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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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Rolling stock “left to rot in sidings”

An unintended consequence of a move to alternative fuels could result in nearly-new rolling stock being “left in a siding to rot”, claims Angel Trains Chief Operating Officer Kevin Tribley.

“If we are looking at carbon-neutral and efficiencies as an industry, it is a shame we are not being efficient in the use of our assets over long periods,” he told the All-Party Parliamentary Rail Group on July 9.

However, he conceded that some rolling stock currently in service could be converted to use new technology, saving them from the scrapyard. 

In the meantime, he expects “another boom of activity that will take the existing diesel fleets with some form of alternative traction” by 2025.

Tribley also joined a chorus of railway industry bodies and companies in calling for a long-term vision from the Government on electrification: “What is critical for us is a consistent policy and strategy on electrification. We’re a long-term industry and we require long-term policy to make big-ticket investments and ensure the railways are financed and used in an efficient way.”

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 884, published on July 31, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from July 27.

  • To read about new trains currently stored in the UK, read RAIL 883, available now.

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