Select Committee on Environmental Audit Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 280 - 299)



  Q280  Chairman: The point was very fairly made that the biggest contribution which railways can make in cutting carbon emissions is not by reducing what is already quite a small proportion of emissions from railways themselves, it is by getting a bigger share of both passenger and freight traffic moving from either roads or air onto railways. Given that that is where the big gains are to be had, what will you be suggesting to the Department they should be put in the rail strategy? You say they are consulting, and that is good. This is an opportunity for you, as it is for us, to make some strong pleas and partly in the line of what you tell us we may want to back it up. What would you be hoping for now when this document comes out next year?

  Mrs Shaw: Technically, we know we need to move on from the fuel sources we have at present, so there needs to be some recognition of some diversification of fuel source in addition to what we have, the diesel and the electrical supplies we have presently[23]. We know that has to come into the technical strategy. Hybrid locomotives show some significant promise but have a long way to go in terms of whether we can practically implement them. Certainly in the short term, even in the medium term, we will lag behind road. We are quite comfortable with that. That is where the volume is and the proving ground can be, and we are very comfortable with lagging behind road on that. In terms of the overall strategy, there are many more things which rail can do which are very specific in terms of managing or improving the capacity we have. We have a very mixed railway at the moment, freight trains running in amongst passenger trains, and that is a constraint on capacity because they run at different speeds and have different technical characteristics, but it also means in terms of the energy consumption particularly it is not good for the freight trains to have to keep stopping and starting to make way for fast passenger trains. Equally, it is not good for the passenger trains to be kept down to the speed of a slow freight train. So we need to do some specific capacity-related things, and things like the high level output specification will enable the sustainable development of the railways—indirectly almost, it is not an objective in itself, it is what you will get from a high level output statement—to proceed that much better. There are two angles, the technical angle and the strategical angle, which will work by themselves but effectively work together.

  Mr Lyons: If I could add, Chairman, we do face a fundamental problem. The network is tiny in relation to roads and it is a very simple calculation that every 1% shift from road equals a 10% increase in demand on the railway network. Quite frankly, we are reaching the limits of what the present network can do. Of course, in the short term we can lengthen trains and we can sort out some of the bottlenecks, but they are not going to increase the capacity to significant levels if you are going to make a really major shift from road and short-haul air to rail that is needed. Clearly, we have got to build some new capacity at some time, if not in the next five years in the next 10 to 25 years. Again, I think there is an increasing recognition that in so many bits of Britain's infrastructure capacity is one of the big problems and at last we are seeing some movement from Government to try and address these with the Eddington Report, the strategy, and so on.

  Q281  Joan Walley: I just wanted to pursue that a bit further with you because in my own constituency, where we have got EWS, there is a conflict between the high speed trains down to London and extra capacity and freight. What I am really interested in finding out from you is, given what you are saying about welcoming the Department for Transport's long-term strategy this is as much about incentivising in terms of Treasury as it might be about PFI bids in terms of getting capital into building new infrastructure. How much do you think the Treasury and the Department for Transport are really taking on board the need for decisions to be made now for that extra designated capacity for freight in terms of the long-term rail strategy, without which the train operating companies cannot really operate either because you have not got the space?

  Mr Lyons: Absolutely. I think you are exactly right. As at today, to be quite honest the railway does not have a longer term strategy at present. Network Rail has targets for another few years, to 2009. There is, of course, the Government commitment to Crossrail, which we welcome, and we know that the Eddington Report is looking at such things as high-speed lines, but those are not firm commitments yet. I think the key issue now is at two levels. One is, there is a great deal of work taking place led by Network Rail on the Route-Utilisation Strategies (as it is called) which looks at what you can do in the short-term to try and increase the capacity on the network. One of the key ones which are going to be introduced is the freight utilisation strategy, which is due for production sometime in the course of next year. This is going to look at freight nationally and see what needs to be done. It could be argued that this should have been done some time ago, but again like lots of other things other priorities overran it, but now at long last that issue is being addressed. However, I would say that too often decisions have been made in such things as the port expansion at Thames Haven, as a good example, where a major infrastructure project is put in for one mode of transport without thought of how land-side distribution is to take place and these sorts of issue have got to be addressed.

  Q282  Joan Walley: Yes, but my point also is that unless that is matched by a similar priority, for example in terms of the comprehensive spending review and getting it into the Treasury at this stage, whatever the transport strategy says unless it is backed by the Treasury how are you making sure that those representations are being made to Government?

