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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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Rail freight sector outlines hopes for UK growth

A better joined-up railway with strong incentives to accommodate rail freight growth is a key requirement, according to the freight sector’s submission to the Williams Review.

It wants Government to align policy across road and rail freight, to ensure a level playing field before investing. And it says that a network and timetable co-ordinated on a UK-wide basis is essential for the sector to deliver £30 billion worth of goods each year, while being flexible enough to meet customer demands.

Hans-Georg Werner, chairman of the Rail Delivery Group Freight Board, said: “An aligned approach, locally and nationally, will not only support the rail industry as a whole, but will deliver significant benefits to rail freight. The contribution made to the UK economy by rail freight and the environmental benefits associated with it are vast - we need to support the further growth and development of this sector to ensure we can continue to keep Britain moving.”

The priorities were published by the RDG, following engagement with freight operators, Network Rail and the Rail Freight Group.

It points out that rail freight delivers around £1.7bn of benefits to Britain, that moving goods by rail reduces carbon emissions by 76%, and that a single freight train can remove 76 Heavy Goods Vehicles from the roads.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 880, published on June 1, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from June 5.

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