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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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TfL sets out five-year business plan

Transport for London says passenger income for 2018-19 is expected to be very close to the budgeted figure of £4.77 billion, despite delays to Crossrail, and that it is on track to beat cost estimates by £246 million.

The five-year business plan, which was due to be discussed by TfL’s Finance Committee on December 13 (after this issue of RAIL went to press), points out that 15% fewer transport trips are being made in the capital than four years ago, and that bus journeys are declining.

However, journeys on London Underground are beginning to rise again after patchy growth. TfL claims its fares freeze “has helped cushion London from the severity of impacts seen elsewhere around the country”.

The transport body says it expects to break even by 2022-23 - a year later than planned. due to lower demand for transport and the delay to Crossrail. It expects demand for LU to continue the trend from 2017-18, although rail growth is expected to be significantly lower than forecast in 2016, with a 13% increase in journeys by 2023-24.

It plans to change how it is funded by generating more of its income from fares, reaching a planned 64% of total revenue by 2023-24. Grant income is expected to decline as a percentage of income from 24% in 2018-19 to 19% in 2023-24, with charging and commercial income doubling from 8% to 16%.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 868, published on December 19, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from December 15.

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