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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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March debut for Class 385s?

ScotRail 385103 waits at Glasgow Queen Street before leaving with February 6’s 2107 test run to Edinburgh. It arrived on time at 2212, having stopped at six stations and been held for red signals on a schedule that included 15 minutes of pathing time. Unlike current Class 170s, the new trains have gangways between units, allowing passengers and staff through a whole train. PHILIP HAIGH.

Hitachi expects to receive authorisation to put Class 385s into passenger traffic with ScotRail on March 16, Programme Manager Andy Radford told RAIL on February 6.

Radford was speaking on board 385103, during the evening test run between Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Queen Street.

Approval from the Office of Rail and Road is needed before ScotRail can use the type on the newly electrified route between Scotland’s two major cities. That approval is expected following a test programme that has checked interactions between wheel and rail, pantograph and overhead line equipment (OLE), and the electrical interference the train produces. Radford said that Network Rail had accepted the pantograph/OLE test results the week before.

Meanwhile, on February 6’s test run, Driver Simon Smith from DB easily reached the 50mph speed limits that applies on the steep gradient up Queen Street Tunnel. He said he had to ease back power before reaching the end of the tunnel, to avoid breaking the speed limit. 

  • For much more on the Class 385s including faster journeys, read RAIL 846, published on February 14, and available digitally on Android and iPad from February 10.

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  • AndrewJGwilt1989 - 08/02/2018 19:58

    In total (at present) 46 3-Car and 24 4-Car Class 385’s will enter service in March (hopefully). With the exception of 10 more 3-Car Class 385’s to be added if Abellio does extend the franchise to 9 years either this year or next year. Making a grand total of 56 3-Car Class 385’s and 24 4-Car Class 385’s.

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  • AndrewJGwilt1989 - 09/02/2018 15:15

    Have heard that ScotRail’s Class 170 are to be cascaded to Northern because of the Class 385’s will replace those that have been operated on the Glasgow-Edinburgh via Falkirk line before the electrification started.

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    • FrankH - 14/02/2018 14:09

      Near 40 170's are to be kept (so far) replacing older units ie 156.

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