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21 Jul 2005 : Column 2133W—continued

Policy Costings

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what costings of (a) Liberal Democrat and (b) Conservative party policies his Department has (i) undertaken, (ii) co-ordinated in the previous 12 months and (iii) advised upon in the previous 12 months. [7004]

Ms Buck: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Financial Secretary on 18 July 2005, Official Report, column 1334W.

Port Traffic Forecasts

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the terms of reference are for work to be carried out by consultants on port traffic forecasts and trans-shipment economic implications. [13241]

Dr. Ladyman: A copy of the terms of reference has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

QinetiQ

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the contribution which QinetiQ's scanner technology could make to security on public transport. [12437]

Ms Buck: The Department has a continuous programme of assessing how new technology could improve transport security. The Department has supported development of scanner technology over a number of years, both financially and through the provision of operational information.

Rail Freight

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to encourage the transfer of movements of heavy freight loads from road to rail. [11321]


 
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Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to make the carriage of freight by rail more attractive. [12816]

Derek Twigg: I refer my hon. Friends to the statement the Secretary of State made on 19 July 2005, Official Report, column 71–73WS, setting out the Government's policy towards rail freight.

Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will bring forward proposals for legislation to limit track access charges levied by Network Rail in respect of rail freight. [12818]

Derek Twigg: Existing legislation already provides for the Office of Rail Regulation to determine and approve the freight access charges levied by Network Rail. In doing so, ORR is required to ensure that the charges are in line with the charging principles in EU Directive 2001/14.

Rail freight's ability to compete against road and other modes is dependent upon stable and affordable charging for access to the network. The Government supports this and believes it is best achieved through the principle of freight operators paying charges which reflect only the costs that they impose upon the network (in line with the charging principles set out in EU Directive 2001/14). We will therefore work with the rail industry and ORR so that this remains the case.

Rail Projects

Mr. Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many capital projects in the rail industry worth over £500 million have commenced in London since 1997. [12744]

Mr. Darling: The following heavy rail infrastructure projects costing over £500 million have commenced in London since 1997:

Rail Safety (Obstacle Detection)

Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will set out the timetable for the Rail Safety and Standards Board's investigation into obstacle detection technologies; and when it will produce its report; [13375]

(2) if he will list the systems being trialled by the Rail Safety and Standards Board in its investigation into obstacle detection technology for use at unmanned level crossings. [13376]

Derek Twigg: The Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) is currently developing a research project on behalf of the rail industry to apply some rigour to the potential application of obstacle detection systems. It is currently planned that the project will produce its report towards the end of summer 2006.

The RSSB advise that a thorough investigation of the technology available will form part of the research, but at this stage they do not intend to trial any particular system.
 
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Rail Services

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many rail passenger journeys were made between Chelmsford and London-Liverpool Street Station in (a) 1997 and (b) the latest year for which figures are available. [10303]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 12 July 2005]: The information requested is not currently available. I will write to the hon. Member in due course as soon as information is available.

Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the proportion of commuters using London Paddington to Swansea train services since rail privatisation who travel during peak hours. [7753]

Derek Twigg: This information is not held centrally.

Railtrack

Mr. Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list payments made by his Department to Railtrack in each month between January 2000 and the date of its administration order. [13487]

Mr. Darling [holding answer 19 July 2005]: Payments made to Railtrack by the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) and its predecessor the Shadow SRA in this period were as follows:
MonthAmount (£)
Shadow Strategic Rail Authority
February 20002
April 200029
June 20001
October 20001
January 2001164
Strategic Rail Authority
March 200159
April 200177
May 200122,532
June 200127
July 200124
September 20011,000
October 2001336,590

The vast majority of Railtrack's income came from access charges levied on train operating companies rather than through direct payments from Government. However, a number of payments were made to the company between January 2000 and September 2001 by the SRA and the Shadow SRA. A number of these, including the payment of £23 million in May 2001, relate to feasibility studies for infrastructure schemes. On 1 October 2001, the SRA paid to Railtrack a Network Grant of £337 million. The Railway Administration Order in relation to Railtrack was made on 7 October 2001.

Mr. Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment was made by his Department of the West LB bid for Railtrack in April 2002; and if he will make a statement. [13488]


 
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Mr. Darling [holding answer 19 July 2005]: Officials at the Department for Transport's predecessor had discussions with West LB about its interest in bidding for Railtrack in late 2001 and early 2002. However, West LB did not submit a formal bid for Railtrack.

Mr. Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list (a) meetings and (b) discussions (i) Ministers and (ii) officials in his Department had with Treasury Ministers and officials during (A) 2001 and (B)2002 concerning railway ownership, broken down by (1) date, (2) attendees and (3) subject; and if he will place the minutes of meetings in the Library. [13489]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 19 July 2005]: The information requested could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Railways

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has (a) to reduce overcrowding and (b) to improve punctuality on the East Coast Main Line. [5861]

Derek Twigg: The new East Coast Inter City franchise commenced on 1 May 2005. Among the obligations within the new franchise are additional services to Leeds and the development of a study into the electrification of the rail network between Neville Hill and Hambleton South Junction.

Network Rail (NR), who have the responsibility for route utilisation on the East Coast Main Line, are developing and publishing a full route utilisation (RUS). The RUS will address capacity issues on the ECML. It is planned that NR will consult further on the requirements for the line and are likely to be in a position to publish the results of their work in 12 months.

