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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?

View the poll

New trains for West of England taking shape

A driving vehicle from 802003 at Pistoia, Italy on May 23. RICHARD CLINNICK.

Testing of the first Great Western Railway Class 802 bi-mode train to be built at Pistoia by Hitachi Rail Italy begins in September. It will arrive in the UK in December, and enters traffic next year.

GWR has 36 Class 802s on order for its West of England services to Devon and Cornwall. These are formed into an initial order of 22 five-car and seven nine-car trains, supplemented last year by a further seven nine-car trains.

They will enable the replacement of the High Speed Trains on the route from the first week of March 2019. 

  • For much more on this, including news and pictures from the Pistoia facility, read RAIL 828, published on June 7.
  • For a detailed trip around Pistoia to visit the '802' production line, read RAIL 829, published on June 21.

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  • Melvyn - 25/05/2017 18:40

    The Government and railway seems to have shot itself in the foot over rail electrification and bi-mode trains given there was a need to replace elderly HST trains but there was no chance of electrification of all the routes HST trains covered. Therefore, a plan involving both full electric and hybrid trains should have been announced from the beginning making it clear that some routes would become fully electric or those that already were would gain electric only trains . But to cover long distance routes hybrid trains would be introduced using electric power on lines already electrified with extent of electric operations extending as electrification progressed but able to switch to diesel mode beyond the wires to maintain connections. I still think it's time Meridian and Voyager trains had extra carriages added to make them bimode is worth it given increasing length of overhead they run under .

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    • BigTone - 27/05/2017 18:17

      Agreed. Also how about adding new-build Class 350 power coaches to the Class 185's? Alsthom, look at making Class 180, 6 coach bi-mode.

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  • AndrewG1989 - 25/05/2017 22:35

    What about the Bi-Mode Class 802's IET's that are to be manufactured for Hull Trains and Transpennine Express (both operated by First Group) as both operators have ordered the Class 802's.

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    • BigTone - 27/05/2017 18:12

      I should imagine that they will be assembled in Italy as Newton Aycliffe has got plenty on. As the 802's have bigger fuel tanks and engines with a different state of tune (940 hp instead of 750 hp) makes sense to keep the assembly lines separate.

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