Eurostar CRISIS: Expert urges UK to be tough with French over bailout - 'Take ...

Eurostar: Passengers join large queue for trains ahead of closure

Eurostar is 55 percent owned by French state rail company SNCF and the UK Government sold its stake to private companies for £757 million six years ago. But the service has been brought to its knees by the coronavirus pandemic and currently operates just one daily train in each direction between London and Paris, and between London and Amsterdam via Brussels.

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Provide all the support Eurostar needs to survive in exchange for half-a-dozen e300 train sets

Mark Smith

The company says is fighting for survival amid a 95 percent fall in passenger numbers and losses of millions of pounds a week.

French junior transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari told a parliamentary hearing in Paris he was in talks with the UK counterparts about a joint bail-out.

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Officials in London are concerned about propping up a foreign-owned business with British taxpayers' money.

But travel expert Mark Smith, who runs the website, said the UK should offer its financial support in return for a fleet of trains.

EurostarBritain should bail out Eurostar but take trains in return, an expert has suggested (Image: GETTY)

He said: “It would be extremely embarrassing for UK government if Eurostar collapsed.

“My plan, were I the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, is to provide all the support Eurostar needs to survive – but in exchange for half-a-dozen e300 train sets.”

He said the 11 e300s trains originally built for Eurostar did not offer the premium standard of the newer e320s but had been refurbished and upgraded and could be leased back to Eurostar when traffic returns or offered to a start-up operator.

He told the Independent: “Faced with such a prospect, SNCF might stump up the funds, Eurostar survives, I win.

"Or if it’s really a matter of

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