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Transport of such material is subject to strict regulation, based upon the internationally agreed recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEARegulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material) to ensure protection of members
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of the public, workers and the environment from the potential effects of radiation. Rail transport has proved to be a practical and efficient mode of transport for the heavy loads involved. In 40 years of experience of these transports in the UK there has never been an accident resulting in death or serious injury to persons, nor significant harm to the environment from radiological cause when transported in accordance with the IAEA Regulations.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) specialist locomotives and (b) other items of rolling stock are in use to facilitate themaintenance of the railways; and what change there has been in the numbers of each in each of the last 10 years. 
Derek Twigg: The Government have no plans to return the national rail network to public ownership. Both public and private money is benefiting the railway. Re-nationalisation would not only mean covering the costs of buying back the railway, but also losing that private source of money.
Following the Rail Review, the Future of Rail" White Paper set out a new streamlined structure based on the principle of public and private partnership, recognising rail's importance as a vital public service specified by the Government and delivered by the private sector.
Peter Law: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will instruct the Strategic Rail Authority that increased passenger services between Cardiff and London should be a condition of the new franchise. 
Derek Twigg: No. The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) issued invitations to tender to bidders for the new Greater Western franchise on 2 June. The current half-hourly 'inter-city' service between Cardiff and London is included in the timetabled specification that forms the base case, which means that each bidder will commit to provide it. Bidders are, however, being asked to separately cost a reduction in the service frequency in the off-peak from half-hourly to hourly, to determine the value for money of operating these services within the new franchise.
The Department for Transport does not hold information on the estimates for the number of people standing on trains. All train operating companies are required by their franchise agreements to manage crowding by ensuring that adequate capacity is provided to meet passenger needs as far as possible. All rolling stock has a nominal capacity. Under normal circumstances for journeys of 20 minutes or more, the
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capacity is taken to be the number of seats provided, and no passenger should need to stand for more than 20 minutes. For journeys of less than 20 minutes an allowance is made for no more than 30 per cent. of passengers to be standing.
In addition, London and Edinburgh commuter operators are subject to specific standards for managing crowding in the morning and evening peaks. These are that the average number of passengers carried does not exceed the nominal capacity by more than 4.5 per cent. in either peak taken in isolation, or more than 3 per cent. for both peaks combined. The Strategic Rail Authority publishes data in National Rail Trends about the commuter operators' performance, and this is in the Library of the House.
Derek Twigg: The Strategic Rail Authority has begun informal consultation with industry stakeholders including Passenger Transport Executives and local authorities. Specific proposals for the re-allocation of Central Trains' services to other franchises will be considered later in the year and consulted on before Invitations to Tender are issued.
|Passenger kilometres (billions)||32.1||40.9|
|Freight moved (billion net tonne kilometres)||15.1||18.9|
The number of passenger kilometres and amount of freight moved is published in the Strategic Rail Authority's National Rail Trends Yearbook 200304 (June 2004), reproduced in the afore mentioned table.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what public funds have been made available in each of the last three years to maintain the track from (a) London to Reading, (b) Reading to Exeter and (c) Exeter to Plymouth; and what steps he is taking to ensure that Railtrack maintains the rails to the West Country to a sufficient specification to enable high-speed trains (a) to run from London to Plymouth daily in under three hours and (b) to keep to schedule. 
Network Rail is a private sector company, and so it is not for a Government Department to direct how it spends the money available to it at a local level. However, through a combination of the
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service specifications in the franchise agreements between the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) and the train operators, the train operating companies' track access agreements with Network Rail to deliver these, Network Rail's duties under condition 7 of its Network Licence and the network outputs specified in the Office of Rail Regulation's review of Network Rail's access charges, a commercial and regulatory framework exists to ensure that the network is maintained at an appropriate standard.
