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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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Industry urged to decide on alternative technology

The rail industry needs to decide on the right approach to alternative technology as soon as possible, to ensure the industry can continue to reduce emissions.

That’s according to Anthony Perret, head of sustainable development at the RSSB (formerly the Rail Safety and Standards Board), who told the All-Party Parliamentary Rail Group meeting on July 9 there is a “huge” opportunity to replace ageing Sprinter trains with new units powered by alternatives.

“The Sprinter is around 30 years old, and there are around 1,000 vehicles that are all coming towards the end of their lives. Their replacement on the network is a real step-change into action,” he said.

“We need to actually get on with alternatives where we are not going to electrify.”

Perret said there was uncertainty about the cost and capacity of battery and hydrogen which “makes it difficult to establish a robust cost-case for an ambitious long-term vision at this stage”.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 884, published on July 31, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from July 27.

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