Letter to the Clerk of the Committee from
ASLEF (RES 9)
REGIONAL EUROSTAR SERVICES
I write with reference to your letter of 24
November 1998 on the above, and offer the following response to
your four questions.
What technical hurdles still need
to be overcome before Eurostars are able to operate on the West
Coast Main Line.
This is a matter for Eurostar. The latest information
that the Society has is that they have a licence to operate services
on the WCML, but for staff training purpose only.
What the commercial prospects are
for Eurostar operations north of London.
Eurostar evidently do not believe that a business
case exists for running services north of London. It is expected
that they would not run them unless they receive a government
subsidy, in the same way that Local Authorities subsidise certain
uneconomic but socially useful bus services.
Virgin Trains do believe that they have a business
case, and refer you to their proposals made on 10 June 1998 to
the Chairman of LCR.
The Fast Tracks to Europe Alliance also believe
that a business case exists, as put forward in their report entitled
"The impact of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link on the regional
economies `North of London'".
Whether other uses have been considered
for the regional Eurostar trains:
It is our understanding that Eurostar are now
considering using the sets from Heathrow Airport. Testing for
gauge compliance has already been undertaken. The long term aim
is for British Airways (BA) to substitute Eurostar services for
aeroplane landing and take off slots at Heathrow to services to
Paris and Brussels. The slots can then be used for more profitable
long haul flights by BA. At present, the platform at Heathrow
is not long enough to take a full nine car Eurostar, so it is
expected that platform extension work will have to be undertaken.
When a decision will be made about
whether Eurostar services will be operated north of London.
Again, this is a Eurostar decision. However,
it is expected that they will not make a decision until the Transport
Sub-Committee reports back to the Minister and the House. It is
our view that they will probably not run services unless they
are given a subsidy by the Government, or by Local Authorities
north of London.
M D Rix
1 December 1998