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Eurostar on the brink

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Days before it runs out of money
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
But........all the infrastructure is still there. I can remember my father saying that the worst possible outcome for the ferry companies was for Eurotunnel (and I know it's a different company) to go into administration, as then somebody would pick it up but without the eye-watering debt. Presumably something similar could happen here.
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Matt1959 wrote:
But........all the infrastructure is still there. I can remember my father saying that the worst possible outcome for the ferry companies was for Eurotunnel (and I know it's a different company) to go into administration, as then somebody would pick it up but without the eye-watering debt. Presumably something similar could happen here.


Another haircut for the investors though
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It's a French Company, majority owned by the French railways, which is in turn owned, and subsidised by the French Government.

They won't let it fail. National pride at stake, so they will have to bail it out.

Not sure if that would be a legal bailout/subsidy under EU rules, but might give us some future leeway if they object to any future UK subsidies, eg farming.


Shouldn't cost the UK a penny, but maybe we can buy into it at a bargain price in the next few month? Puzzled Very Happy
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French's problem. Not UK Gov problem to bail them out.
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Ferry companies must be hurting too.
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Matt1959 wrote:
But........all the infrastructure is still there. I can remember my father saying that the worst possible outcome for the ferry companies was for Eurotunnel (and I know it's a different company) to go into administration, as then somebody would pick it up but without the eye-watering debt. Presumably something similar could happen here.


Hasnt Eurotunnel risen from the ashes on quite a few occasions already?
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@davidof, surely thats business. Investors have to take the good and the bad.
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@ster, I didn’t know, but a quick Wikipedia seems to say it went into administration for a period in 2006.
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@Matt1959, I think they have had quite a patchy record and been in and out of a few restructurings.
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The Guardian reports discussion between French and UK governments on providing support for Eurostar.
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From the construction start there has been restructuring of the ownership of the asset and operating companies.

Saying it is a French problem is a little misguided.

While Eurostar the train operating company is now owned by SNCF, 2 funds and SNCB (Belgian equivalent of SNCF) the actual rail asset in the UK "HS1" and also known as the channel tunnel rail link which is about 100km of track is held under a 30 year concession. HS1 LTD hold the concession (Owned by a consortium of funds), they have contracted out the maintenance and operation of the asset to Network Rail (which is an arm's length public body of DfT). HS1 is funded principally from access charges paid by Eurostar and Southeastern - so no trains running mean that not only Eurostar dont make money but also HS1 cannot pay Network Rail - a local employer.

So it is in the interest to keep Eurostar propped up - what is more is that Eurostar will directly contribute to the UKs economy through employment, supply chain purchases with secondary contribution through employee spending in the local economy and tourism.

On a side note Eurostar operating is essential if the UK wants to achieve its NetZero 2050 targets - the transport sector will be the hardest to decarbonise and having a green train vs a flight to paris is very much in the governments interest.
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Frosty the Snowman wrote:
Ferry companies must be hurting too.
Ferry companies still have a lot of freight traffic. I think Eurostar are already down to about 2 services a day, with even those probably nowhere near full.
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@extremerob, net zero targets
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rob@rar wrote:
The Guardian reports discussion between French and UK governments on providing support for Eurostar.


Ironic the france wants UK state aid to bail them out.

Good work by cameron for getting shot of the last uk holdings.

Let the parent company go bust or cap in hand to its owners.
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ecureuil wrote:
Frosty the Snowman wrote:
Ferry companies must be hurting too.
Ferry companies still have a lot of freight traffic. I think Eurostar are already down to about 2 services a day, with even those probably nowhere near full.
freight traffic is down massively
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ecureuil wrote:
Frosty the Snowman wrote:
Ferry companies must be hurting too.
Ferry companies still have a lot of freight traffic. I think Eurostar are already down to about 2 services a day, with even those probably nowhere near full.
Recently Euro* have been running one train in each direction per day.
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extremerob wrote:
From the construction start there has been restructuring of the ownership of the asset and operating companies.

Saying it is a French problem is a little misguided.

While Eurostar the train operating company is now owned by SNCF, 2 funds and SNCB (Belgian equivalent of SNCF) the actual rail asset in the UK "HS1" and also known as the channel tunnel rail link which is about 100km of track is held under a 30 year concession. HS1 LTD hold the concession (Owned by a consortium of funds), they have contracted out the maintenance and operation of the asset to Network Rail (which is an arm's length public body of DfT). HS1 is funded principally from access charges paid by Eurostar and Southeastern - so no trains running mean that not only Eurostar dont make money but also HS1 cannot pay Network Rail - a local employer.

