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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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Williams and Minister to speak at RAIL conference this week

Keith Williams, author of the Williams Review, and Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris have joined the stellar list of speakers for RAIL’s National Rail Recovery Conference (February 23-25).

Headlining the third and final day of the virtual event, Williams will join the other speakers in the morning’s plenary session on a live Q&A panel with delegates.

As this issue of RAIL went to press, more than 1,200 people had registered to attend the event, which will take place over three half-days. And since the full list of speakers to-date was published in RAIL 924, more new speakers have been confirmed, including:

Day One

Laura Shoaf - Chairwoman, Urban Transport Group, and Managing Director, Transport for West Midlands.

Professor Andrew McNaughton - Professorial Fellow, University of Southampton (Former Technical Director, HS2 Ltd).

Salim Patel - Strategic Rail’s Programme Manager, Transport for the North.

Day Two

Daisy Chapman-Chamberlain - Rail Knowledge Transfer Manager, KTN.

Dan Piner - Rail Innovation Lead, Innovate UK.

Kathryn Oldale - Head of Strategy, Policy and Communications, DB Cargo.

Chairing the plenary sessions for the conference as well as some of the breakout sessions throughout the event is RAIL’s Managing Editor and Events Director Nigel Harris.

He will also be interviewing Network Rail Chairman Sir Peter Hendy CBE about the key challenges and opportunities ahead for rebuilding rail in the 2020s and beyond. And he will be joined in his chairing role by a number of rail industry names, including:

Paul Clifton - BBC Transport Correspondent.

Neil Robertson - Chief Executive, National Skills Academy for Rail.

Anthony Smith - Chief Executive, Transport Focus.

Also from Transport Focus - Senior Stakeholder Managers Louise Collins, Linda McCord and Nina Howe, and Stakeholder Manager Catherine Folca.

You can view the full agenda for the event and complete list of speakers at www.nationalrailconference.com.

If you’re reading this after February 25, you can still register for the event to watch any of the presentations and Q&A sessions on-demand for the next three months. Visit www.nationalrailconference.com to register now.

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