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

Examination of witnesses (Question Numbers 60-79)



  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 station.

  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 something?

Miss McIntosh

  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 today.
  (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.

Miss McIntosh

  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 is—they have written to me as their local member—they 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 would benefit.
  (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 Scheme.

  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 differently elsewhere.
  (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.

Mr Olner

  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 announcement?
  (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 same—should 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 today?
  (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.

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