So it is in the interest to keep Eurostar propped up - what is more is that Eurostar will directly contribute to the UKs economy through employment, supply chain purchases with secondary contribution through employee spending in the local economy and tourism.

On a side note Eurostar operating is essential if the UK wants to achieve its NetZero 2050 targets - the transport sector will be the hardest to decarbonise and having a green train vs a flight to paris is very much in the governments interest.



great post
the idea that Eurostar collapsing is no problem for the UK is beyond silly
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@jedster,

Eurostar can collapse and make an opportunity for another company to run the rails.
Bail out should be done by the owners. Not the public purpose while the overseas ownership and shareholders cream off the top. Kick in the teeth when the jack up prices on top.
Let belgium, france and canadian pension funds cough up.
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@Mr.Egg, so then why are we bailing out the airlines with low interest loans that are owned by foreign companies or private investors?

Great example is Wizz Air UK that took £300m from the UK government

Quote:
The exact amount will depend on Wizz Air’s financial status but, given the F3 rating it holds from Fitch, it should qualify to borrow £300 million at an interest rate of just 0.6%.

I thought Wizz Air didn’t need money?
It doesn’t.

Wizz Air is the financially strongest airline in Europe.

As I mentioned in our Lufthansa article on Saturday, an analyst report from Citi last week estimated that Wizz has enough cash in the bank to survive for 22 months without flying. This assumes that it repays all outstanding ticket holders IN CASH and continues to pay all of its bills on time.

Wizz Air is borrowing a potential £300 million from the UK Government because it is dirt cheap money. It has no need for the funding. The money will, most likely, to be used to repay more expensive bank and bond debt.


We should just let everything fail and so to speak let the world raise again from the ashes...

Just an FYI:

Huw Merriman MP, chair of the Transport Committee said: “We simply cannot afford to lose Eurostar to this pandemic. The company contributes £800 million each year to the UK economy.”
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@extremerob, The Times discusses this.

Quote:

A rescue of Eurostar is a conundrum for the UK government because of its refusal to step in and bail out airlines including British Airways, Easyjet and Virgin Atlantic. In addition, Britain gave up its co-ownership of Eurostar when David Cameron’s Conservative-led administration sold its 40 per cent stake in the train operator in 2015, leaving it majority-controlled by the French government indirectly through the 55 per cent stake held by SNCF, the French state railway.


OTOH

Quote:

But the UK taxpayer isn’t bailing out the airlines and British train companies?
Er, yes it is. Billions of pounds in loans, support and furlough money has been made available to privately owned airlines — and the bill for subsidising the UK rail network and its many foreign-owned train companies during ten months of skeleton services is reckoned to be running at an annualised £10 billion.
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@achilles, I don’t have a times subscription but I had seen earlier this evening they had an article on it. Are your excerpts above from this article ?[url=] https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/why-should-we-bail-out-french-controlled-eurostar-0jz58hg9p[/url]
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@extremerob,

We shouldn't be.
Airlines choose where to operate from, usually due to tax reasons... reap what you sow.

As for £800m a year.. that will drop significantly i) now we are not in the EU - so a lot less eurostar to brussels ii) business in general - it will take many years before business meetings face to face happen again. That will hit airlines as well. iii) The finance city of London does not seem welcome in EU anymore...

Why prop up a capacity that is no longer needed.
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@extremerob, sorry your link is not working in my MacBook. I have a subscription that allows me two or three free articles a week, I think. Usually enough. I am not sure that option is still available, though - I think I may have to as a legacy form earlier days. Another snippet from the article:
Quote:

So why are the French telling the UK taxpayer to help to bail it out?
It argues that the British economy — inbound tourism, the City, corporate executives and civil servants travelling to Paris and Brussels — gets as much benefit as France, and probably more, from the trains running into and out of London St Pancras. If Eurostar stopped running, it follows, Britain would be hurt disproportionately.


I don't have a view on what should happen - happy to leave it to the two governments to resolve. I rarely use Eurostar, though on the occasions I have used it I though it brilliant for getting to Paris, but unpleasant as a snow train to the Alps.
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achilles wrote:
I have used it I though it brilliant for getting to Paris, but unpleasant as a snow train to the Alps.
When the kids were little, we'd have lunch in London, Eurostar to Paris for Dinner, then take the the sleeper down to the mountains for Breakfast, which would set us up for a full day's skiing, without even missing a day off work/skOoL.
It was an absolutely magical experience.
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We took the full-on ski train a couple of times with the kids, once from London, once picked up from Ashford, and it worked well for us, and we would quite happily use it again if we weren't driving it now.
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https://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/brexit-news/europe-news/grant-shapps-eurostar-rescue-package-7303688
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admin wrote:
achilles wrote:
I have used it I though it brilliant for getting to Paris, but unpleasant as a snow train to the Alps.
When the kids were little, we'd have lunch in London, Eurostar to Paris for Dinner, then take the the sleeper down to the mountains for Breakfast, which would set us up for a full day's skiing, without even missing a day off work/skOoL.
It was an absolutely magical experience.