  Mr Lyons: They are being made very strongly. Freight is very interesting because rail freight is not seen as a rail-only problem. The Freight Transport Association has been extremely active, as you may know, in promoting with the Rail Freight Group a better future for the industry overall, which includes rail. There has been, as you may know, a concern over the various grants for freight, the Freight Facilities Grants, which are relatively small sums of money but have a significant multiplier effect, which tend to have been cut at short notice, and this causes significant problems with local stakeholders because they suddenly find they have got a good idea for freight and find they cannot introduce it because barriers are put in their way. I am not at this stage 100% confident that Treasury in the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review is going to meet every rail need. I would like them to do so because I think if they do it will be money well invested, but at this stage I think they need a lot of convincing and we are trying to do it.

  Q283  Mr Hurd: In relation to the need for expanded capacity in the context of what you have just said about concerns about the spending review, where would you prioritise geographically? Where is the capacity most needed?

  Mr Lyons: For freight?

  Q284  Mr Hurd: Not necessarily for freight. You were talking generally about the need to expand rail capacity—

  Mr Lyons: You basically start in the greater South East, where for a whole number of reasons we are seeing increased longer distance commuting, huge population growth, the ODPM's Sustainable Communities policies, and so on and so forth, all of which point out the need for extra capacity, not just on the railways themselves but in the car parks to put cars in so that people can get to stations. Those are being addressed in the Route-Utilisation Strategy. There is a very interesting one for South West Trains issued, which I think was very much a benchmark of what we should be seeing. We have got to have Crossrail, whatever the difficulties of it. That sort of major enhancement of east-west flows across the South East is absolutely vital. Again within the South East, freight from ports, particularly Felixstowe and the ports in the Thames estuary and Southampton, has got to cross the grain of passenger services over extremely busily used lines and must be separated. Further afield, we have clearly got some major capacity constraints on the East and West Coast mainlines; these are arteries for the future. Regrettably, the West Coast Mainline upgrade, although it has very significantly improved the reliability of the line, has not increased the capacity enough for future growth which we can see over the next twenty years. Finally, we need to look at the other conurbations outside London, because many of those have capacity constraints as well on them, and that is actually where a mixture of probably light rail and heavy rail coming together can produce some solutions which actually meet local needs. It is a big agenda, I fear. Almost everywhere you look we are stuck.

  Q285  Colin Challen: Just following on from that, we are well into the Government's integrated transport strategy. Could you point to its greatest success for us?

  Mrs Shaw: How big a hole do I want to dig for myself? There are a number of spots where the simple application of sensible policies has demonstrated quick pay-backs. If I could point to the Nottingham tram scheme, for example, the tram station has been sensibly positioned right next to the main railway station in Nottingham. The passenger numbers are well in excess of those forecast for the first year's operation. It is a very well introduced scheme, very well run presently and in its introduction by the operator and is now being held as a flagship for Nottingham going forwards as a good place to live. The layout of the tram stop at the station is such that the extension south into other parts of the city has been easily enabled because the bridge is perched right at the level to go straight over the top of the station. So that will enable a much easier extension of the tramline should the local authority venture to try and persuade the Secretary of State that trams really are not such a bad idea after all. Integration between buses and trains has much less of a profile[24], I would say, nationally because people tend to think of buses much more as a local service than a service which enables them to go longer distances which the trains usually serve, but if I could think of integration in terms of local train services meeting and working well with national train services, Ashford and Waterloo, particularly with the Eurostar, I would say is an excellent example of an integrated system. Clearly Waterloo is a huge volume station and feeds huge numbers of people straight into the Waterloo terminal for Eurostar, but similarly we are seeing increasing numbers of people in the South East using the local services to get into Ashford station to access Paris, Lille and Brussels. If one could see similar examples of high-speed rail in this country with high-speed rail stations being fed by local rail stations from conurbations for larger cities which do not have the direct high-speed rail themselves, I think that would be a very positive move if we were to consider integrated transport.

  Q286  Chairman: Just on the capacity point again, how much increase in capacity could be achieved by radically overhauling the signalling system? I see from my flat in London planes lining up to go into Heathrow one a minute and I can see four going in at any one moment. You cannot run trains one minute apart, I am told, on the major Intercity lines because it is too dangerous.

