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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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Network Rail officially declares itself as ‘Open for Business’

Network Rail’s Open for Business programme has implemented its final reforms across the organisation, to encourage third party investment and delivery.

The reforms are designed to reduce cost, red tape and internal bureaucracy, in order to make the railways more attractive to investors, while also allowing other organisations to compete for work normally undertaken by NR.

They follow the publication in July 2017 of the Hansford Review, which was commissioned by NR to identify barriers to third party investment and delivery.

Among the recommendations taken forward by NR was a commitment to embed service level commitments by which other organisations can now hold it to account.

Meanwhile, NR says it has also embedded customer satisfaction surveys for investors and builders that have historically viewed its ASPRO (asset protection and optimisation) teams as gatekeepers to the network and difficult to work with.

Survey responses will now be used to provide a baseline against which ASPRO teams’ future performance can be measured.

NR has looked at 41 categories of risk to third parties, and established an ‘industry risk fund’ to enable it to take risk and fund liabilities when projects encounter unforeseen industry-related problems.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 875, published on March 27, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from March 23.


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