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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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Hydrogen trains could run on the Far North Line

Hydrogen trains could serve Scotland’s Far North Line, should a prototype using a redundant Class 314 electric multiple unit prove successful.

Veteran three-car 314209 arrived at the Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway (BKR) by road on December 18 for conversion and tests. It’s hoped it can be demonstrated at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) being held in Glasgow on November 1-12.

The ‘314’ is part of a Scottish Enterprise project, in partnership with Transport Scotland and the University of St Andrews’ Hydrogen Accelerator.

“This is a long-term project with the aim to produce hydrogen fuel cell trains on long-distance routes in Scotland to places like Thurso and the west coast. The key thing is you cannot electrify these lines,” said Professor John Irvine, from the University of St Andrews.

Arcola Energy will lead an industry consortium (featuring Abbott Risk Consulting, AEGIS Certification Services and Arup) on the conversion.

“This project has the potential to be a game changer for the future of Scotland’s rail rolling stock,” said Scottish Transport Minister Michael Matheson.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 922, published on January 13, and available digitally from January 9.

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