  Mrs Shaw: There are ways and means. London Underground has some extremely good operating practices which enable them to have the shortest possible time between trains. The signalling systems we have in place at the moment certainly do not lend themselves to shortening up the distances between trains quite in the same way as you might see with London Underground. There is a technical solution which is being developed in Europe[25] by the supply community and users at the moment called ERTMS. I would say at this point in time ERTMS is not the panacea the suppliers claim it to be for a number of quite simple reasons and it is not something which is going to be solved in the very, very short term. However, there is now an increasing level of understanding just how we might get to the situation where the ERTMS system would increase the level of capacity on the amount of track which is available, but we have some significant development at a European level to do on our train operating practice. We have to develop a deal more cooperation between the Member States and between the railway companies in those Member States to get to a point where ERTMS is affordable from the point of view of the railway undertakings as well as affordable for the infrastructure manager. We have an unfortunate situation where the individual Member States develop their own little bit of specification to go with a core of ERTMS which for an international operator like EWS, say, wanting to run across several Member States makes it a very, very expensive signalling system. Each infrastructure manager thinks, "I'm fine. I've got my signalling system, it's ERTMS. I can put a big tick in the box and smile at the Commission next time I see them." For an international operator it means you have to get an ERTMS system for Britain, and ERTMS system for France, for Luxembourg, Germany[26], and so on, and in the short term until we get that ERTMS system sorted so that it works the same way whether you are in Dover, Dublin or Milan, then that is the point at which that capacity increase will be realised.

  Q287  Chairman: To an ordinary lay person with a little bit of business background it sounds hellishly bureaucratic, what you have just said. You have got a situation where you are a train operator, you are bursting at the seams with capacity, you have got huge demand—the level of usage in your industry is at a 45 year high and more of them want to do it—why on earth are you waiting for some perishing European Commission? Why do you not say, "We've got some track here. I can double the number of customers I take on it and double my profits by getting a better signalling system"?

  Mr Lyons: I think you are exactly right, Chairman. In fact a lot of advances have been made, but at present, of course, the London Underground has the advantage that trains travel between stations relatively slowly so their distance for stopping is not that great. On the national railways, for example at Waterloo, you have got much longer trains, much heavier, so the distances between trains have got to be greater. They cannot follow nose to tail because it is positively dangerous. One immediate advance which has been made has been the introduction of what are called the Integrated Control Centres, and Waterloo was one of the first ones, where the Network Rail and the train operating staff work in the same room to the same set of priorities, but most importantly they have now got some very clever software which not only shows you where every single train is on the system but a huge amount of additional information and of course because it is in the machine you can sort out train paths much, much better than you can doing it manually from a signal box. That is stage one. The next stage, you are exactly right, the Holy Grail of train operation must be what is called a moving block where each train has its own protected area and responds to every other train around it, making sure it does not come too close to danger. The problem has been that we made the decision to go for a Europe-wide standard some 15 years ago now and progress has been disappointing and costs are clearly far too high. I think it is the duty of all those who have the interests of railways at heart to be pressing the Commission and the European Railway Agency to move on from where we are now, because clearly we are not moving fast enough. Clearly signalling is one of the most expensive elements of railway operation and, of course, it is one of its critical points too because clearly if it fails the system comes to a halt.

  Mrs Shaw: Perhaps I can add a little more to that. The rate of progress on ERTMS particularly has improved significantly in the last two or three years. The European railway industry is learning much, much better now how to get on and create a system across Europe which we can all agree to and work with. The establishment of the European Railway Agency from that point of view is a very positive thing and we have a great deal of confidence in the individuals and the structure of the European Railway Agency to actually deliver something like ERTMS in a much more controlled fashion which we know we can all afford and which will technically deliver what we want it to.

  Q288  Chairman: I will not pursue it too long, but I am mystified why someone who is running a commuter train into Waterloo from Basingstoke needs to have a Europe-wide system. The only train which ever goes from this country to another one is the Eurostar. The requirements for Continental countries are fundamentally different. Who was the lunatic who signed up for this European deal in the first place? Probably the last Conservative Transport Secretary!

  Mrs Shaw: It is quite simple. The supply market is not Britain, it is not Germany, it is not France, it is Europe now. We have a limited number of supply companies. They all serve the whole of Europe, and in fact the Chinese are very interested in ERTMS because they think that is the way they are going to buy their signalling in the future.

  Mr Lyons: Any software-based system benefits from being an international standard. The worst thing would be to have Britain with its own train control software, and Germany and France on different standards, and so on and so forth. We do not do it with mobile phones and we do not do it with motor cars, and I do think that if we can try and get a global standard for railway control it would be for the benefit of the industry and it would help bring costs down.