Mrs. Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to increase capacity on the East Coast Main Line. [9304]

Derek Twigg: The new East Coast Inter City franchise commenced on 1 May 2005. Among the obligations within the new franchise are additional services to Leeds and the development of a study into the electrification of the rail network between Neville Hill and Hambleton South Junction.

Network Rail (NR), who have the responsibility for route utilisation on the East Coast Main Line, are developing and publishing a full Route Utilisation (RUS). The RUS will address capacity issues on the ECML. It is planned that NR will consult further on the requirements for the line and are likely to be in a position to publish the results of their work in 12 months.

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made on the planned upgrading of the East Coast Main Line, with particular reference to improved station facilities at Peterborough. [9598]

Derek Twigg: The new East Coast Inter City franchise commenced on 1 May 2005. Among the obligations within the new franchise are additional services to Leeds
 
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and the development of a study into the electrification of the rail network between Neville Hill and Hambleton South Junction.

Network Rail, who have the responsibility for route utilisation on the East Coast Main Line, are developing and publishing a full route utilisation (RUS). The RUS will address capacity issues on the ECML including at Peterborough station. It is planned that NR will consult further on the requirements for the line and are likely to be in a position to publish the results of their work in 12 months.
 
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Mr. Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much Government subsidy per passenger mile each UK rail franchise received in the period April 2004 to April 2005. [12708]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 19 July 2005]: The subsidies paid to each train operating company (TOC), along with the corresponding passenger kilometres travelled for the period 1 April 2004 to 31 March 2005 are set out in table 6.2b of National Rail Trends which was published by the Strategic Rail Authority on 24 June 2005. That table is reproduced as follows:
Table 6.2b Subsidy per passenger kilometre by train operating company 2004–05

Passenger kilometres (million)Subsidy
(£ million)
Subsidy per passenger
kilometre (pence)
2003–04 Subsidy per passenger kilometre (pence)
Arriva Trains Northern(49)696.5112.016.116.9
Arriva Trains Wales853.193.911.018.0
C2c853.25.10.62.4
Central Trains(49)1,428.2155.610.910.8
Chiltern Railways715.414.02.03.8
First Great Western2,718.2(34.6)(1.3)1.2
First Great Western Link1,602.2(9.9)(0.9)(0.5)
First North Western(49)467.799.521.323.9
First Scotrail(49)992.657.25.8
Gatwick Express227.2(18.3)(8.1)(6.6)
GNER4,063.8(67.0)(1.6)(0.6)
Island Line6.63.248.246.8
Midland Mainline1,322.2(9.0)(0.7)(0.3)
Northern Rail(49)475.381.017.0
ONE3,680.4(45.0)(1.2)
Scotrail(49)1,231.1106.48.612.9
Silverlink1,054.330.12.94.9
South Eastern Trains3,406.970.42.13.8
South West Trains4,605.838.60.82.7
Southern2,913.671.12.43.3
Thameslink1,413.8(49.7)(3.5)(3.0)
TPE776.043.55.625.2
Virgin CrossCountry2,541.7111.04.49.2
Virgin West Coast2,720.689.83.312.1
WAGN1,388.90.50.00.5
Wessex Trains462.456.012.117.9
All operators42,077.81,005.4
Average subsidy per passenger kilometre (pence)2.45.0


(49)Operators are part funded by PTEs. Where a PTE retains revenue risk, it pays the gross operating costs less the actual revenue. The subsidy figures in the table are based on the assumed revenue levels, either set out in the Franchise Agreement or based on actuals provided by the PTEs. This, however, may overstate the actual subsidy paid where it has been based on the Franchise Agreement. Actual subsidy per kilometre figures may therefore be less than stated for these operators.
Notes:
1.Subsidy figures are stated on a cash basis and exclude any payments under the incentive regimes but include adjustments made to reflect the consequences of the Regulator's charges review. Figures in brackets show where the SRA is in receipt of payments.
2.2004–05 represents the period 1 April 2004 to 31 March 2005, with the exception of Arriva Trains Northern, which is from 1 April 2004 to 11 December 2004; First North Western which is from 1 April 2004 to 11 December 2004; Northern, which is from 12 December 2004 to 31 March 2005; ScotRail which is from 1 April 2004 to 16 October 2004; and First Scot Rail, which is from 17 October 2004 to 31 March 2005.
3.In 2003–04 franchise was operated by Thames Trains.
4.2003–04 represents the period 1 April 2003 to 31 March 2004, with the exception of Arriva Trains Wales, which is from 8 December 2003 to 31 March 2004; South Eastern Trains, which is from 9 November 2003 to 31 March 2004; and TransPennine Express, which is from 2 February 2004 to 31 March 2004.
5.Merseyrail is not included in this table as it is no longer franchised by the SRA.





 
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As the notes to this table explain, adjustments to the subsidy profile have been made to reflect the consequences of the ORR's December 2003 Access Charges Review. One of the effects of this review was to allow for some funds which would otherwise have been paid to TOCs from the SRA and then passed through to Network Rail (NR), to be paid by the SRA to NR directly. This had the effect of reducing the subsidy payments made to the TOCs (or increasing the premium payable by them).

The amount paid direct to Network Rail in the financial year 2004–05 was around £1.8 billion. Taking this direct funding into account the true subsidy per passenger kilometre for 2004–05 across the network is around 6.6 pence.


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