Select Committee on Transport Written Evidence

Supplementary memorandum by the Strategic Rail Authority (FOR 97A)


  Thank you for the letter of 17 July to the Chairman who has asked me to respond to the Committee's requests for supplementary information.

1.   The number of passengers travelling by train from London to the major British conurbations and what proportion of the total market rail has in each case.

  See Annex 1 for the number of passenger journeys made between major cities and London for each year since 1996. The cities are defined by the major stations in the area eg Bristol includes both Temple Meads and Parkway. Information on mode share by route is not held. However, the table below provides the overall mode share percentages, in passenger kilometres, for 2001. For longer distance travel in general, rail's market share is higher—in the 10%-20% range. For flows to and from London the rail market share is significantly higher still, but there is no reliable or recent data to quantify the position.
Cars Vans and Taxis85%
Motor Cycles1%
Pedal Cycles1%

Source: DFT—"Transport Statistics Great Britain 2002"

2.   When will "Pendolino" trains be operational on the London-Liverpool route?

  The planned date is 20 October 2003.

3.   What is the current position in reject of peak-time services and performance on the Connex South Eastern franchise?

  The latest figures published by the SRA show that for the quarter January-March 2003 71.4% of the CSE peak services arrived on time. Data for the quarter April-June will be published 18-19 September: this indicates that performance has improved to 80.9%.

4.   The procurement and payment arrangements between the SPA and First Class Partnerships (FCP).

  The SRA entered into an agreement with FCP on 1 July 2003. It reflects standard public sector terms and conditions based on Treasury Guidelines. FCP is paid in accordance with the terms of the agreement relating to the supply of services, generally within 30 days of the invoice date.

5.   When will the Freight Facilities Grant be opened to new applications?

  We hope to re-open the Grant Schemes in Autumn 2003 for spend in 2004-05. This is subject to final confirmation of our 2004-05 budget.

6.   Will the Rail Passenger Partnership (RPP) and Rail Performance Fund (RPF) schemes re-open, if so when?

  The re-opening of the schemes to new applications is dependent on our budget settlement for 2004-05.

7.   Estimated subsidy payments to franchisees for 2003-04. Does the SPA anticipate any alteration to these projections in the current financial year, if so, why?

  There is a general problem of cost escalation in the rail industry. We have drawn attention to it in our Strategic Plan, published in January, and it is at the forefront of our making the case for rail to the Spending Review 2004. Franchise costs are at present following and to some extent contributing to this trend. The most immediate causes of increases in subsidies for 2003-04 are notably the continued impact of the 5% real increase on fixed access charges (consequent on the Regulators Review of October 2000 which provided for an overall decrease in charges followed by a stepped increase to charges year on year over the control period, April 2001-March 2006); the continued provision of additional subsidy to Virgin Rail Group following Railtrack's failure to deliver the PUG 2 agreement; and higher costs associated with new rolling stock replacing Mark I stock.

8.   A breakdown of the total estimated cost off £9.9 billion for the WCML project. Has there been any change to that figure? Where will the "material reduction" (WCML Strategy, page 9) be sought, and what are your current estimates for the amounts likely to be saved?

  We continue to seek efficiencies which might be made without compromising the outcome to be provided by modernisation of the route. The current estimated costs remain at £9.9 billion. A breakdown of the current estimated cost is provided in the table below. The Committee will be advised of any revision to the estimated costs.

£ billion
Expenditure to
Subsequent site-specific renewals and enhancement schemes


9.   Update on the East London Line (ELL) SPV.

  The ELL project will extend existing rail services North to Highbury & Islington and South to West Croydon/Crystal Palace and Clapham Junction. The project will be delivered by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) using the Design, Build, Finance and Transfer model. The Department of Transport endorsed the core proposition on 11 July 2003, on the basis that the transport and regeneration benefits of the project justify the financial and environmental costs.

James Watson

Assistant Director

Parliamentary and Public Communications

15 September 2003

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