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Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions whether additional funds are being made available to the relaunched Freight Facilities Grant scheme. 
Mr. Spellar: The Department's latest assessment of the impact of changes in the cost of fuel, including taxes, on road use is given in Annex C of "Modelling using the National Road Traffic Forecasting framework for 'Tackling Congestion and Pollution' and 'Transport 2010: The 10-Year Plan'Technical Report".
In this assessment, the long run elasticity of car use with respect to fuel cost per car kilometre is 0.23. This means, for example, that an increase (decrease) in fuel cost per car kilometre of 10 per cent. would lead to a 2.3 per cent. decrease (increase) in car kilometres.
As announced in the 10-Year Plan, the Department is developing its multi-modal modelling capability. This will enable estimates to be made of the impact on rail passenger usage of changes to fuel taxation.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) if it is his policy that rail links to Glasgow and Edinburgh airports will not receive public funding for completion before 2010. 
Mr. Jamieson: No. The SRA's strategic plan makes it clear that a number of major schemes, including Airtrack and direct rail links to Edinburgh and Glasgow airports, are being explored further in terms of feasibility and value for money. If increased funding becomes available, particularly through partnerships with other parts of the public sector, it may be possible to make earlier progress on some of them than intimated in the current strategic plan.
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Mr. Spellar: By 2006 the SRA expect to have completed and commissioned the new East London line infrastructure from New Cross Gate and Old Kent Road junction in the south to Dalston junction in the north. The new rolling stock is also expected to have been delivered by that date. The planned service to Wimbledon will be possible once the relevant South Central works by GoVia, and, if powers are granted, the relevant Thameslink 2000 works, have been completed.
Mr. Jamieson: The establishment of a Special Purpose Vehicle and the timing of works on platform extensions are both the subject of negotiations between the Strategic Rail Authority, Stagecoach and Railtrack. The SRA are keen to progress the project, which will allow the operation of longer trains to help reduce overcrowding, as soon as possible.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on the common usage by light and heavy rail services of the Tyne and Wear metro route. 
Mr. Spellar: In December 1999 the Deputy Prime Minister, then Secretary of State for Transport, announced approval of funding for the extension of the Tyne and Wear metro system to Sunderland. The new line is due to open in March. In addition to building new tracks from the centre of Sunderland to South Hylton, this scheme has made use of excess capacity on existing heavy rail Railtrack lines. The promoters have worked closely with the HSE to ensure that the scheme complies with all the necessary safety requirements to enable common usage of heavy rail infrastructure.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what estimate he has made of the impact on capacity at London rail termini of the presence of more than one train operator. 
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Mr. Spellar: Eurostar, Wales and Borders and South West Trains currently operate from London Waterloo. The Strategic Rail Authority has stated that it proposes to simplify the train operator franchise structure by bringing services at key London termini under single control wherever possible.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions by what date a special purpose vehicle will be established in respect of the financing of Thameslink 2000. 
Mr. Jamieson: The SRA is currently investigating options for the funding of the Thameslink 2000 project, if powers are granted. These options include the possibility of establishing a special purpose vehicle. It is not possible at this stage to predict when an SPV would be in place.
Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment he has made of impact on investment plans for the Cotswold line between Worcester and Oxford of a two-year extension of the Thames Trains franchise; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Spellar: A two-year extension of the current Thames Trains franchise is one of the options which the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) is currently considering. Proposals for further investment in the Cotswold line and others included in the franchise are matters to be considered by the SRA in deciding whether to agree an extension.
Mr. Spellar: The Strategic Rail Authority operates two grant schemes to help companies switch traffic from road to rail. The Freight Facilities Grant helps companies with the capital cost of providing rail facilities and the Track Access Grant helps rail freight operators to meet the charges paid to Railtrack for access to the network, which in turn allows operators to offer a more competitive price to companies.
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locomotive and wagons) and the distance carried. The total amount carried in each of the last four years is shown in the table:
James Purnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if, in advertising the Trans-Pennine franchise, the Strategic Rail Authority will ensure that the service continues to stop at Stalybridge station. 
Mr. Spellar: There is currently an hourly Trans- Pennine service for Stalybridge station that is protected by the Passenger Service Requirement (PSR). Bidders for the new Trans-Pennine Express franchise have been instructed by the Strategic Rail Authority that services protected by the PSR must be maintained.
Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many delays were caused by signal failures on the Metropolitan line in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Spellar: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Parliamentary Under- Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Mr. Jamieson), to the hon. Member for Westbury (Dr. Murrison) on 18 July 2001, Official Report, column 197W. London Underground advise me that it is not possible to separate the data for signals and points.
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