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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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RSSB consultation seeks to clarify definition of “heritage vehicles” 

HNRC 20107 and 20096, on hire to GB Railfreight, at Derby on June 26 2015. RICHARD CLINNICK.

New rules on the operation of heritage vehicles have been proposed by RSSB (Rail Safety and Standards Board). 

Respondents have until August 18 to comment on three new sets of standards, which could come into effect in the organisation’s December catalogue. It follows a review recommended by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) in its report into the Wootton Bassett incident on March 7 2015, in which steam locomotive 34067 Tangmere passed a signal at danger (RAIL 771). RSSB was also requested to review the standards by the charter train safety group.

Although two of the three proposed new sets of standards update existing versions, they now encompass diesel and electric traction as well as coaching stock. The previous equivalents only covered steam locomotives.

Harry Needle Railroad Company Managing Director Harry Needle had voiced concerns that the proposals could threaten his business, which overhauls and hires locomotives dating from the 1960s. Additionally, GB Railfreight MD John Smith suggested it could potentially affect his business, as GBRf hires ‘20s’ and ‘86s’.

RSSB said: “For as long as HSTs continue in regular main line service, then they cannot be considered as heritage vehicles.” It says this is a continuation of a principle contained in former Railway Group Standard GM/RT2000.

The proposed standards are: RIS-3440-TOM Rail Industry Standard for Operation of Heritage Trains; RIS-2003-RST Certification and Registration of Heritage Rail Vehicles Operating on the GB Main line Railway; and RIS-4472-RST Engineering Requirements for Steam Locomotives and other Heritage Rail Vehicles.

They can be found at:


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