Readers will recall the pieces we have written about the issues affecting Eurostar and the UK’s HS1 (the high-speed link between London and Folkestone).
Now Jacques Damas, CEO of Eurostar, and Dyan Crowther, CEO of HS1, have penned a request in The Independent for government intervention.
“With a 95 per cent fall in traffic since March this year and the timetable now reduced to just two daily return services, there is a risk that this iconic service will be left to fail, threatening jobs, connectivity and reversing the progress to reduce travel emissions. We are now at the point where we believe urgent government intervention is essential to help our businesses and safeguard the high-speed rail connection to Europe.”
We have reported previously that Eurostar can only operate a sparse schedule to its destinations – the countries it operates to have all suffered some form of lockdown and/or quarantine restrictions.
For its part, HS1 is losing a substantial amount of revenue which it normally receives in the form of the toll fees charged to Eurostar. Moreover, fewer passengers using both Eurostar and the domestic South Eastern Railway trains equate to less retail spend at its stations.
We reported on the issues faced by HS1 two months ago.
In conclusion the CEOs say “If Eurostar fails HS1 will also fail along with the South Eastern domestic service.”
What do I think? Well, Eurostar is certainly suffering. It has a large team of skilled staff along with a fleet of hi-tech trains which are largely standing idle.
As for HS1, I find it difficult to see the domestic South Eastern service to St Pancras disappearing.
After all, I believe these Hitachi high-speed trains are not certified to operate into London’s other termini.
Yes, I realise there are fewer commuters today, but would our government allow a rail travel decline in such a congested area of the UK ?