Select Committee on Transport Fifth Report

5 Reducing costs and increasing benefits

39. Despite the significant uncertainties about the costs and revenues described above, the SRA has set itself clear targets for reducing the subsidy to its community rail lines, as set out in Table 1:[56]

Table 1
Reduction in subsidy
Subsidy reduction (%) Subsidy reduction per passenger (%)
Revenue side
Volume increase
Cut in fares evasion
0.3 3.0
Yield increase
1.3 1.3
Combined revenue side as above 6.531.5
Cost side
Infrastructure cost reduction
Rolling stock reduction
Operation saving
Combined cost saving as above 2626
Revenues and cost combined as above 3250

The SRA estimates that these measures, which we examine in more detail below, could reduce the cost of Community Railways by £100 million a year. We are sceptical about the robustness of these estimates, but agree that is no reason not to try to reduce costs and increase the number of passengers carried on rural lines.

Reducing costs


40. The Community Rail Development Strategy suggests that it would be possible to make substantial changes in the costs of the infrastructure by changed maintenance, savings in operations and savings in rolling stock costs. Such changes would have a significant effect on the subsidy required by community rail lines.

Maintenance and renewal

41. The most significant cost on community rail lines is infrastructure (including station renewals) where annual costs are around £100,000 per track mile.[57] The SRA believes that savings "ought to be possible through a number of measures, including a changed approach to engineering possessions (when the line is taken out of use for maintenance or renewals work) and the application of changed standards." But Network Rail did not agree. Mr Paul Plummer, Director of Corporate Planning, Network Rail told us "there is very limited potential to save significant infrastructure costs as a result of the sort of things that are being contemplated."[58]

42. The SRA consultation document noted that independent and heritage railways often had lower unit costs than the main network. Mr Scott Handley, Managing Director Wensleydale Railway, explained that Wensleydale Railway managed to reduce infrastructure costs by using local contractors and suppliers:

"I would not want to give the impression that this is the answer for the railway network or even for rural railways, but for some railways it does work. What we try to do is tailor the way we develop new stations, for example, or upgrade the track to what we can afford and what we know we can deliver going forward, but also another part of our remit is to try to reinvest locally, so where possible we plan our works and train people appropriately to the normal standards but in such a way that we can use local contractors, local suppliers, and they can work with us. That does bring costs down."[59]

43. A self-contained railway such as Wensleydale is also able to reduce the cost of engineering works by closing the railway completely and doing the work at once:

"We are able to control all aspects of the infrastructure as well. One decision that we took last year as part of a major upgrading of capacity on the line was to close the railway for three week periods and that meant that we could provide a better service very quickly, and they understood that."[60]

This approach may be suitable for some routes on the SRA community rail list, although we recognise it may not be universally applicable.

44. The savings identified by the SRA will only be achieved if Network Rail is committed to them. Despite the discouraging evidence to our inquiry, there are signs that Network Rail is considering a new approach. Mr Iain Coucher, Deputy Director, Network Rail, told us that the company was "looking to find ways in which we can do smaller renewals locally with the existing workforce that we have inherited since we took that back in-house."[61] Network Rail has recently created a new post of Account Director, Community Rail. We were encouraged by his statement in ACoRP's most recent newsletter that, "Network Rail's engineers will work to develop innovative delivery solutions, which meet appropriate Railway Group Standards but which cost less. And we will build understanding of the long-term cost implications of those ideas."[62]


45. The SRA's strategy involves separate designation of community railways as a third group of lines alongside the high-speed and conventional networks, an approach adopted in many European countries for local lines. The principle is that such lines should be engineered to standards appropriate to the nature and volume of traffic being handled. The SRA envisages standards being proposed by the Department, the train operators or by a Railway Development Company or Community Rail Partnership and approved by the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB). Mr Anson Jack, Director of Standards Rail Safety and Standards Board, told us he had been leading a review of Railway Group Standards which had already identified a number of standards that involved excessive cost in relation to the safety benefit and changes had been made.[63] He told us that some standards were not set by the RSSB - Network Rail had their own suite of "lower level" standards needed to fulfil their safety cases under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.[64] We support the development of standards that are more appropriate for rural lines. For example it is nonsense on a lightly used line, where risk is low, for Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate or Network Rail to insist, as has happened in the past, on the construction of a costly footbridge, when there is in existence an accessible barrow crossing.[65]

46. Infrastructure costs will only be reduced if Network Rail is committed to finding new ways of maintaining lightly used lines which have lower costs and are more appropriate. This may include revision of Network Rail's own standards.