  Chairman: It appears to me that both the mobile phone industry and the motor car industry are rather better at responding to increases in demand.

  Q289  Mr Stuart: Getting positive, in your memo you describe an ambitious scenario to rail growth with a number of expansions and improvements to the railway network by 2020, all accompanied by national road pricing. Have you estimated the carbon reductions in such a scenario and does the Department agree with your assessment, because I think in some of the earlier questions we were trying to tease out your assessment of the benefits from the move?

  Mr Lyons: I think on a very broad rule of thumb, and academics will argue around and around this thing, but in general terms if you can shift something onto rail you should be looking at having a carbon imprint of about 10% of the equivalent road traffic. There are going to be variations. Comparing a lightly loaded train and a Toyota Prius, the Toyota is going to look more attractive, but certainly a well-loaded train or a long freight train is very efficient. It has a minimal carbon imprint. So basically you can be into millions of tonnes if you get this shift, but of course the driver is also the broader sustainable development agenda. Clearly a transfer from rail brings other benefits besides emissions; it clearly has social inclusion issues attached to it and it certainly has economic growth and regeneration ones as well, and it is on the latter that the case for railway expansion is principally being made at this stage.

  Q290  Mr Stuart: So the Department and yourself basically see the contribution to the carbon issue in particular in precisely the same way?

  Mr Lyons: No, because to be open and honest with you, at this stage there are no sustainable development targets for rail. It is clear that any modal shift brings significant environmental benefits with it, but they have not been the principal drivers for looking at modal shift. So it has not been the issue which has discussed mostly between the railway industry and the Government at this stage.

  Q291  Mr Stuart: I am very glad that you are both here today so that this can be highlighted, because I think the Members of this Committee will be slightly stunned at that. David Begg, who has recently written that the success of the Government's entire transport policy actually depends on railways driving down their costs. How are you responding to that particular agenda, and can you do so in a way which will also drive down carbon emissions?

  Mr Lyons: Yes, because a good sustainable development policy is an efficient transport one as well by definition. Of course, on costs, we are coming off that extremely high level of costs which occurred after Hatfield 2000. Network Rail's Business Plan is actually working well. It is actually coming in well under budget, which is almost a matter of concern in some quarters, but it clearly does represent a rapidly gaining pace of efficiency. There is clearly going to be an even tougher regime for the next Control Period (as it is called) for Network Rail, which is 2009 onwards. That is being negotiated now, so that is going in the right direction. We are also seeing, of course, with most franchises being re-let, they are either having to pay a premium—which we would argue in sustainable development terms is a somewhat odd thing to be doing, but it clearly is because the industry is being run much more efficiently and the operators can clearly see where they can grow the market profitably, and the Government benefits from that. Then finally, of course, there is the whole set of proposals to move on the industry and to expand capacity as economically as possible. The more you can get longer trains running more efficiently with more passengers on board, costs come down as well. So there is a whole package of measures and everything looks as though costs are coming under control. The longer term problem, though, is where do we go over the next 10, 15, 20 years?

  Q292  Mr Stuart: Can I follow up on that? You mentioned the premium in terms of the carbon emissions debate and you have just expressed some doubts about the premium. Do you think the current situation means that services which could possibly be expanded, subject to capacity constraints, and with lower prices might attract more passengers, are basically not doing that because they are subsidising other services which would not have the same carbon impact?

  Mr Lyons: I think what we have got to ask ourselves are some pretty fundamental questions about how transport pricing is managed. Clearly, it has been a priority of the Treasury and the Department for Transport to bring down the costs of the industry, and the industry would support that, and one of the mechanisms of that is letting out franchises so that we get into a situation where operators will pay a premium for the licence to operate. One could argue that that premium being paid by passengers should see its way back onto the railway to further enhance the business and to add overall to a positive sustainable development outcome. At present we do not see that. At present the premiums are seen, I think by the Treasury and the Department for Transport, as an offset for the money they are paying Network Rail in grant. I would like to see a much more logical strategy where those modes of transport which are sustainable-friendly are given real incentives to further expand and increase their business and not, if you like, run to a reasonably tightly constrained franchise.