Yes, much better way to travel.
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70% of UK train companies are foreign-owned

Southern, London Midland, SouthEastern = French
Gatwick Express, Thameslink = Part-French
Northern, Chiltern, CrossCountry, London Overground, Tyne&Wear Metro, Wales & Borders = German
ScotRail, Merseyrail = Dutch
DLR = Part-German
Essex Thameside=Italian
Heathrow Express = Part-owned Singapore, China & Qatar

All of whom are getting an extra £9bn subsidy to run services in the pandemic. So it seems reasonable for the operators of Eurostar services to ask for subsidies as well. Especially when the airlines get an estimated £8-10bn a year in subsidies on VAT and aviation fuel (that figure after accounting for Air Passenger Duty levies).

I'm not saying they should, rather that we really need a comprehensive review and strategy for future rail transportation that's a bit more than an HS2 Vanity Project and CrossRail for City bankers to get from their Thames Valley mansions to Canary Wharf in comfort. And not caring about whether we lose Eurostar services that connect London to Paris and the continent.


Last edited by You know it makes sense. on Sun 7-02-21 12:16; edited 2 times in total
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LaForet wrote:
70% of UK train companies are foreign-owned

Southern, London Midland, SouthEastern = French
Gatwick Express, Thameslink = Part-French
Northern, Chiltern, CrossCountry, London Overground, Tyne&Wear Metro, Wales & Borders = German
ScotRail, Merseyrail = Dutch
DLR = Part-German
Essex Thameside=Italian
Heathrow Express = Part-owned Singapore, China & Qatar

All of whom are getting an extra £9bn subsidy to run services in the pandemic. So it seems reasonable for the operators of the Channel Tunnel services to ask for subsidies as well. Especially when the airlines get an estimated £8-10bn a year in subsidies on VAT and aviation fuel (that figure after accounting for Air Passenger Duty levies).

They are franchise operators and would have bid for the contract to run that particular line.
Completely different to Eurostar.
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My point is that we don't have an comprehensive strategy for rail infrastructure investment and subsidy. It's just haphazard. Yes, Eurostar is different. Private UK Rail companies are also different. Railtrack is different. Taxpayers subsidy for roads is different. These are all elements in what should be an integrated infrastructure strategy. Refusing to subsidise Eurostar is fine if it's all part of the logic of a strategic rail plan. But not if it's just because you can't be bothered to do some forward planning.
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LaForet wrote:
My point is that we don't have an comprehensive strategy for rail infrastructure investment and subsidy. It's just haphazard. Yes, Eurostar is different. Private UK Rail companies are also different. Railtrack is different. Taxpayers subsidy for roads is different. These are all elements in what should be an integrated infrastructure strategy. Refusing to subsidise Eurostar is fine if it's all part of the logic of a strategic rail plan. But not if it's just because you can't be bothered to do some forward planning.


it's been looked at before.


http://youtube.com/v/IcxlGzmH3JE
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LaForet wrote:
70% of UK train companies are foreign-owned

Southern, London Midland, SouthEastern = French
Gatwick Express, Thameslink = Part-French
Northern, Chiltern, CrossCountry, London Overground, Tyne&Wear Metro, Wales & Borders = German
ScotRail, Merseyrail = Dutch
DLR = Part-German
Essex Thameside=Italian
Heathrow Express = Part-owned Singapore, China & Qatar

All of whom are getting an extra £9bn subsidy to run services in the pandemic. So it seems reasonable for the operators of Eurostar services to ask for subsidies as well. Especially when the airlines get an estimated £8-10bn a year in subsidies on VAT and aviation fuel (that figure after accounting for Air Passenger Duty levies).

I'm not saying they should, rather that we really need a comprehensive review and strategy for future rail transportation that's a bit more than an HS2 Vanity Project and CrossRail for City bankers to get from their Thames Valley mansions to Canary Wharf in comfort. And not caring about whether we lose Eurostar services that connect London to Paris and the continent.


At the risk of sounding like a communist hippy, it's a disgrace that national infrastructure isn't wholly owned and run by the public sector (albeit probably with bought in experience from the private sector if needed). That's the commy bit.

The hippy bit is I'll be gutted if the Eurostar does fail. I've vowed to not fly short-haul ever again and only want to get the train to the alps in future.
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Timmycb5 wrote:
At the risk of sounding like a communist hippy, it's a disgrace that national infrastructure isn't wholly owned and run by the public sector (albeit probably with bought in experience from the private sector if needed). That's the commy bit.


