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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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National Rail Awards 2018: TRAIN OF THE YEAR Winner - Passenger: Siemens – Class 700 Desiro City

This represents the industry’s most intensive fleet implementation, with all 115 trains delivered on time, by May 2018. The Class 700 fleet introduction involved 1,140 new vehicles being delivered in 30 months (averaging nine per week).

The trains are 30% lighter than previous units on the route, which has been achieved by using aluminium body shells and elimination of duplicated equipment by the use of a fixed formation train with a single set of controls. This also means they are 20% more fuel-efficient.

The reliability of these eight and 12-car trains has now reached 10,000 miles per incident.

Judges felt the design of the doorways and interior space was good for passenger flow, with more than the usual space allowed for luggage on a route serving Gatwick and Luton Airports. The judges were also impressed that there are no seats without windows, which compares favourably with other train designs.

Overall, they felt that this was probably the most successful and significant train introduction programme, with a train that sets new standards in life cycle design, operational efficiency and passenger amenity.

  • For FULL coverage of the National Rail Awards, read RAIL 862, published on September 26, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle on September 22.

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  • Hacked Off Commuter - 15/09/2018 13:23

    Class 700s run by GTR are skimpy seated, poverty specced cattle trucks. If you get a seat they make your backside and legs numb within 5 minutes. They have no tables or sockets.

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    • John Needham - 10/11/2018 15:53

      I absolutely agree. A totally cynical piece of engineering with highly questionable aesthetics. Not only are the seats woeful in that they lack any significant padding and lack a fold out shelf and their backs are far too high creating a claustrophobic forest of seat backs. The front of the train has to be one of the ugliest designs ever conceived.. A veritable dog's dinner of a train. If this was the winner then God help the runners up - or rather God help the people who are forced to travel in these apologies for pleasant and efficient transport.

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    • Mac - 04/12/2018 22:44

      Class 700's are the biggest waste on money ever, The old class 313 had the about the same size seats and more of them. How Great Northern expect people to travel from King's Lynn to Brighton in one of these is beyond me. Hard seats, no foot space beside the window and no table to put a coffee on. If I can avoid a 700 I will and get a later train. Absolute pile of c**p.

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  • Paul - 15/09/2018 14:39

    Evidentially none of the judges have used one of these train in the rush hour! Fewer seats but if you can find somewhere to hold on you can stand up, or sit on the floor. Also the stats on the standing capacity are inflated as they have reduced the space needed to stand form 40sq cm to 25sq cm. This is NOT the train of the future.

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  • Hitchin commuter - 15/09/2018 22:53

    What a joke! As commuter trains these are truly awful. Bum-numbingly uncomfortable seats, too few of them (lots of extra standing room tho to ram more fare paying passengers in) no tables, no charging sockets, no idea what makes a good commuter train!

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