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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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Staged return to work at Hitachi and CAF factories

Hitachi and CAF began a staged return to work at their respective Newton Aycliffe and Newport factories last week, having reduced output following the COVID-19 outbreak (RAIL 902).

Although neither site closed entirely, workloads were reduced with a number of staff unable to carry out their duties as the companies introduced social distancing. The aim was to ensure the sites could return to work quickly once given the go-ahead to do so.

In a statement Hitachi said: “Having completed in-depth risk assessments, we have put in place multiple new systems of work in accordance with the latest Government guidance. This will allow us to start a staged process to return to operational efficiency at our Newton Aycliffe manufacturing site."

At CAF, a skeleton team had remained at work at Newport to keep the workflow going. A bigger team restarted on April 14.

Production there is centred on the final Northern Class 195 diesel multiple units, as well as the West Midlands Railway Class 196 DMUs and the start of the ‘197’ DMU order for Transport for Wales.

At CAF’s Beasain factory in Spain, staff returned to work after the Easter Bank Holiday. This means materials can again be supplied to South Wales.

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

  • For the FULL story regarding the railway's ongoing response to the COVID-19 situation, read RAIL 903, published on April 22, and available digitally now.

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  • Stuart - 13/04/2021 22:36

    Government guidance.. What a joke. It's guidance. This means it's OPTIONAL. It is NOT a requirement!

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