level of certainty to the industry for that investment in jobs and skills.”

Discussing HS2 stations, he said that “Euston represents one of the capital’s biggest redevelopment opportunities”, adding that this would be both for residential and commercial buildings.

As for other facilities on the route, Thurston said: “Investment around stations will act as a catalyst of growth and help level up the country.”

Areas around Interchange and Curzon Street stations in Birmingham are set to become two of the best-connected and most productive areas of the UK, he said, while Old Oak Common is the UK’s largest regeneration scheme and could add some £7 billion to the UK economy.

  • Full coverage of the National Rail Recovery Conference will appear in RAIL 926, on sale digitally March 6 and in print on March 10. You can still register to watch any of the NRRC sessions on-demand within the next three months, by going to www.nationalrailconference.com

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