Examination of Witnesses (Questions 560
WEDNESDAY 31 OCTOBER 2001
560. Do you believe in a nationalised railway,
(Mr Green) I do not think we should be getting back
all the way.
561. May I ask, if I may, in terms of the travelling
public and the perception of the services that you are offering,
they are not all that good as it stands just now, and the idea
was mentioned earlier about the ten-year plan and £34 billion
of private money. What is your estimation of how much money will
be brought into the industry over the next ten years?
(Mr Green) What Sir Alastair Morton said, I believe
here, is that the industry needs £30 billion for the current
maintenance and operations. That sounds the minimum that is needed
and he estimated another £34 billion for enhancement. I would
have thought he is the expert in this area and he is the only
person who sees the whole picture.
562. Should there be a reallocation of responsibilities
between the Strategic Rail Authority and the Rail Regulator?
(Mr Garnett) I think it is vitally important that
we keep a financial regulator of Railtrack because that guarantees
that it gets its funding and we do not go back to the stop go,
stop go, the money being there, the money not being there. Simply
to maintain and operate the railway (and not getting into infrastructure
investment) we do need to keep an independent financial regulator.
We have got, though, to get a much better working relationship
between the financial regulator and the SRA.
563. So who decides on things like track access
(Mr Garnett) The economic regulator of Railtrack who
makes sure that they have the money to maintain and deliver us
a safe and reliable network. That is what we are contracted for.
564. I think, gentlemen, you have been very
patient and I really want to let you escape. Midland Main Line
has been cited as an example of a successful short-term franchise.
How typical are the circumstances under which that extension was
(Mr Green) Midland Main Line, as I understand it,
did not need major infrastructure renewal.
565. So we are not talking, when we talk about
what happened there, of an example that could be easily translated
(Mr Green) I do not think so.
(Mr Garnett) The two fundamental differences is that
their franchise runs out in 2006 and it has been extended to 2008
so they have got a six-year planning horizon, and we have got
a three-year planning horizon. To keep quoting Midland Main Line,
as the Government have been doing, saying this is a good example,
is misleading because it is a unique example. 20 of the TOCs'
franchises collapse in the next two years. We are all facing a
big issue about what happens and that must be addressed.
Chairman: Thank you very much indeed, gentlemen,
you have been very helpful.