Rolling stock

47. Rolling stock leasing is the second largest element of cost on community railways. The annual costs vary according to the type of train used and the mileages run on the line but for community railways are in the order of £100,000 per vehicle.[66] In the words of the Heart of Wales line forum the cost of rolling stock is "yet another 'killer' for rural services."[67] Lease costs do not vary much with the age of the train vehicle[68] and there was a feeling among witnesses that the taxpayer had paid twice for old trains, first when they were built by BR and now through the current leasing arrangements.[69] The expense of hiring additional rolling stock means that operators are not able to provide additional services to meet demand, although the formation of spot leasing companies for trains such as Fragonset offer new possibilities for temporary hire of extra rolling stock to meet summer tourist demand.[70]

48. The situation is in stark contrast to that described by Mr Lundin in Sweden. When the Jönköping county transport authority took on responsibility for franchising local and regional rail services, SJ, Swedish state railways, gave Jönköping the 26 old trains, which were refurbished and used for the first ten years. Since then the regional authority has invested 320 million krone (around £25 million) in a fleet of new trains with twice the number of seats, and only 8 of the old trains are still in use.[71]

49. The only hope the SRA could offer for a reduction in leasing costs of the trains used on community railways was the use of cheaper cascaded stock from 2006 onwards, as more and newer trains were introduced on other parts of the network.[72] We were disappointed that the SRA did not seem to see beyond the use of cascaded rolling stock on community railways:

"Chairman: You have a constant supply of tatty old trains, is that what you are saying?

Mr Austin: There will be the next generation of multiple units. As I mentioned, there will be the Class 158 units, by which stage they will have reached their ten or twelve year life, so there will for the foreseeable future be other sources of rolling stock that can be used quite apart from the use of locomotive-hauled stock."[73]

50. ACoRP reminded the Committee that the basic Pacer unit, the most widely used train on community railways, would not last forever: train development took many years and research should begin now. They had commissioned a report[74], in conjunction with the Countryside Agency, into a possible successor train to the Pacer on community railways:

"….the period of time for research and development of a new train for the rural routes could be five to ten years, so we do need to start planning seriously now. We know that the SRA have already done some research on this, applying some of the principles of light rail technology to a rural type train, such as in operation in parts of Germany, for instance. But something that is acceptable in the UK environment is really urgently needed now."[75]

51. Community railways are paying high costs to lease old trains. This alone is a serious impediment to their development. Some innovative thinking about the rolling stock market is urgently needed. In the longer term the Department for Transport must start planning for new trains for community railways, possibly building on light rail technology.

Track access charges

52. Current track access charges paid by TOCs to Network Rail consist of variable charges and a fixed charge. The variable charge is made up of a usage charge to reflect wear and tear to assets, an electricity charge and a capacity charge to reflect the cost of congestion. The fixed charge enables Network Rail to recover its residual revenue requirement after taking into account its income from variable charges. Charges are not made at a route level; the TOC pays Network Rail for the use of its whole route network, including any branch lines. In November 2004 the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) published an initial consultation document on a review of railway costs and charges.[76] The aim of this review is to establish a mechanism to analyse costs and consider the implementation of charges at a route level.

53. We heard from Mr Lundin that track access charges in Sweden have to be on a par with the cost of using roads. Jönköping has to pay 30% of the cost of investment and maintenance of the track in its area.[77] The rest of the cost is subsidised by the Government. We understand that this figure is based on a complex formula of social and environmental criteria.[78] Network Rail told us that ORR, in its review, is looking at the structure of costs on rural railways and apparently looking at the possibility of marginal cost pricing for rural railways:

"Chairman: So could you look at a different system of track access charges on Community rail routes?