At the risk of sounding like a fellow communist comrade Toofy Grin I'd just observe that certain items such as water supply are natural monopolies. The rationale for private ownership of business to be able to provide more benefits to the general public than public ownership is that there is competition between different private companies to provide the service, thus driving efficiency improvements, but with a natural monopoly there can be no competitors. So with natural monopolies you either have the infrastructure in public ownership (most of the UK's water supply was developed from the Victorian era by munipical authorities e.g Joseph Chamberlain's Birmingham city corporation constructing the Elan reservoir in Wales to supply drinking water to the city), or you have a private company owning the infrastructure but subject to a regulator who can set prices. The benefits of the latter arrangement seem to me to be marginal if they exist at all...
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@Alastair Pink, yup. You know I regret the passing of the CEGB. That said, the Post Office was not a brilliant telephone provider, and Openreach is largely a monopoly - and is not brilliant.
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Alastair Pink wrote:
Timmycb5 wrote:
At the risk of sounding like a communist hippy, it's a disgrace that national infrastructure isn't wholly owned and run by the public sector (albeit probably with bought in experience from the private sector if needed). That's the commy bit.


At the risk of sounding like a fellow communist comrade Toofy Grin I'd just observe that certain items such as water supply are natural monopolies. The rationale for private ownership of business to be able to provide more benefits to the general public than public ownership is that there is competition between different private companies to provide the service, thus driving efficiency improvements, but with a natural monopoly there can be no competitors. So with natural monopolies you either have the infrastructure in public ownership (most of the UK's water supply was developed from the Victorian era by munipical authorities e.g Joseph Chamberlain's Birmingham city corporation constructing the Elan reservoir in Wales to supply drinking water to the city), or you have a private company owning the infrastructure but subject to a regulator who can set prices. The benefits of the latter arrangement seem to me to be marginal if they exist at all...


I'm with you comrade. All utilities and transport infrastructure I reckon.
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achilles wrote:
@Alastair Pink, yup. You know I regret the passing of the CEGB. That said, the Post Office was not a brilliant telephone provider, and Openreach is largely a monopoly - and is not brilliant.


I think Openreach is a private company (but separate from BT itself)? The copper landlines to residential and business premises are a natural monopoly in themselves. In some places there are alternatives which provide competition e.g Virgin's cable service (mainly coax cable which provides more bandwidth than Openreach's copper twisted pair landlines) and of course in some places optical fibre direct to the home for ultra fast broadband (which as I posted about previously was due to be rolled out by BT in the early 1990s but stopped by Margaret Thatcher, but that's another story).
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Timmycb5 wrote:
Alastair Pink wrote:
Timmycb5 wrote:
At the risk of sounding like a communist hippy, it's a disgrace that national infrastructure isn't wholly owned and run by the public sector (albeit probably with bought in experience from the private sector if needed). That's the commy bit.


At the risk of sounding like a fellow communist comrade Toofy Grin I'd just observe that certain items such as water supply are natural monopolies. The rationale for private ownership of business to be able to provide more benefits to the general public than public ownership is that there is competition between different private companies to provide the service, thus driving efficiency improvements, but with a natural monopoly there can be no competitors. So with natural monopolies you either have the infrastructure in public ownership (most of the UK's water supply was developed from the Victorian era by munipical authorities e.g Joseph Chamberlain's Birmingham city corporation constructing the Elan reservoir in Wales to supply drinking water to the city), or you have a private company owning the infrastructure but subject to a regulator who can set prices. The benefits of the latter arrangement seem to me to be marginal if they exist at all...


I'm with you comrade. All utilities and transport infrastructure I reckon.


Anything that is a natural monopoly, like utilities and rail. The problem is they are a ball ache to run, especially running them properly.

I've worked in aviation or utilities for most of my working life and I'm amazed at the amount of effort put into these business to make very little profit.
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Timmycb5 wrote:

At the risk of sounding like a communist hippy, it's a disgrace that national infrastructure isn't wholly owned and run by the public sector.


not old enough to remember when they was then. Shambles of poo-poo it was.
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Timmycb5 wrote:


At the risk of sounding like a communist hippy, it's a disgrace that national infrastructure isn't wholly owned and run by the public sector (albeit probably with bought in experience from the private sector if needed). That's the commy bit.


In theory I agree, but theory and practice don't always go together - these industries were so poorly run when it was the public sector that they just bled money. In theory, they need to be owned publically, but run like a private sector company. But it rarely happens, over time inefficiency and complacency creeps in, and suddenly it's back to the bad old days...
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