Examination of Witnesses (Questions 720
WEDNESDAY 7 NOVEMBER 2001
720. So it is change of attitude. No structural
(Mr Grant) There are areas which could be streamlined,
including regulation, but the attitude and the approach to getting
the job done is something which needs to be addressed at the same
time as some of the structural issues.
721. Should Government be more involved or less
(Mr Grant) Government has to be involved quite a lot
because it is Government money which is being spent. The private
sector does have a role to play and some good things have come
out of privatisation. We should not try to change things which
are working well, but we need to address things which are not
working so well. That also has to come from an industry perspective.
722. Forgive me saying this but some of your
remarks have been so general as to be difficult to interpret.
If there is a slimmed down organisation coming out of administration,
if some of the powers of the Regulator are in some way trimmed,
how do you see the future for the SRA?
(Mr Grant) The SRA has to play a central role in taking
the industry forward.
723. Do you really genuinely have concrete plans
which could be put to the industry which would not just concentrate
on three of the objectives of the ten-year plan, but on all of
(Mr Grant) We certainly want to widen the
724. Forgive me, I know what you might want
to do. Are you going to be capable of doing it?
(Mr Grant) There are elements of the strategic plan
which are wider than the 50 per cent growth in passengers, freight
and overcrowding; yes, there are. We need to focus on the instructions
we are given by the Government.
725. Do you interpret those instructions as
being "Get on with the job in the South East and let the
others follow along as the good Lord sends them"?
(Mr Grant) Because there are major passenger movements
in the South East a lot of money has to be spent, but I do not
believe that is our sole focus. Our focus needs to be to provide
a better passenger and freight network throughout the country.
726. If you were not consulted on the form in
which the administration order was made, why should you assume
that your advice will now be taken by the Government about the
company which comes out of administration?
(Mr Grant) We are the body which can interpret the
railway needs and translate it into structure going forward. I
cannot comment on the process which took place up to 7 October.
727. Had you given any warning to the Department
about problems with Railtrack, particularly their ability to estimate
how much individual projects were going to cost?
(Mr Grant) That was very evident. Yes, we talked to
728. No, forgive me. Would you say that again?
Yes, you think it was very evident.
(Mr Grant) It was very evident that Railtrack had
difficulties in estimating projects.
729. That was quite clear to you.
(Mr Grant) That was quite clear to us.
730. And to the rest of the industry.
(Mr Grant) And to the rest of the industry.
731. Did you discuss that with the Department
before 23 October?
(Mr Grant) We have discussed it many times with the
Department before October, in addition to our difficulty in moving
enhancement projects forward.
Chairman: Thank you very much. You have been
extremely helpful both of you and we shall allow you to escape.