Mr Plummer: The review of the structure of costs and charges that is just starting with ORR is looking particularly at the structure of costs and whether they are different on the rural railways in terms of the incremental effect of running a train on a rural railway compared to elsewhere, and then it will move on to whether that should be reflected in different charges for the use of that railway."[79]

54. We support the idea of track access charges by route: for rural lines this should mean lower charges reflecting the actual use of these lines. We are attracted by the idea of charges based on social and environmental criteria and we recommend that the Office of Rail Regulation consider this.

Increasing revenue

55. Most rail journeys in the United Kingdom are subsidised. The problem for rural lines is that the subsidy per head is extremely high. Although increasing the number of passengers carried might not result in a significant decrease in absolute levels of subsidy it will not only decrease the subsidy per head, it will ensure that local railways serve their communities better. We strongly support such initiatives. The SRA strategy considers that achieving savings may require some initial investment; we believe this is certain to be the case.

Railway Development Companies and Community Rail Partnerships

56. The key factor in increasing passenger numbers set out in the SRA strategy is to involve the local community through Community Rail Partnerships (CRPs) or Railway Development Companies.[80] The strategy envisages that each community rail line will be supported by such a body. Railway Development Companies (RDCs) are companies that can employ staff, lease or own property and undertake trading activities in a way which is not possible for voluntary groups or for local government officers. Community Rail Partnerships (CRPs) are flexible informal partnerships which bring together railway companies, local authorities and the wider community to promote and develop the local rail service. They are funded mainly by local authorities and the local train operator which usually enables them to employ a full-time or sometimes a part-time partnership officer. They also bring in volunteers to improve local stations. Only two RDCs have been established so far; one for the Settle - Carlisle line (set up over ten years ago) and the second recently established for the Esk Valley Line. In contrast there are currently 43 Community Rail Partnerships (CRPs) which have fewer responsibilities and are easier to set up.

Community Rail Partnerships

57. CRPs have achieved some impressive results: doubling of passenger use on some rural lines; improved services and better integrated transport links. The CRP on the Cornish branch lines has secured Sunday services in winter for the first time for several decades.[81] CRPs are not restricted to the community rail routes suggested by the SRA: they can be highly effective on main lines or on TENs routes, which have rural stations on route, such as the Cotswold Line and the Crewe - Shrewsbury line, on both of which the Committee travelled.

58. Given the success of CRPs with only limited resources, it is not surprising that the Government is pinning its hopes for the community rail strategy on them. But the funding of CRPs is short-term and unstable. Dr Paul Salveson, General Manager, Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP), told us that CRPs "have had a fairly hand-to-mouth existence with a bit of money here and there, a bit coming in from local authorities, a bit from train operators, sometimes external charitable foundations."[82] The SRA recognised that the bodies which supported CRPs tended to work on a one to three year funding scale.[83] The Minister cited the Penistone line as an example of what could be achieved on rural lines[84] yet when we took evidence in November 2004 the Penistone line CRP only had funding until February 2005.[85] We were told that two very successful CRPs had been lost due to lack of funding.[86] Dr Salveson recommended a three-way split for funding CRPs between "the train operator, local authority and other local sources, CRPs generating their own income from doing various things, delivering services as some are increasingly doing." He admitted that if the local authorities and train operators are not interested in supporting a CRP it was very difficult to keep it going.[87]

59. The SRA considered that "it would be much better if they [CRPs] were working on, say, a three to five year funding time scale which would give them a degree of security and ability to forward plan which they do not have at the moment."[88] Community Rail Partnerships have the potential to increase the attractiveness of both the Strategic Rail Authority's community rail lines and other regional routes. They cannot be expected to save rural railways without stable financial backing. Local authorities and train operating companies both benefit from Community Rail Partnerships and should provide stable funding. Such support should be eligible for local transport plan funding for local authorities and could be a franchise condition for train operating companies.

