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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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EXCLUSIVE: Porterbrook shifts new business approach to ‘think like the user’

New technology, rethinking the on-board offer for passengers, and thinking like the user are the influences behind Porterbrook’s new way of working, Chief Executive Mary Grant revealed at Rail Live on June 20.

Speaking exclusively to RAIL, Grant explained that the rolling stock leasing company has £1 billion that it wants to invest. This includes looking at different technology that can be fitted to existing fleets.

She warned that the company cannot look at investment in terms of Control Periods or franchise lengths, explaining: “Our support is leveraging private finance and to take the asset through its life. We are the stewards for life.”

This thinking is behind various developments including HydroFLEX, as well as working to reduce the emissions of its diesel fleet.

“We are actually challenging decarbonisation now. We have high-performing fleets that are future-proofed. We are being responsible,” said Grant.

“The fleet cascades are critical. The receiving operator needs support for the trains.”

Grant said conversations are taking place with Network Rail in terms of what Porterbrook must do to be ready for the introduction of the digital railway.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 882, published on July 3, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle now.

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