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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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New rolling stock lowers the average age of UK train fleet

The average age of Great Western Railway’s fleet dropped 7.9 years to 14.7 years in 2018-19, as Class 800s and ‘802s’ replaced ageing High Speed Trains.

Overall, according to the latest figures from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), the average age of the national train fleet in 2018-19 was 19.2 years, a decrease of 0.4 years compared with 2017-18.

On LNER, the fleet age fell 5.4 years to 25.7 years, although the Hitachi Class 800s were introduced from May, after the calculations are complete.

Caledonian Sleeper’s rollout of new Mk 5s almost halved the age of the operator’s fleet - by 18.9 years to 19.6 years.

Franchised operator fleets decreased in age by 0.5 years, while non-franchised operators increased by 1.9 years.

The age of stock is calculated as at the end of March 2019, against the same time period the year before. If a vehicle is no longer leased by the operator, it is removed from the dataset.

An ORR spokesman further explained: “The average age is based on when the train operator started hiring the vehicle. For Caledonian Sleeper and LNER the coaches were hired or built in 2018-19 and then they didn’t put them into use for passengers immediately.

“The data we receive doesn’t tell us when the rolling stock was first introduced for use by passengers, only when the train operator hired it. The delay could be due to testing, safety checks, and so on.”

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 892, published on November 20, and available digitally now.

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  • Simon Moppett - 18/11/2019 09:16

    "Caledonian Sleeper’s rollout of new Mk 5s almost halved the age of the operator’s fleet - by 18.9 years to 19.6 years." Should that be 9.6 years?

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