60. CRPs are supported by the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP), an umbrella organisation established in 1997, before the first CRPs began in 1998. It has become a widely respected organisation and provided "extensive" input to the SRA's strategy.[89] It is funded mainly by the SRA and the Countryside Agency with supplementary funding from a number of rail industry bodies; the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), rolling stock companies and individual train operators. However its main funding organisations, the SRA and the Countryside Agency, are shortly to be abolished. It was astonishing to us that Tony McNulty MP, Minister for Transport, Department for Transport, was not certain about the long-term future of this funding. He was only able to say definitely that the SRA's funding of ACoRP would last for one more year and he was unable to say whether DEFRA would take over the contribution of the Countryside Agency.[90] On 15th January 2005, the best he could offer ACoRP was a hope that the SRA could maintain funding support for the current financial year, without any commitment to funding beyond April 2005.[91]

61. Railways are good for local communities. The government has produced a strategy which relies heavily on the involvement of Community Rail Partnerships but it cannot guarantee the continued funding of the Association of Community Rail Partnerships beyond April 2005. While the rail industry should provide some funding, the Association of Community Rail Partnerships needs core funding from Government. It is absurd that the Department for Transport and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs appear unable to work together to ensure this is provided. It is astounding that the Department for Transport should subscribe to a strategy which relies heavily on community rail partnerships, and yet be unable commit itself to funding the Association of Community Rail Partnerships in the coming financial year.

Rail Passenger Partnership grants

62. The Rail Passenger Partnership Fund was announced in the Government's 1998 Transport White Paper, A New Deal for Transport: Better for Everyone. The fund was set up as a source of partnership funding to assist in the provision of new or enhanced local and regional rail services or facilities that could not be justified on financial grounds alone, but which contributed to the Government's wider objectives for rail. These objectives included modal shift from cars and integration with other modes. The SRA suspended the Rail Passenger Partnership (RPP) scheme to new bids in January 2003 for budgetary reasons.[92]

63. The suspension of the RPP grant was a great loss to CRPs, which had been able to use the RPP to bring in external funding. At Gobowen station on the Shrewsbury to Chester line a RPP grant of £50,000 was used to lever in £250,000 of external funding, which enabled the provision of a 100 space car park, full CCTV and a cycle, bus and taxi interchange. Ms Sheila Dee, Community Rail Officer, Chester to Shrewsbury Line, described RPP grants as a "lifeline" not only to many rail partnerships but also to local authorities who could then justify their spending on railways.[93] Ms Dee said that many schemes, had been put on hold when RPP grants were suspended: for some schemes external funding had already been allocated.[94] RPP grants also gave local authorities an opportunity to secure improvements to their local rail network through matching Local Transport Plan (LTP) funding or section 106[95] contributions from new developments.[96]

64. In 2003 the Local Government Association (LGA) surveyed local authorities to identify projects which had been suspended because of the withdrawal of RPP grants.[97] Although the response was not comprehensive, it identified some 17 projects which had been delayed, suspended or for which further development had been curtailed. ACoRP, too, said that the withdrawal of RPP grants was a major setback for its work. They proposed a local integrated challenge fund to replace RPP to support small-scale schemes which encourage transport integration.[98] We agree that the relatively small rail passenger partnership grant was invaluable for securing external match funding: if it cannot be restored, a similar grant should be introduced, specifically aimed at improving facilities at smaller stations or on lines with Community Rail Partnerships.

Increasing passenger numbers

65. Lines like the Bittern Line from Sheringham to Norwich show that there is considerable latent demand for rail travel in rural areas. The Bittern Line has a CRP set up at the initiative of Norfolk County Council's Planning and Transportation Department and supported by the operator, initially Anglia Railways and now One Railway. There has been an increase of 162% in passenger numbers over seven years.[99] Mr Denby told us that, in addition to the CRP's core funding from Norfolk County Council and One Railway, it had managed to secure third party funding from other bodies such as, smaller district councils, local businesses and Regional Development Agencies,[100] which had enabled the partnership to quickly promote the line and make small scale improvements at stations.