The Route Utilisation Strategy for the Great Western route will be published shortly by the SRA. This strategy, which extends to 2012, does not envisage any reduction in the capability of the Great Western Mainline.
|As at 1 April to 31 March:||Trespass prosecutions|
|Total track re-laid in miles|
In April 2005 there were 10,897 vehicles in use on revenue earning services operated by franchised train operating companies. At the time of rail privatisation there were 9,979.
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Derek Twigg [holding answer 20 June 2005]: None. The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) issued Invitations to Tender to bidders for the new Greater Western franchise on 2 June. The sleeper service is included in the timetabled specification that forms the Base Case, which means that each bidder will commit to provide it. Bidders are, however, being asked to cost running it separately to determine the value for money of operating these services within the new franchise and to allow an assessment of an option in which the current sleeper service are removed. In addition, they are being asked to propose more cost-effective ways of meeting the demand which the sleeper service accommodates.
Derek Twigg: The Strategic Rail Authority issued invitations to tender to bidders for the new Greater Western franchise on 2 June. The sleeper service is included in the base specification which means that each bidder must agree to provide it. Bidders are, however, being asked to cost running it separately to determine the value for money of operating these services within the new franchise.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to remove the requirement for the night sleeper rail services to Edinburgh and Glasgow in the next round of tender bids. 
Derek Twigg: Sleeper services between England and Scotland are part of the ScotRail franchise which was re-let on 17 October 2004 and will run until October 2011. Under the Railways Act 2005, the Scottish Executive will be wholly responsible for the ScotRail franchise from later this year.
Derek Twigg [holding answer 20 June 2005]: No. First Great Western currently operates high speed trains between South Wales and London with a maximum speed of 125 miles per hour. The Strategic Rail Authority has consulted on a Great Western Main Line Route Utilisation Strategy" to determine the most efficient use of current network infrastructure. A final strategy will be published shortly.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will ensure that the level of on-board catering will be a consideration of the franchise document for the West of England franchise. 
The provision and level of on-board catering will remain a commercial matter for the train operator. However, bidders are required to submit an on train catering plan with their bid which will form part of the evaluation.
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Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will ensure that account is taken of (a) the quality of the rolling stock, (b) the reliability of the engines to be used and (c) the speed of the journeys in evaluating the franchise bids from each operator for the Westcountry rail franchise; 
(2) if he will ensure that account is taken of the number of trains that can maintain a realistic and punctual daily timetable in evaluating the franchise bids from each operator for the Westcountry rail franchise. 
Derek Twigg: A key objective in letting the franchise is to improve operational performance and to sustain a level of service quality consistent with meeting customer needs. A service level commitment specifying a minimum level of service including maximum journey times has been developed with these aims in mind.
Bidders are required to produce plans to improve current performance through better fleet management and demonstrate an efficient and effective use of the extensive range of fleet maintenance services and stabling facilities available within the Greater Western area in their bids. They may propose to refurbish or acquire alternative or additional rolling stock to meet these requirements. In addition, the Greater Western franchise will benefit from the replacement of the HST fleet planned to be in service in 2014.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what consultation he has carried out with business leaders in Devon and Cornwall in assessing whether the night sleeper between London and Penzance should be included in the franchise documents for the Westcountry franchise; what research he has conducted into the effect of the withdrawal of the Westcountry sleeper on the economy of Devon and Cornwall; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) if he will include in his rail tender documents for the South West a requirement to include the night sleeper service to and from Penzance; if he will provide a financial credit for those companies offering this service in their franchise bid; and if he will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg: No assessment of the economic effect has been made as it would not be appropriate at this stage. The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) issued invitations to tender to bidders for the new Greater Western franchise on 2 June. The sleeper service is included in the timetabled specification that forms the base case, which means that each bidder will commit to provide it. Bidders are, however, being asked to cost running it separately to determine the value for money of operating these services within the new franchise and to allow an assessment of an option in which the current sleeper service are removed. They are also being asked to propose more cost-effective ways of meeting the demand which the sleeper service accommodates.
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