Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by Westcoast Rail 250 (RES 6)


  West Coast Rail 250 notes with interest the intent of the Transport Sub-committee to undertake an enquiry in the regional Eurostar rail services, and the matters which the Sub-committee intends to consider. I have just been informed of this matter, and I would be pleased if you could take the following points into account, relating to each of the main points of inquiry.

  WCR250 understands that the route for these services has now been cleared for services from Manchester and Birmingham, and that clearance of the East Coast Main Line through to Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow will be completed early next year.

  WCR250 has not considered that services as proposed by London & Continental provided any firm basis for a viable commercial operation. Alternative proposals have been put forward by Virgin Trains, and although WCR250 could not endorse these at present, they do appear to provide a much more realistic basis for a viable operation.

  WCR250 sees few other opportunities for using the regional Eurostar trains. They are only capable of operation on either the East Coast or West Coast Main Lines, but in their present form (i.e., length) may not be capable of working into some stations such as Kings Cross. The very large seating capacity within the 14-coach length also provides an overlarge capacity, the use of which could perhaps be maximised by division into 7-car sets, though this would entail additional capital conversion costs.

  WCR250 is anxious that a decision is made soon to commence services to the regions. Technical problems have already delayed their introduction by several years, and just as these have been resolved the whole future of the service has been thrown into doubt.

Peter Robinson

Campaign Co-ordinator

23 November 1998

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