Supplementary memorandum by the Shadow
Strategic Rail Authority (RI 12A)
This paper follows that submitted by the sSRA
on 19 June and is designed to update the Committee on developments
since the oral evidence given by the Chairman and Chief Executive
on 12 July. As indicated in that paper, the role of the sSRA focuses
on the three areas of Passenger, Freight and Infrastructure. These
three lines of operation will be reflected organisationally through
new Support, Planning and Delivery directorates. A chart is attached.
The plan, published in July, announced a £60
billion package for the railways, about half of which will be
funded by the SRA directly. It set out the targets for growth
and quality which the railways must meet to deliver their part
of the overall transport plan.
The element of the plan to be funded by the
£12 billion for support for
the passenger and freight railway;
£4 billion for projects including
WCML (West Coast Main Line);
£5 billion for CTRL (Channel
Tunnel Rail Link);
£7 billion for the RMF (Rail
On 10 August, the SSRA announced that Heads
of Terms had been reached with M40 Trains on the replacement Chiltern
Franchise. This has been followed by continuing negotiation, leading
to the signing of a new 20-year franchise agreement later this
As the first of the new replacement franchises,
this gives an indication of the significant investment that is
to be achieved in increased capacity and service quality through
The Chiltern franchise has generally been well
run, with relatively modern equipment, and has achieved growth
of some 15 per cent pa passenger miles for five years. The replacement
franchise indicates the further step change in quality and capacity
which is possible and which will deliver the objectives sought
in the Ten Year Plan.
Committed investment in the franchise totals
£370 million, and the key features of the first phase of
the new franchise will be:
50 per cent increase in train miles.
15 out of 16 trains to run on time
from April 2004.
All trains to be new or refurbished.
Restoration of double track over
nine miles of line.
Provision of four tracks for two
Two extra platforms at Marylebone.
Level access at all stations within
the first four years.
Increased car parking at stations.
As a second stage, the franchisee will develop
plans for a new line to an M40 Parkway station and Oxford. In
the longer term, it will also examine the case for an extension
to an M6/M1 Parkway station, and possibly on to Leicester.
On 24 October, the sSRA also announced that
it had reached Heads of Terms with GoVia the preferred bidder
for the South Central Franchise, securing total investment of
almost £1.5 billion.
£325 million in infrastructure.
£250 million in stations and
£900 million in rolling stock.
As well as creating additional train paths between
London and the Sussex Coast, enhancing South London Metro services,
replacing Mark I trains and electrification of the two remaining
The sSRA expects by end-2001 to reach Heads
of Terms with preferred bidders to replace 18 franchises due to
expire by September 2004. Those include the Merseyrail and Island
(Isle of Wight) franchises, for which a different form of local
franchise is under discussion.
Two franchises, central (broadly East-West across
Birmingham) and TransPennine, a high speed inter-city franchise
uniquely running East-West rather than to and from London, have
moved to short-listing, while two more (Wales & Borders and
Thameslink) had eight and nine bidders respectively prequalifying.
On 10 August, the sSRA announced a two-year
extension of the MML (Midland Main Line) franchise, operated by
National Express Group.
The MML franchise was a longer franchise, due
to expire in 2008. Over that period it was due to pay £30
million in premium which would have gone to the Consolidated Fund
and would not have been retained for investment within the rail
industry. The extension to the franchise has been agreed on a
"no subsidy/no premium" basis, and has secured £238
million of new investment by the company. The benefits include:
A new fleet of high-speed trains.
Ten minute journey time reduction
between London and Sheffield.
A 2 per cent improvement in punctuality
In August and September, the sSRA announced
negotiated deals, first with Prism Trains (holder of four franchises)
and then with National Express Group which moved from five to
nine when it acquired Prism with the Franchising Director's consent.
The net product of those deals will be significant investment
in the long-term London, Tilbury & Southend franchise (London
commuters) and consent to proceed early without further cost to
terminate two franchises whose routes will go into Wales &
Borders or Wessex and one, WAGN (West Anglia Great Northern),
which will be split and absorbed into Thameslink and Great Eastern
All this activity proves the competitive bidding
process is working well and, as the sSRA Chairman said last year,
"Everyone wants something, so everything is negotiable".
Consultation with local authorities and the
rail freight industry is under way on new criteria for freight
facility and track access grants. The intention is to broaden
the basis of assessment to ensure that grant is available for
environmental and de-congestion benefits, recognising the value
of reducing the number of HGVs on motorways and dual carriageways
as well as on single carriageway roads. Other, company-neutral
support grants or funding for freight traffic development are
In infrastructure, planning is starting on the
development of projects to provide capacity and capability for
freight on key corridors including, but not limited to:
Routes to the deep sea ports.
Felixstowe to the West Coast Main Line at Nuneaton
(for deep sea container traffic to and from the West Midlands
and the North West focussed on Crewe.)
Southampton to the West Midlands (for deep sea
container traffic from Southampton Docks.)
Freight enhancements on the east
Coast Main Line.
Freight routes around London.
In every case possible, application will be
made also to the EU for TENS (Trans European Networks) funding.
Within the Ten Year Transport Plan, £3.4
billion is earmarked for freight investment and support over the
The £7 billion RMF is to be managed by
the SRA and will provide funding direct to Railtrack and others
throughout the ten year period both as a basis to level in additional
private sector investment in infrastructure, and to purchase incremental
capacity or performance outputs where this is required for the
effective functioning of the system, but cannot support commercial
In sum the SRA will support infrastructure investment
(a) through franchise support payments to TOCs and support as
above for freight enabling them to meet Railtrack's track access
charges, including project financing costs; (b) through the RMF;
and (c) through freight facility grants for dedicated and open
At the hearing of 12 July, the Committee questioned
the adequacy of capacity, and how it would be allocated. The RMF
is one way in which the SRA would intend to meet the needs of
a wider range of services than could be accommodated now. Plans
for upgrading the East Coast Main Line, for example, will provide
an alternative freight route throughout much of the corridor,
and substantially reduce the need for rationing and allocating
In most cases, major infrastructure projects
would be taken forward through Project Development Groups organised
by line of route or by area, whose membership would be the SRA
and Railtrack but might also include other substantial funding
or project management partners or TOCs. The objective would be
to specify and price prioritised projects. Implementation and
operation would be under the direct or indirect control of Railtrack,
as controller and operator of the network.
Between Royal Assent on the Transport Bill 2000
and the formal establishment of the SRA (assumed to be 1 February
2001), the sSRA will publish a Shadow Strategic Plan. This will
be a statement of intent for vigorous action during 2001 and beyond
on refranchising, freight development and infrastructure project
preparation and progress (the last in partnership with Railtrack).
This statement will invite comment and reaction to our intentions,
and will specify a number of strategies on which we are obliged
to consult before adoption. Following that process, the SRA's
first formal Strategic Plan will be published in autumn 2001.
The Shadow Strategic Plan will also reflect
the findings of the joint industry examination of impediments
to integrated operation of the railway to ensure safety, performance
and capacity for growth. The sSRA issued a Press Notice on 25
October 2000 about this joint industry initiative in response
to the issues raised by the accident at Hatfield on 17 October
2000. A copy is attached. 
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