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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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Pacer withdrawal programme finally under way

Northern finally withdrew its first Class 142 Pacer on August 12.

Two-car 142005 was the first of 79 to be taken out of traffic, following the arrival of new trains as part of a £500 million investment.

The Pacer had covered more than three million miles in its 32-year career, which concluded with the 1123 Manchester Victoria-Stalybridge before it ran to Newton Heath with 142046 for storage. The latter has also been removed from traffic.

“I am delighted to see the start of the Pacer trains retiring from the Northern network. This is a milestone moment for passengers in the North, as part of our commitment to delivering more comfortable, frequent and reliable journeys,” said new Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris.

Northern is introducing new Class 195s on longer-distance routes, enabling it to cascade other diesel units to routes previously operated by Pacers.

The first withdrawal was some nine months late. According to the Northern franchise agreement, the first five ‘142s’ should have been removed from traffic on November 10 last year.

As this issue of RAIL went to press, 69 of the 79-strong ‘142’ fleet should have been out of traffic - instead, just seven are. The aim is for all 79 Class 142s to be withdrawn by December 31, two months later than stated in the franchise agreement.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 886, published on August 28, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from August 24.

  • For the FULL story on Pacer withdrawals, read RAIL 885, out now.



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