  Q293  David Howarth: Can I just come back to the question of your interaction with the Department, because what you said was extremely surprising. You go to talk to the Department and the discussions are about economic development and social inclusion but not about climate change and carbon. The Department officially shares the climate change public service agreement with other departments. Can I just ask you how the discussions go. Is it that you try to raise the environmental advantages of rail and they say, "We're not interested in that," or is it that you just react to what they are interested in, so you do not try to raise it yourself, but they never raise it with you? In other words, have you tried to raise it with them and been rebuffed, or is it that they never raised it?

  Mr Lyons: I will answer the generic one. Of course, we raise sustainable development. The Railway Forum, has been talking to the Department for four or five years about it now, as long as I can remember. I have to say that the priorities in the rail area of the Department have been very firmly focused on cost and performance. On the issue of environmental impact, because it has always been perceived that rail is by far the most environmentally beneficial of powered transport modes this has not been seen as the priority which those involved in rail in the Department have necessarily addressed. We have been saying they should, because we think the pay-off would be very significant if they did, and we were very pleased that the Secretary of State in his talk to the National Rail Conference on 15 March mentioned a sustainable development publically agenda for rail for the first time. We have never seen that before and we were grateful. I think it is because of interaction between the industry and the Department that this has got onto the agenda as an important issue to be addressed.

  Mrs Shaw: Yes, I would say it has made a very pleasant change. A number of the TOCs and the owning groups have taken their environmental and sustainable development responsibilities very seriously. If one were to check the National Express Group or the First Group on sustainable development, you would see that this is something they treat with a significant degree of seriousness. It has been a very, very pleasant turnaround to have people like Mark Lambirth and Clive Burrows take the agenda quite as seriously as they have and they are now pressing us for things that we can do under the sustainable development agenda which they can build into the strategy, having had a chance to sit back and review it in the wider transport policy.

  Q294  Ms Barlow: The number of rail passengers has gone up sharply in recent years.

  Mrs Shaw: Yes[27].

  Q295  Ms Barlow: How close are we, particularly in the South East, to overloading the network? How much scope is there for moving from car to rail and how much investment would it take to make a really significant shift?

  Mrs Shaw: Outside of the peaks, we are nowhere near capacity. If you want to travel in the peak hours, then we are very, very close to capacity already and in some places we are probably in excess of capacity, theoretical capacity I should say. We could alleviate capacity in the short-term with a number of very small-scale investments to relieve various pinch points, either at stations or junctions of various kinds, and we are not talking vast amounts of investment. To make a step change would take a significant project; something of the like of the Kent domestic trains running on the high-speed rail link will constitute a very significant increase in capacity for certain parts of Kent and the Thames expansion area, but that has been achieved at a significant cost: the building of the CTRL. The Eurostar on CTRL itself has achieved a huge increase in capacity and has grabbed an enormous share of the market between the three capitals and demonstrates very nicely what a well-thought out, well-run and well-resourced train service can do. I believe that the integrated Kent franchise with the new trains running on the CTRL will represent a big change in the amount of capacity, particularly from Ashford into the north of London rather than Ashford into the south of London. It is difficult to give you a precise indication of just how close to capacity we are because there are particular points where we are at capacity or over and above, but either side of that there is some scope. So if we could do something about those particular pinch points, then clearly more capacity would be available. Conversely, if we were to look at a different kind of step change we could make some trains longer. That would require investment at junctions and stations. Double-deck has been raised. That would be a very, very long term thing to do and would probably require investment in new lines, I would say, rather than developing the existing lines. One of the projects we have had ongoing for some time has revealed just how much of a challenge building a double-deck service would be and it would take some significant philosophical changes in terms of operating practice. It would require some separate platforms at stations and that sort of thing. So in the shorter term longer trains is probably a better bet, and we can do that on some routes already.

  Q296  David Howarth: Can you just explain that a bit further, because you see double-decker trains in Holland and the RER in Paris is double-decker. Can you just be a bit more precise about what the changes needed are?

  Mrs Shaw: It is quite simple. We built our railway before everybody else did and did not realise just how much of an advantage it would be to have extra space. It is like the difference between, say, sitting in an Austin A40 and the present BMW 5 series. It is just that much extra space in strategic places which gives you sufficient room to actually put all the seats at a low level and high level and still have all the additional equipment you need for lighting, braking systems, air conditioning, and so on. We have a project in place to make the existing high-speed routes work with longer coaches and slightly wider coaches which will give us a single digit increase in seat capacity for the Intercity routes, and that seems to represent a far better cost benefit than having to spend a lot of money moving structures, moving tracks further apart from each other just to get enough room for two trains to pass each other at all points. We know that enlargement for double-deck trains would help with high capacity container trains and in some places some investment has taken place, such as Ipswich tunnel, on the route through from Felixstowe to Nuneaton to allow that to happen, but even if you do that for 9ft 6in containers, which are the highest present boxes, you still do not create enough space for double-deck trains[28].

