Naah, let ’em go bust

Eurostar is on track for a financial collapse that risks cutting off a vital link to the Continent as the pandemic subsides, business leaders and MPs have warned the Chancellor.

Rishi Sunak is also this weekend facing public calls to bail out the Channel Tunnel operator after repeatedly rejecting private appeals for taxpayer support.

Eurostar has been left fighting for survival after travel restrictions triggered a 95pc plunge in passengers since March 2020. It has pared operations to just two services-a-day as it scrambles to preserve cash.

Industry sources said that forecasts indicate it could run out of money as early as April, although company insiders insisted its reserves could be stretched until the summer.

A letter sent this weekend from business leaders to Mr Sunak and Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, urges them to act. It says: “[We are] concerned about the prospects of Eurostar, and are calling on swift action to safeguard its future. With international passenger numbers likely to remain low into the spring, our green gateway to Europe is in peril.”

So, it goes bust. And?

The tunnel’s still there, the trains exist, the workforce doesn’t get decimated or anything. What goes bust is the legal wrapper. Some capitalists lose some money.

The moment it does go bust some other capitalists will step in because the tunnel’s still there, the trains, the workforce.

That is, Eurostar can go bust and we simply don’t give a fuck. Since we don’t we don’t need to do anything, do we?

27 thoughts on “Naah, let ’em go bust”

  1. Passenger TOC’s are backed by Government guarantee. If any of them go bust the taxpayer steps in, which is the situation now really as they are being paid a management fee to run the services. AFAIAA, freight companies aren’t covered by the same guarantee.

  2. Eurostar is on track for a financial collapse that risks cutting off a vital link to the Continent as the pandemic subsides, business leaders and MPs have warned the Chancellor.

    Take out the reference to the Chyna Bat Koof and this headline could have been written at any time since the mid-90’s. Eurostar has always been up financial shit creek without a paddle. This is just the banks looking for a bailout on their underwater loans that Eurostar can never repay.

    Let the buggers go bust and the banks take the hit for their foolish lending. A new Eurostar would arise like a phoenix from the ashes without the debt that it has carried around for decades. Alternately, the banks can take yet another haircut. Neither of these problems has got anything to do with either the UK government nor it’s customers, whose travel tickets will be refunded.

  3. Unless Euro tunnel has a lot of debt to service, presumably the point is that currently there are so few people using it that it isn’t worth paying the staff to maintain and run the trains, and this is why they are going bust.

    From this I’m not sure it’s immediately clear that anyone else would want the “assets”, as it seems likely that running empty trains will be as unprofitable for any other operator as it is for Eurotunnel.

    Presumably the logical thing would be to mothball the lot, furlough allmost the employees and hope that the cash doesn’t run out before they can resume business.

    Somehow I can’t see it being allowed to close for good; the gravy train types like their taxpayer funded trips to Brussels, and if they have to subsidise a railway to get that, guess what they’ll do?

  4. “A new Eurostar would arise like a phoenix from the ashes” Named?

    How about Brexitstar? BoJo choof-choof? The Micron Xpress?

  5. It does not appear to be a vital strategic asset that needs to be subsidised, so no reason not to shut it down. If the tunnel’s flooded, the EU will need to build a navy as well as an army to recover its dissident province.

  6. According to the wiki Eurostar is 55% owned by the French national railways. Why the fuck should the British government bail them out?

  7. The government should run a special asylum seekers’ underground railway. Undercut the guys with dinghies in Calais, but still charge a couple grand per head, that’ll keep it going for a bit. They don’t even need trains, those lever-powered carts that one sees in western movies will do.

  8. Given that this the only reason this is happening is imbecilic Government policy / restrictions (both frogs and us I accept), then my sympathies lie entirely with those being screwed. I’m guessing they’ve already furloughed most staff and it’s not enough. If insurance (loss of business) doesn’t cover it, then sue the perpetrators? Personally, starting with the lying toad at No 10..

  9. I was going to write something about how it’s rather unfair for a private company to be penalised and driven to bankruptcy by the unforeseeable actions of Government.
    But after reading the the previous comments I be like, “nah, fuck ’em”

  10. Bloke in China (Germany province)

    IT is of course the ideal time to do this, while there is so little demand that it will actually cause no disruption at all. Add 1 flight and 1 ferry a day (also running skeleton service so there is tons of unused capacity) and you are done, and you have months in which to fix the structure before demand comes back, if our fearless rulers ever intend to let us travel again.

  11. Bloke in China (Germany province)

    “…as the pandemic subsides,…”

    Actually I think the whole article is about this clause. While the overt message is still “PANIC!!! EVERYONE IS GONNA DIE!!! MUTANT KILLER VIRUS!!! PANIC!!! DONT’ KILL GRANNY EVIL COVID-DENIER!!! THIRD WAVE AROUND THE CORNER WILL BE WORSE!!! PANIC MORE!!!!”, the subliminals in the opposite direction are starting up. Keep an eye out for that.

  12. . . . the subliminals in the opposite direction are starting up. Keep an eye out for that.

    Certainly in the US (now Trump is ousted), and not so subliminal. I expect the rest of the world to follow suit.

    Soon you’ll get booted from Twatter for being a covid hysteric.

  13. “vital link”

    It really isn’t. For one thing, trains easily fall foul of the problem that Top Gear highlighted in their car vs train races. If you’re travelling from north London to central Paris, Eurostar works very well. You start travelling from a short distance out of London to a short distance out of Paris, all those super shiny high speed trains become irrelevant. You lose so much time waiting for connections around them, that they aren’t worth it. And once you’re beyond say, Tours or Strasbourg, you might as well fly.

    We took the kids to Disneyland Paris once and drove. Eurostar wanted something like £800, plus the connecting trains (so, I guess close to £1000). We did tunnel and road for about £350 for all of us, and it took about another hour and a half.

  14. “They don’t even need trains, those lever-powered carts that one sees in western movies will do”

    What’s wrong with just letting them walk? After all, most of them have already made their way across Europe utilising Shank’s Pony, so another 22 miles won’t hurt…

  15. Would it be wrong to presume that many of the Great and the Good who have signed this letter are, by pure coincidence, people who use Eurostar regularly and don’t want to suffer any inconvenience?

  16. Bloke in North Dorset

    PF,

    “Given that this the only reason this is happening is imbecilic Government policy / restrictions (both)”

    I have some sympathy for that claim but we know that people restricted travel etc before government actions, how much is attributed to government is anybody’s guess.

    You have also to ask what their risk managers were thinking not having insurance cover? Did they expect to get government bailouts? Either way they must share a large part of the blame for their current position and to that end I’m with the let them go bust crowd.

  17. BiND

    Yes, sure, I get the voluntary actions back in March. And quite right too (for those who responded as they did) as that was at a time of peak fear; after all we’re rational about unknown dangers, notwithstanding that the fear in itself was mostly Government/social media inspired.

    But.. Moving now far beyond those early spring precautions: If there were zero restrictions right now (internationally), I would currently be in the Alps – and yes, via la Manche – and with a load of others, each of us (whilst naturally considering our own risks) caring very little about what our imbecilic politicians had to say about it all. And being more naturally cautious than some, I might even steer towards the quieter bar, rather than the busiest apres-ski joint, if there were excess reports of lurgy doing the rounds.

  18. The reality is before the first lockdown people showed they could behave reasonably like the Swedes and cut down interactions enough to slow down the virus, but the govt was panicked into a lockdown by the ‘scientists’ who didn’t trust people and whose modelling assumed people would only change behaviour due to dictat not common sense

  19. “Some other capitalists will step in.” Paraphaseable as “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.”

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