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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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Toton’s future secured… for now

DB Cargo says the immediate future of its Toton depot has been secured, and that neither it nor the adjacent yards need to be demolished to make way for HS2.

This follows suggestions that the site would have to make way for the controversial high-speed line. The operator itself had previously hinted at this possibility last year.

However, the company has not ruled out Toton’s eventual demise. DB Cargo’s UK Chief Executive Hans-Georg Werner said: “While the site may have to move to accommodate new economic development associated with the HS2 Hub Station at some time over the next 15 to 20 years, there is time to work with all interested parties to ensure a holistic approach is taken.”

Werner said HS2 Ltd had confirmed that the land was not required for the baseline plans for the new railway, and that this was good news for DB, its staff and customers.

“Toton is one of the biggest depots in the UK and provides an extremely important service to the rail freight industry. Its future must be handled with care,” he said.

  • The full story is in RAIL 850, published on April 11, and available on Android/iPad from April 7.

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  • Graham Nalty - 29/03/2018 22:55

    Building a HS2 station at Toton is not a good idea. Journey times between Nottingham and London with a change at Toton would take at least 20 minutes longer than a direct HS2 train from London to Nottingham Midland. And it would almost certainly cost less to build the connection between HS2 and the Midland Main Line near Trent or East Midlands Parkway than the grade separated junctions either side of Trent to serve the proposed connecting trains between Toton and both Nottingham and Derby.

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    • ChrisM - 06/04/2018 19:19

      Graham, a number of points. 1) Your '20 minute delay' claim makes no sense as a connecting train will only take 10 minutes from Toton to Nottingham. 2) Nottingham MIdland station will never be able to take 400m long trains and the demand from that location on the edge of the city centre would never fill such big trains. Not that passengers heading further north to Leeds/York and Newcastle would welcome such a lengthy diversion. 3) The East Midlands consists of more than Nottingham, and Toton is a convenient parkway site for the entire region - especially for car drivers. 4) HS2 does not have enough capacity south of Birmingham to run separate Nottingham services. All the available paths will be fully used from 2033.

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      • Graham Nalty - 09/04/2018 16:09

        Chris, thank you for reading and commenting on my post. 1) London to Toton is 52 minutes without a Birmingham stop or 59 minutes with. London to Nottingham would be about 56 without or 63 minutes with a Birmingham stop if a link from HS2 to the MML were built in the Trent or East Midlands Parkway area. Interchange time at Toton under real railway operating conditions would very from 14 to 23 minutes depending on how well trains connect. This information is taken from ticket sales we sites based on the nearest equivalent interchange to Toton. And 12 minutes seems a more accurate estimate of a non-stop train - or 18 minutes with two stops. This gives London to Nottingham direct in 63 minutes and London to Nottingham via Toton in 85 -100 minutes depending on connection time. By contrast London to Nottingham via the MML could easily be expected to reduce to 85 minutes with Marker Harborough improvements and less intermediate stops. 2). Examination of a large scale map shows the distance between the bridges at the end s of Nottingham station to be about 420 metres, so the idea that Nottingham could not accept 400m trains is misinformation. 3).In a post industrial economy such as the UK, wealth is created by growing cities and the largest city in the East Midlands is Nottingham. so economic and transport policy needs to be directed towards making cities more attractive places to work. Toton is only convenient for car drivers and you cannot carry a motor car with you in your hand luggage! The effect may be to make it easier for people to find jobs in larger cities, but a parkway station does not bring people into the city. 4). The best option is to route one London to Leeds HS2 train via Nottingham and this would require not extra paths south of Birmingham.

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  • AndrewJGwilt1989 - 04/04/2018 12:10

    That's good news for Toton and for the East Midlands.

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