  Q297  Ms Barlow: To continue with capacity, the Government is considering the possibility of national road user charging. How much linkage is there between the Government's policy for road and the policy for rail? Are they taking fully into account the need to increase capacity for public transport if they should bring this in?

  Mr Lyons: The answer is that there is no direct linkage at this point because clearly the form that national road user charging will take is not yet entirely known. It is quite clear that the levers you get when you have a national road charging scheme can be pulled in all sorts of directions and have all sorts of outcomes. At present it is quite clear that if there were a national road user charging scheme which was to significantly discourage motorists, particularly in built-up areas, and encourage them to move to other forms of transport—because the studies show that by and large people will look for other ways of travel even though you will discourage a certain amount of travel—public transport systems in Britain would quickly find themselves in many cases completely overwhelmed. This brings us to the big argument that if you are to move to a national road charging system, how are you to introduce it, what outcomes are you going to see, what modal shift are you going to get, and how are you going to cope with it? We have not really got to that debate at all yet. There is no sense of that. This is because we lack a really overarching transport strategy which has addressed all these issues in a way that can be successfully managed.

  Q298  Mr Hurd: Just to follow up on that point, I think the Government is in conversation with something like 32 local authorities about setting up road charging pilot schemes, and I think their hope is that it can be tested on an inter-urban basis. To what degree is the rail industry involved in those conversations and those discussions?

  Mr Lyons: On the edges of it, to be honest, at this stage because most of the local authority road charging schemes are at a relatively early stage of development as well. Where, of course, they are principally taking place, or many of them, is in the Passenger Transport Executive area and by and large already the PTs have a well-integrated view of public transport and they can manage the business. The trouble is, of course, that even quite a tight local scheme has significant impacts outside its own area and this, I think, is the problem you meet with trying to do these schemes piecemeal unless you have got a really good overarching view of where you want to end up, and I think at this stage, quite frankly, we have not got it. I think the reasons are self-evident. I think there are some major technology issues which have got to be addressed. I think there has to be some major public policy issues which clearly have to be addressed ranging from privacy and security to what sorts of towns and cities we are actually trying to build, and until that is really explored I think to some extent the railway industry is just warning that if there is to be a major shift to this form of road control we have got to be involved and it has got to be done in a way whereby if change is made, public transport does not let the system down.

  Q299  Joan Walley: Could I just follow that up and just ask what the mechanism is for you to be involved in that strategic way in that overarching policy, because there are whole swathes of the country where there are no PTAs and where there is not that kind of joint mechanism at a local level which could connect the whole thing up?

  Mr Lyons: Obviously the way you would see it the link into the railway industry would be through DfT and the department's Rail Group there would have to be the conduit. Clearly, the other two major players would be Network Rail, because it has custodianship of the network but of course in the case of London, Scotland and elsewhere would have to take other issues into account, and of course the Association of Train Operating Companies plus the freight operators. So there are quite a number of people involved.

23   Footnote inserted by witness 10.05.06: The rail industry has some research underway to identify ways in which we can improve our use of fuel, both electric and diesel for traction purposes. Back

24   Footnote inserted by witness 10.05.06: Schemes such as "PlusBus" operate from a number of stations across the country to serve destinations and extend the reach of rail to the benefit of the passenger e.g. Peterborough to Kings Lynn, where there is a rail connection possible, but indirectly, or Kettering to Corby which does not have a passenger connection. Plusbus tickets are sold as part of the rail journey by the TOCs. Back

25   Footnote inserted by witness 10.05.06: The European Commission is strongly supportive of the development of ERTMS, but is not directly involved in its development at a technical level. Back

26   Footnote inserted by witness 10.05.06: It should be noted that ERTMS even before it is fully developed will be a significant improvement over the present situation for signalling systems for international/operators due to commonality of some components. Back

27   Footnote inserted by witness 10.05.06: 40% growth since privatisation started. We have the fastest growing railway in Europe, and are now second only to Germany in passenger numbers. Back

28   Footnote inserted by witness 10.05.06: The space constraints for double-deck trains have been found to exist at the low areas, not the upper levels. Typically, structures that would be the most expensive to mitigate are at platform height or below. Back

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