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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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Huge increase in capacity on GWR as final Class 800 enters traffic

More than 10,000 extra seats will be available to Great Western Railway passengers on January 2, compared with the same number last year.

This follows the delivery of the final Class 800 Intercity Express Train.

GWR says 658 new carriages have been introduced in the past 18 months, including 57 Class 800s as well as its Class 387 Electrostar fleet. A further 15 Class 802s are to be introduced during 2019.

GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said: “The new Intercity Express Trains have already helped us increase seats on the journeys they operate by almost a quarter, and in the past three months are proving 20% more reliable than the older trains they are replacing. And they’ve helped deliver some of the best on-train satisfaction scores for some time – including improvements in seat comfort and on-board information.

“From the New Year, thanks to the progression of Network Rail’s electrification programme, we will also be able to run electric trains to Newbury for the first time.”

An IET has 24% more seating per train than the High Speed Trains they are replacing.

Hitachi Rail Europe MD Karen Boswell said: “Thanks to the hard work of our teams across the country we’ve now delivered all the Intercity Express Trains for GWR’s mainline route, benefitting millions of journeys. From our train factory in the North East through to our dedicated maintenance teams in London, Bristol and Swansea, we are proud to be part of the Great Western family.”

Following completion of electrification to Newbury, Class 387s suburban commuter will start serving the town from January 2.

Network Rail Western Route MD Mark Langman said: “Passengers from London to the west and south west are now seeing the huge benefits of the biggest modernisation of the railway since it was built following years of upgrades and unprecedented investment.

“We have worked closely with GWR as the railway has been transformed in all regions that we cover.

“In 2019 the transformation will continue including in January where electric services will start at Bristol Parkway and Newbury for the first time.”

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 870, published on January 16, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from January 12.

 

 

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  • AndrewJG8918 - 28/12/2018 12:40

    Well in that case. GWR should start leasing the Class 43 Mk3 HSTs and transfer them to other operators including some that have been cascaded to ScotRail. And GWR to retain some for Cardiff-Penzance and Cardiff-Exeter routes.

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  • cotswoldcommuter - 28/12/2018 22:16

    The trains may be newer and there may be more seats, but journey times are longer now than ever before. The timetable from 1 Jan 2019 demonstrates that the HSTs were able to facilitate a shorter journey duration (as were the Adelante units) between Worcester and London than the IETs. Interesting too that GWR should mention seat comfort since that's one of the most regular complaints from IET users (according to GWR's own staff). The hard seats specified by the DfT are unsuitable for long intercity journeys. Also, first class on the IETs is poor compared with the HST offering.

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  • nikko - 30/12/2018 04:29

    All very nice but delays, cancellations and terrible customer service are the norm with GWR no matter which model train they uae.

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  • Tony Elliott - 31/12/2018 13:48

    Hello, I am a regular user of GWR on the Paddington - Didcot and occasionally beyond. Heard all this before. The Cl 387's have performed well. Playing with seat counts doesn't tell the real story when 10 car Cl 800 trains show up with 5 cars locked out of use, or just a 5 car train. As a result of this I have watched at Reading as down South Wales trains have left people standing on the platform as they could not actually squeeze on to the train. Also when will the seat reservation system actually work on the trains all of the time ? I don't think anything magic is going to happen on the 2nd January to change anything.

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  • Anonymous - 01/01/2019 13:37

    Class 387 are now operating on Reading-Newbury stopper shuttle service. But does that mean GWR could operate a London Paddington-Newbury (Stopping service or Semi-Fast service).

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