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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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Southeastern signs deal to lease unwanted Class 707s

New trains made redundant before they even entered traffic are set for a new home, with Southeastern signing a deal to lease the 30 five-car Class 707s.

The trains had been ordered by South West Trains in 2014, as part of a Government-led High Level Output Specification (HLOS) capacity improvement programme on routes from London Waterloo. They were built by Siemens in Krefeld (Germany) in 2015-17.

When FirstGroup/MTR was awarded the South Western franchise in 2017, it was announced that the entire HLOS rolling stock (including the ‘707s’) would be replaced by 90 Bombardier Class 701s. At that point, the ‘707s’ had not entered traffic (RAIL 824).

Owned by Angel Trains, the ‘707s’ were due to have been replaced by the 701s’ from the end of last year. However, the latter, like every other Bombardier Aventra order, have since been delayed by software issues.

Southeastern is taking the five-car trains as part of its Direct Award announced on March 30 (RAIL 902). Spokesman Paul Prentice told RAIL: “We are in the early stages of planning for additional capacity for the Southeastern network - this is part of the Direct Award contract announced with the Department for Transport."

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 903, published on April 22, and available digitally now.

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