66. People are often unaware of their local rail service and Mr Denby told us that marketing by CRPs was key to attracting more passengers on rural lines:

"Having that pot of money allows you to more effectively and more quickly promote the line and do small scale improvements at stations, put information into places like the library and Tourist Information Centres, spread the word more effectively so that those people who do not use the railway and perhaps think that it is less frequent, less reliable and more expensive than it actually is in practice are disabused of that notion and realise that their local service is there and it works very well for them."[101]

CRPs also run special events, which are revenue earners in themselves, but also serve to publicise the line and thus generate more passengers. Such events might be station galas, live music on trains, and guided walks from stations.[102] Several CRPs have increased rail travel by introducing Local Residents' Railcards. Nottinghamshire County Council said that an increase in patronage on the Robin Hood Line had been achieved through innovative marketing, using "attractively-designed timetable leaflets delivered door-to-door to all households within the corridor."[103]


67. The immediate aim of the SRA strategy for community railways is to maximise the value-for-money of the existing subsidy, but on some lines the potential for passenger growth is limited unless services are improved. ACoRP's comment that "Many rural lines have timetables which are hopelessly unattractive, with three or four-hour intervals between trains"[104] was borne out when the Heart of Wales line forum told us:

…….. we believe that the current timetable simply does not meet the needs of passengers, and needs to be increased….

There is little point in spending the considerable sums of money required to keep such a line open, if the train service operated on it is inadequate and does not enable people to use it![105]

We believe that the SRA's contention that "In some cases, it may be necessary to run a more restricted service until demand has grown through the work of the Community Rail Partnership"[106] is illogical and puts the CRPs in an impossible situation. Intensive marketing of a substandard product ultimately alienates potential users.

68. Mr Denby told us that the crucial factor in increasing passenger numbers on the Bittern Line was the creation of a more attractive timetable.[107] A skip-stop service was changed to an hourly service, stopping at all intermediate stations throughout the day; the gaps in services had been a disincentive to travel. In addition some funding had been obtained for evening services.

"I would emphasise to the Committee that one of the big things in terms of making a difference is getting a service frequency and a service pattern that is attractive to the local market and there is no doubt in my mind that has been one of the critical factors in attracting more people, that it is convenient and frequent enough and they can rely on it." [108]

Passenger service requirement

69. Perversely, measures designed to protect services may now be hindering the development of timetables which meet consumer needs. When rail franchises are granted the TOC has a contract to run services set out in the passenger service requirement (PSR), for which franchise payments are made. The PSR for each route was based on the timetable in operation before privatisation. Chris Austin, Executive Director, Community Rail Development, SRA, admitted that the PSR acted as a constraint on service planning and prevented the best use of rolling stock. He set out the SRA's vision for the service pattern on community railways:

"What we would like to do in the context of community railways is have an agreement in relation to an overall service level for which we are paying the public subsidy in support, but to allow the individual train timetables to be developed by the partnerships with the train operating company, so they would have a degree of flexibility to develop that without any nationally imposed constraints."[109]

The Tyne Value Users' Group complained that the SRA specified services on the Newcastle to Carlisle line, which did not make sense locally, and failed to meet local needs:

Timetables are designed for the convenience of the operator, often making the service irrelevant to potential users. If the railway can't get people to work on time, get them to services when they are open, or get them back from an evening at the theatre, cinema or concert hall, then it might as well not exist. [110]

70. Community Rail Partnerships can only market rural lines effectively if they have a reasonable product. It is common sense that an attractive and reliable timetable is critical for attracting passengers to rural lines. If the passenger service requirement is a barrier to developing such services on an individual line, it should be scrapped. Those responsible for rural railways should aspire for a reliable hourly service as a minimum.

71. There may be a catch 22 in the Strategic Rail Authority strategy. The franchise support payments to train operating companies will only support a certain level of service. If this service is not good enough to use passenger growth will be impossible. Passenger revenue cannot be increased without additional services; there is a danger that additional services will not be provided without increased revenue.

