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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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Proposals for UK use of Alstom’s hydrogen trains

Alstom has confirmed that it is talking to Government about the possibility of its hydrogen trains being used in the UK.

Launched at InnoTrans last year, the Coradia iLint hydrogen-powered multiple unit has been undergoing testing in Germany. A Department for Transport document released on October 19 discusses alternative power for trains, including hydrogen.

An Alstom spokesman told RAIL on October 25: “Alstom is leading the way when it comes to alternative fuel sources for trains.

“We welcome the Government’s commitment to explore moving away from diesel, and believe that our hydrogen technology offers the best and most practical way of achieving this. We are in dialogue with a number of city regions, Government and rolling stock operating companies. We are excited about the potential to bring a hydrogen train to the UK.”

  • For much more on this, read RAIL 839, published on November 8.
  • For more on the Government's requirements for alternative power, read RAIL 839, published on November 8.

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  • Notts Railman - 30/10/2017 09:34

    Our safety regulators will only allow it if the hydrogen tank is completely enclosed by a one metre thick layer of concrete. There will be absolutely no possibility of allowing a filler pipe, as that represents a weakness through which a catastrophic spark might be admitted. You think that is absurd ... it's no more absurd than the "safety" requirements which have killed off electrification.

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    • FrankH - 31/10/2017 09:44

      Some are on order in Germany, so presumably they're safe. Drawbacks I can see are the refuelling stations that will be needed and the transport of fuel to them.

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    • FrankH - 31/10/2017 10:12

      Re electrification I thought it was the GWR OHLE which has caused a re think on other projects. Massive cost overruns, plus having to design non standard equipment to suit the areas it runs through being part of the problem.

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    • Gordon Murray - 16/01/2018 13:33

      Curiously Aberdeen City Council is operating a fleet of 10 hydrogen powered buses with none of the restrictions you have imagined for railway engines.

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  • AndrewJGwilt1989 - 30/10/2017 19:19

    Not sure about Hydrogen trains that will work in the UK. But hope it should work. Rather stick to Bi-Mode trains and electric trains instead.

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  • FrankH - 01/11/2017 23:26

    A hydrogen powered tram is on trial in China. Range 40 km on a 12 kg tank.

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