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Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what representations he has received on proposals to increase rail freight on the line between Harwich and Colchester; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 25 March 2002]: My Department receives representations from time to time about rail freight to the Haven Ports. As part of its
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Freight Strategy, the Strategic Rail Authority is developing proposals to upgrade rail links to Harwich and Felixstowe.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to the answer of 6 March 2002, Official Report, column 369W, on the Strategic Rail Authority for what reasons (a) the expected amount of private investment under the plan will not exactly match that envisaged under the 10-year Plan and (b) infrastructure renewals are defined as investment. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Strategic Rail Authority have indicated in their Strategic Plan that the total amount of private sector investment envisaged will be very similar to that envisaged in the 10-year Plan. They have also indicated that the precise amount will depend on the pace of negotiations and the terms that can be negotiated.
Infrastructure renewals, which are the replacement or updating of railway assets to make them fit for use on the railway network, create assets that have a useful life over more than one accounting period. Under accounting rules, they can therefore be properly accounted for as investment to be amortised over the expected accounting life of the assets. Railtrack's current accounting policies reflect this, as did British Rail's when that organisation still existed.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what impact the SRA consultation on the franchising structure of the South West Trains and Wessex areas will have on the timetable to complete the new SWT franchise agreement. 
Mr. Jamieson: The consultation process is not expected to delay completion of the new South West Trains franchise agreement.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many train drivers were working in the rail industry in November 1998. 
Mr. Jamieson: This information is not held centrally in the form requested. According to ATOC information, in April 1999 there were 8,684 established drivers of passenger trains.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will place in the Library the franchise agreement ancillary document D for each of the train operating companies. 
Mr. Byers: These documents are available for inspection at the Strategic Rail Authority's offices, in accordance with section 73 of the Railways Act 1993. I have arranged for copies to be placed in the Library.
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Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what benchmarks and baseline periods he will use to assess the performance of the rail network in the next five years. 
Mr. Jamieson: We published on 18 February a quarterly set of key indicators against which progress on improving the railways could be measured. They are intended to provide a benchmark for future reference. The baseline period is AprilJune 2001. The indicators focus on the issues that matter most to passengers: punctuality, reliability, safety and quality. The first quarterly update was published on 18 March. The next will be published on 6 June.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions for what reason the total length of the electrified rail network has fallen since 1997. 
Mr. Jamieson: The reduction referred to represents a very small proportion of total network length, about 0.2 per cent., and is an operational matter for Railtrack. I am not aware that it is attributable to a single factor.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Strategic Rail Authority, (b) the Association of Train Operating Companies, (c) train operating companies, (d) the Rail Passenger Committee and (e) other passenger representatives regarding (i) rail fares and fare regulation and (ii) Network railcards. 
Mr. Jamieson: The SRA is conducting a review of fares policy and will report to Ministers. The Association of Train Operating Companies has met with Ministers to explain their proposals for the SouthEast Network Card.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what targets he has set for his rail performance measures to be met by March 2005. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Government's 10 Year Transport Plan sets out clear targets for Rail focusing on increasing the number of passengers and volume of freight using the railways, and on tackling overcrowding. We do not intend to introduce yet further targets, but rather to have a set of benchmarks against which progress and improvements can be judged.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what changes have taken place in the last five years to railway discount cards; what changes are planned; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) requires franchised train operators to continue to offer the Young Person's, Disabled Person's and Senior Citizen's railcards on the same terms as applied before privatisation. Train operators also operate commercial railcard schemes such as the Network Railcard (for travel in the South East) and the Family Railcard, whose terms are a matter for the train operators, and which are not subject to regulation by the SRA.
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Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many staff are employed in each key area of the railway industry; what the total requirement for staff in each key area is; what assessment he has made of staff shortage numbers in each key area; how many individuals are (a) in training and (b) trained for each key area; and how many individuals have (i) retired and (ii) left employment in each key area since 1995. 
Mr. Jamieson: Information from the Railway Industry Training Council indicates that approximately 140,000 people are employed in rail related work. The most recent information available indicates that in 2001 approximately 1,200 vacancies were reported as hard to fill. It is estimated that 5,500 people were in training for employment in the industry in 2001. No information is held centrally on numbers of people leaving the industry.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to the answer of 15 March 2002, Official Report, column 1271W, on rail summit targets, what issues arising from the National Rail Summits are not being taken forward through the SRA Strategic Plan. 
Mr. Jamieson: The broad thrust of the Rail Summitsimproving both the rail network and its performanceis the fundamental goal of the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) and its Strategic Plan. That improvement will only come, as the Plan has made clear, through action to stabilise the industry and get back to basics now and through significant investment in renewal and enhancement of the network, in order to provide increased capacity for passenger and freight services. The SRA is currently engaged in delivering both of these.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on the discussions and resolutions of the Barcelona Summit related to transport. 
Mr. Spellar: I am pleased to report that there was substantial progress made at the Barcelona summit in a number of areas related to transport, consistent with Her Majesty's Government's objectives.
The summit outcomes and discussions will advance the liberalisation of the transport sector, in particular, the calls to: progress work on the Second Railway Package; liberalise public transport more generally; achieve a Single Sky in air traffic management in 2004; take decisions on the proposed rules on airport slot allocation by the end of 2002; and, adopt by December 2002 the pending proposals on port services.
In addition, the summit called for the Council and the European Parliament to adopt revised guidelines and financial rules on the Trans-European Networks (TEN) and welcomed progress on the Galileo satellite navigation system. The Council was requested to conclude its work on the proposed Regulation on HGV Drivers' Hours. There were also discussions on the proposed directive for fairer transport tariffs across different modes of transport by 2004.
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I should also refer the hon. Member for Epsom and Ewell to the Prime Minister's statement to the House on 18 March on the outcomes of the summit.
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