Increasing carriage of freight

72. The potential for the growth of freight on rural lines may appear to be much lower than the potential for passenger growth. However Mr Graham Smith, Planning Director, English, Welsh and Scottish Railway (EWS), told us that there was potential for carrying more freight on rural lines, particularly for mining and quarrying:

"There are opportunities for developing business served by the rural community railway. There are quarries and slate mines, for example. There is a slate mine near Blaenau Ffestiniog which is being considered for reopening and removing slate waste materials. There may be further opportunities in Cornwall with china clay and in the urban areas of north Nottinghamshire and south Yorkshire, which were previously used for coal extraction, there are opportunities where new industry arises."[111]

They also mentioned that the Bittern Line was used for freight; moving gas condensate from the North Sea.[112] The Community Rail strategy specifically allows for changes in the designation of community rail status either at a routine review, or at the request of an interested party, such as a freight operator. We welcome the decision of the Strategic Rail Authority to exclude from designation as community rail lines some routes which English Welsh and Scottish Railway had identified as having potential for freight use or were important diversionary routes for freight. Where there is the potential for rural lines to carry freight it is important that the railway should be maintained accordingly. Community rail standards should not be a barrier to the growth of freight.

Station buildings

73. There are many redundant and even derelict station buildings on the rail network. Some have been restored and are used by businesses and community groups: such use has a double benefit for the railways; not only does it bring in some extra revenue in rent, it also enhances the station environment, encourages passengers and deters railway crime and vandalism. We saw some excellent examples on our visit: Great Malvern has both a restaurant and craft shop in attractively restored station buildings and the former station building at Gobowen is used by an independent travel agent who also sells rail tickets to anywhere in the country. We heard however that there have been unnecessary obstacles to overcome for those wishing to take over such buildings.

74. The BR property portfolio was split between a number of parties at privatisation and it is very difficult to establish who controls what. Stations were transferred to Railtrack but all but 17 of the 2,504 stations on the network are leased to TOCs.[113] Vacant station buildings are unlikely to be part of the TOC lease. Property and land, which was not being used at the time of privatisation, is owned by British Rail Properties Residual Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of the SRA. Network Rail also has its own wholly owned property company, Spacia, which generates income for investment on the railways from the redeployment of spaces underneath railway arches.

75. The experience of the North Cheshire Rail Users' Group, whom we met at Frodsham in Cheshire, epitomises the problem. The group was trying to use a derelict station building to set up a local business. They were prepared to renovate the building and wanted the lease at a peppercorn rent. First they found it difficult to determine ownership of the building, let alone obtain permission to seek alternative uses for the building.[114] Network Rail acknowledged that in the past they had been difficult to engage with. We were told they now planned to set up a single point of contact for anybody who was interested in using surplus station property.[115] Nonetheless they considered there were three obstacles for someone taking over a station building. These were:

  • Network Rail's desire for a commercial rent to maximise its income;
  • The possible need for a piece of land in the future for the operational railway and therefore the length of lease available;
  • A lessee's expectation that Network Rail will fund the redevelopment of the building.

76. Network Rail and ACoRP had planned to set up a Railway and Community Trust as a vehicle to attract investment funds from outside the railway to restore station buildings.[116] But it has been decided that the new Account Director, Community Rail, at Network Rail will take on this task.

77. The productive use of station buildings is a benefit for the railway and the community. It should be made much easier for local communities to take over and renovate vacant station buildings. Funding will be needed to assist with the regeneration of these buildings: Network Rail should treat this with some urgency.

Infrastructure enhancement

78. We accept that the rail industry needs to control its costs, and that infrastructure enhancements are likely to be the most expensive improvements made to rural railways. Nonetheless we are concerned that, although the strategy refers to the possibility that any savings made could be used to benefit of the communities served by community lines, it lacks any clear vision for the future. We have been given numerous examples of short stretches of line, which if reinstated, would offer new travel opportunities in rural areas. The North Cheshire Rail Users' Group has been campaigning for the reinstatement of the Halton Curve, for example, which would reduce the travelling time from Ellesmere Port to Liverpool to 29 minutes. The journey currently takes 90 minutes via Chester or 75 minutes via Warrington so it is not surprising that people tend to drive to Liverpool.[117] There are also heritage lines which, with small infrastructure improvements, could be linked to the main rail network. For example the Llangollen Railway would need a short connection between the heritage railway station at Ruabon and Ruabon station on the Chester to Shrewsbury line.[118]

79. Evidence from Europe shows that investment in rural railways can result in spectacular increases in passenger numbers. The investment in the railways in the county of Jönköping in Sweden saw passenger numbers increase from 258,000 passengers per annum in 1985 to 900,000 in 2004 with a target of 1,350,000 in 2007.[119] We note that the Bittern Line, which has been much praised for achieving large passenger growth, was renewed and resignalled.[120]

80. We recommend that the Department for Transport, Network Rail and Community Rail Partnerships should work together to identify where enhancements on rural lines would bring most benefit. They should then draw up a prioritised list of infrastructure works for rural lines which can be dealt with as funding becomes available.

