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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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Porterbrook: modified trains have a role to play

Repurposing older trains to keep them in service will help the railway meet the challenge of climate change, according to Porterbrook.

In a statement on March 26, the rolling stock leasing company said that while new trains are still necessary for when existing fleets reach the end of their careers, the UK needs immediate practical solutions that can deliver lower carbon and reduced emissions.

Self-powered trains will still be needed, with Porterbrook investing in battery-powered trains, hybrid technology and hydrogen. It says this can be retrofitted to existing trains (such as the hydrogen Class 769 at Long Marston, plans for a battery Class 350/2 and a hybrid Turbostar).

Porterbrook said that while rail was acknowledged to be one of the greenest modes of transport, its carbon footprint was let down by the emissions created by the manufacturing process. It stated its belief that maximising the service life of trains, as well as avoiding premature scrapping, helps save unnecessary carbon emissions.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 902, published on April 8, and available digitally now.

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