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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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Portishead plan submitted to Planning Inspectorate

A Development Consent Order (DCO) to reopen the disused 3.45-mile Portishead branch has been submitted by North Somerset Council (NSC) to the Planning Inspectorate.

The project forms part of the MetroWest Phase 1 scheme that will upgrade the Severn Beach and Bath Spa-Bristol routes to operate a half-hourly service and reopen the Portishead line with an hourly service. Reopening the route is expected to cost in the order of £112m.

Services would diverge from the existing freight-only branch from Ashton Junction to Royal Portbury Dock at Pill Junction, over the formation of the former branch line to Portishead which closed to passenger traffic in 1964 and to freight in 1981.

The route was reopened as far as Royal Portbury Dock in 2002. Although track remains in place on the disused railway to the outskirts of Portishead (where a new station will be built), it and the ballast will have to be replaced.

New single-platform stations are to be built at Portishead and Pill. Both will be able to accommodate five-coach trains, although initially only three-coach trains will be used. Trains will run to Bristol Temple Meads.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 893, published on December 4, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle now.

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  • J Tulloch - 05/12/2019 17:26

    Only one train per hour and only 3 coaches! What a wasted opportunity- how is this going to get loads of cars off the roads!!

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