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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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Pacers to return to Manchester passenger route

Pacers will return to passenger services in the North West, running on the Southport-Manchester/Alderley Edge route.

They are needed because of the delayed introduction of four-car Class 769 FLEX bi-modes.

Northern confirmed in June that it was keeping 33 Pacers for the rest of the year (RAIL 907), having received dispensation from Government to extend their withdrawal deadline until the end of the year. None of the 13 Class 142s or 20 Class 144s that are being retained meet accessibility regulations, and initially they were to be kept as a contingency.

The ‘769s’ were needed to cover for delays to electrification projects in the North West, but were themselves delayed during their conversion from Class 319 electric multiple units. While all eight ordered have been delivered (Northern is leasing them from Porterbrook), crews are unable to carry out driver training on them due to social distancing rules because of COVID-19.

A Northern spokesman told RAIL: “This is not a decision we have made lightly, but it is necessary as we are unable to run the Class 769 bi-mode trains as planned."

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 908, published on July 1, and available digitally from June 27.
  • For the FULL story regarding the extension of the dispensation for Northern Pacers, read RAIL 907, out now.


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