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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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Sir John Armitt: Long-term strategy key to supply chain resilience

The best way to ensure sufficient capacity in the infrastructure supply chain is to give more certainty to its long-term plans and strategy.

That was the message from National Infrastructure Commission Chairman Sir John Armitt to the House of Commons Transport Select Committee on April 24.

Asked if there would be enough capacity to deliver HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, Armitt told MPs: “At the end of the day, quite how the sequencing will work out and how that relates to the capacity of the industry is uncertain. It will become more certain with time.

“HS2 itself has talked about a labour force required of 25,000 at peak. The Midlands Rail Hub is a £2 billion programme of upgrades to existing lines, whereas Northern Powerhouse Rail is a much bigger collection of different schemes, some of which are upgrades and some of which are new lines.

“Therefore, the capacity of the industry, to a certain extent, will be what it is at the time - depending on what else is going on in the wider infrastructure world.”

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 904, published on May 6, and available digitally from May 2.


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