Examination of witnesses (Question Numbers
TUESDAY 1 MAY
60. That would be the basis of your new stations.
(Sir Alastair Morton) We will either say that or discuss
why it is not such a good idea. We have not got to that stage.
61. Have we any indication of whether we should
be saying, "That is a good idea or that is not a good idea".
(Sir Alastair Morton) You can have my indication,
if it is of any use to you, I believe very strongly we have to
do a lot about commuter parking.
62. Commuter parking.
(Sir Alastair Morton) Commuters into major conurbations,
not just London, need to park in order to join the train in order
to leave their car somewhere near their home.
63. That is your definition of a new station.
(Sir Alastair Morton) It might have to be if the local
town is not willing to have more traffic in and out of it to its
64. That is your general indication, that is
your definition of a new station.
(Sir Alastair Morton) That would be a very common
form of a new station.
(Mr Grant) As far as stations are concerned that is
a major element of the re-franchising programme. If you look at
South West trains, for example, they have a very detailed schedule
of what we are looking for in a station. You will see, for example,
in a press release upgrading Wimbledon and Vauxhall Stations,
Waterloo Station's concourse plus bringing all stations up to
an improved standard, to increase the passenger comfort, CCtv,
et cetera. That is going through franchise replacement. As far
as new stations are concerned under RPP, Rail Passenger Partnership,
there will be five new stations, on Edinburgh Crossrail, on Vale
of Glamorgan and Corsham. The main push on stations will be through
franchise replacement, but clearly where there is good arguments
for opening up stations.
65. Without taking an overall decision as to
what you mean by new stations or whether commuter stations are
a good idea or a bad idea you are, nevertheless, including them
in the franchises.
(Mr Grant) As part of the preparation for the franchise
replacement the bidders are looking at where new towns are going.
66. Mr Grant, you must have to lay down some
indications as to what it is you are asking them to bid for?
(Mr Grant) We have not specified where new stations
should be. Clearly, as far as the bidders are concerned, they
have taken a view on where developments come in and where they
may be built in the future. So for long term developments they
may be a prime aspiration, ie to be developed later.
Chairman: Miss McIntosh, do you wish to elucidate
67. If a station is not on that list that you
just named would I be right in saying that if a local authority
came to one of us on this Committee and said they had been told
by the SRA they would be receiving money for a new station, as
we speak today, that would not be correct?
(Mr Grant) I did not catch the question.
68. If there is a station which is not on the
list you read out, not on this agenda you furnished to be published
to members of this Committee, would I be right in saying that
if a local authority came to a member of this Select Committee
and said they had been told by the SRA they were going to have
money for a new station that would not be correct as we speak
(Mr Grant) Unless there is a specific example. If
a local authority wants to open up a new station
69. I have a specific example, but I do not
wish to quote it because I do not wish to have a commuter station
by a school.
Chairman: If you are going to put a question
it would be very helpful if you do it precisely so we know what
Mr Grant is required to answer.
70. York City Council has made a bid to reopen
two stations at Strensall, in my neighbouring constituency, and
in my constituency Haxby, which is right next to a school where
the mums cannot park already. There would be compulsory purchase
on a number of allotments. My understanding isthey have
written to me as their local memberthey are expecting part
of the funds to come from the SRA. I have expressed surprise.
I was going to write to you about this, because my understanding
is that you have not established policy, let alone which stations
(Mr Grant) Policy under the Rail Passenger Partnership
is established and if they are applying under that we will look
at it on the merits as it comes forward but there is money available
from the SRA to open new stations under the Rail Passenger Partnership
71. This would not conflict with what you told
the Committee, that your preference for commuter parking would
be outside a commuter area where the residents did not wish more
traffic to come in.
72. What is happening here is we are getting
bits of a strategy laid down which are also being interpreted
(Sir Alastair Morton) I said the question of commuters
joining the train in order to make their journey into a conurbation,
be it Birmingham, Manchester or London by train or road is a policy
we support. That means they will want to catch the train nearest
and most convenient to them, which is quite often one of major
stations from which trains run fast into London or Birmingham,
that is very often a factor.
Chairman: If you have a particular case you
should raise it with the SRA.
73. I am just astounded that you are pushing
forward parkway stations, there are other methods of getting passengers
to the train station without them coming in the car. I thought
we were supposed to be doing joined-up transport, where they are
encouraging other forms of transport to railways. (Sir Alastair
Morton) We are indeed, we do those too.
74. You gave me the distinct impression when
you were looking at new stations it was just parkway stations
you had in mind, if that is incorrect I am happy to accept that
it is incorrect.
(Sir Alastair Morton) We are not just looking at those.
Sir Paul Beresford
75. Sir Alastair, you mentioned the enhancement
and the development of the network as part of your role. There
are three schemes that are lurking around in the South East of
London, two at least you have looked at. One is Cross-rail, can
you give us a progress on Cross-rail and when we can expect an
(Sir Alastair Morton) We put a recommendation to ministers
that Cross-rail, the East/West Link because we do not want to
define it as the same project, probably is the same underground
but on the surface it may not be the sameshould be taken
forward by engineering studies and development from now. We have
also recommended that the south-west to north-east link, call
it Wimbledon/Hackney, Merton/Hackney or Clapham/Hackney, as you
please, should also be further studied with a view to development,
probably on a slower time scale than the East/West one. We have
discussed those extensively with Transport for London and, if
I might make the point again without upsetting the Committee,
waiting for Transport for London to turn into a viable working
organisation has been one of the factors delaying the evolution
of our intentions in Greater London. They are also entitled to
give us instructions, you must remember, that is in the GLA Act.
We have had extensive discussions with Transport for London and
we find ourselves substantially in agreement with them on these
two projects and, therefore, they have joined in with the view,
"Let us do these". That leaves open the setting up a
project office, organising of staff and managing, and so on, which
would probably, I cannot say necessarily, be joint between us
and TFL. It would certainly be in cooperation in some way or other.
Once ministers have digested that and talked to the Treasury about
the possible future budget implications of going forward with
these projects again we are ready to go ahead and work together.
The decision lies with ministers.
76. There is no response from ministers as of
(Sir Alastair Morton) I do expect there will be one,
I hope it will be before the election, whenever that may be.
77. Assuming there is a positive response, timetable?
(Sir Alastair Morton) That is a difficult one. You
mean to open and carrying passengers?
78. To starting even.
(Sir Alastair Morton) You mean bulldozers on the ground!
I cannot answer the question about the Transport and Works Act,
about the implications of the entries and exits to those tunnels
or in the case of South Western, if I said three or four years
it would be a guess, a goodwill guess.
79. That is helpful. What is the SRA's role
with the Central Railway?
(Sir Alastair Morton) Sceptical.