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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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"Let me provide reassurance - the White Paper is coming" - Rail Minister on Williams Review

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris told the National Rail Recovery Conference this morning: “We are working to agree the White Paper publishing date. Let me provide reassurance - the White Paper is coming. It could be argued some of the mooted changes have already happened.”

Heaton-Harris said railways have faced many challenges in their history, including two world wars and previous pandemics, but that they have always adapted and improved.

“We need to harness this spirit and get people back on board,” he concluded.

Speaking at the same event, Shadow Transport Secretary Jim McMahon said: “The Government are going to have to come forward with their response to the Williams Review. They cannot keep ducking it.

“We need to know what the structure of rail will be in the UK. That will inform our position ahead of 2024, when we take stock of where the Government has led us to.”

  • 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.co

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