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Railways: Eurostar

Volume 706: debated on Tuesday 9 December 2008

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to prepare Eurostar international rail services for sale. [HL110]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the timescale for the prospective sale of (a) the Channel Tunnel Rail Link; (b) Eurostar (U.K.) Limited; and (c) property associated with London and Continental Railways. [HL111]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations have been received from other shareholders regarding the sale of Eurostar. [HL112]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what form of offer for sale is being planned in respect of Eurostar. [HL113]

In the recent Pre-Budget Report, the Government stated:

“Following the passing of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (Supplementary Provisions) Act 2008 last July it is the Government's intention (depending on prevailing market conditions) to proceed with the restructuring of London and Continental Railways Ltd and eventual sale of key assets such as High Speed 1, the rail link between London St Pancras and the Channel Tunnel to deliver best value for the taxpayer”.

This restructuring work continues and HS1 is currently consulting the rail industry on prospective terms and conditions of access for the railway. No decision has been reached on the timing of sale of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, nor in relation to the form or timing of any sale of other London and Continental Railways Ltd (LCR) assets apart from the sale of some surplus land in connection with the HS1 project.

The Eurostar services are an unincorporated international joint venture comprising Eurostar (UK) Ltd (a wholly owned subsidiary of London and Continental Railways Ltd) and SNCF and SNCB respectively. The Government will continue to have discussions with LCR and the joint venture partners in relation to Eurostar.

LCR has had for a number of years a programme to realise value from the sale of land acquired for the project that is now no longer required. This programme is continuing. LCR has completed the sale of certain land holdings at Stratford to the Olympic Delivery Authority and to its development partner Westfield. Other realisations of value from LCR's land interests, principally those at Kings Cross, are expected over the medium term.