Local transport plan funding

81. The DfT provides significant funding for local transport authorities in England as part of its Local Transport Plan (LTP) settlement. The guidance for the second round of five-year local transport plans, published in December 2004,[121] states that the Department will consider supporting rail projects in the second LTP round: provisional LTPs will be received in summer 2005 and final plans in Spring 2006. The guidance states that rail projects included in the LTP should be primarily aimed at delivering local transport benefits in the context of a local transport plan (e.g. congestion, pollution, road safety and accessibility benefits). The DfT anticipates that some local authorities will wish to include proposals relating to local branch lines managed under CRPs and advises these authorities to take note of the SRA's community rail strategy. However many community rail lines cross county boundaries and the LGA saw local authority boundaries as a barrier to developing local schemes.[122] Furthermore some train operators have much less contact with local authorities than others.[123] CRPs are in a good position to liaise between local authorities and the train operator but there is no compulsion for local authorities to consult CRPs when developing their LTPs. As a result we are concerned that community rail lines might miss out on this funding opportunity.

82. We welcome the recognition of community rail lines in local transport plan guidance but we are not sure how this will work when such lines cross local authority boundaries. We recommend that there should be a formal consultation procedure with Community Rail Partnerships when funds are being sought for community rail schemes.

56   SRA strategy document para 1.8, p 10 Back

57   Ibid para 1.5, p 6  Back

58   Q 64 Back

59   Q 142 Back

60   ibid Back

61   Q 96 Back

62   Train on Line, February 2005 Back

63   Q 186 Back

64   Q 183 Back

65   Q 94 Back

66   SRA strategy document, para 1.5, p6 Back

67   RR 18 Back

68   SRA strategy document, para 1.5 Back

69   RR 19 Back

70   Q 313 Back

71   Qq 6, 43  Back

72   SRA strategy document para 1.5, p 6 Back

73   Q 326 Back

74   ACoRP, Trains, Trams, Tram/trains: Novel Solutions for Regional Railway, September 2004 Back

75   Q 169 Back

76   ORR, Structure of costs and charges review: Initial consultation document, November 2004 Back

77   Q 47 Back

78   ACoRP, Impressions of Scandinavia: ACoRP;s Study Visit to Sweden and Denmark, August 2004 Back

79   Q 97 Back

80   SRA strategy document, para 3.13 Back

81   RR 13 Back

82   Q 177 Back

83   Q 329 Back

84   Q 430 Back

85   Q 177 Back

86   ibid Back

87   ibid Back

88   Q 329 Back

89   SRA strategy document para 1.1 Back

90   Q 438 Back

91   Letter to the Committee Back

92   HC Deb 5 July 2004 col 484W Back

93   Q 178 Back

94   Q Ibid Back

95   grants from developers towards new infrastructure under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1991, soon to be superseded by grants under the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. Back

96   RR 16 Back

97   Q 227 Back

98   RR 13 Back

99   Q 179 Back

100   Q 148 Back

101   Q 148 Back

102   RR 13 Back

103   RR 31 Back

104   RR 13 Back

105   RR 18 Back

106   SRA strategy para 2.6 Back

107   Q 161 Back

108   ibid Back

109   Q 319 Back

110   RR 06 Back

111   Q 61 Back

112   Q 60 Back

113   Q 86 Back

114   RR 07 Back

115   Q 90 Back

116   Q 93 Back

117   RR 07 Back

118   RR 23 Back

119   Q 10 Back

120   Q 60 Back

121   DfT, Full Guidance of Local Transport Plans: Second Edition, December 2004 Back

122   Q 232 Back

123   Q 176 Back

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