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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 industry misses target over accessibility compliance

More than 1,500 vehicles have received dispensation to operate on the main line, despite not adhering to new accessibility regulations.

In total, 11 train operating companies (TOCs) have letters from the Department for Transport, giving them dispensation to use vehicles that are not fully accessible.

The deadlines for the vehicles’ removal from traffic vary through the year, and the TOCs must inform the DfT of the refurbishment or introduction of new fleets that are designed to replace the compliant vehicles every 28 days.

DfT released the vehicle identities at 1500 on December 31. The letters had been sent to the operators between November 14 and December 20 2019. The deadline for all trains to meet the accessibility regulations was December 31 2019.

More than half the vehicles (50.5%) are used by Greater Anglia, and should have been replaced mainly by Bombardier Class 720 electric multiple units and Stadler Class 745/0 electric multiple units.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 896, published January 15, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from January 11.

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