Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress she expects to be made in (a) improving the safety of level crossings open to road traffic and (b) eliminating such crossings by over bridges within the timetable of the Network Rail Strategic Plan; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Tom Harris: Improving the safety of level crossings requires co-operation among a wide range of stakeholders. The Office of Rail Regulation, Network Rail and the Department, together with many other key players, are working to achieve this. Network Rail is running campaigns to raise level crossing safety awareness. The latest industry statistics suggest that risk at level crossings has been reduced.
Eliminating level crossings open to road traffic by providing road bridges is a matter for local highways authorities, local councils and Network Rail. There are examples of level crossings being replaced by bridges where risk to crossing users has necessitated such action. There is no timetable within the Network Rail Strategic Business Plan for eliminating level crossings by providing bridges.
Mr. Tom Harris: The Secretary of State for Transport holds regular bilateral meetings with senior executives from Network Rail to discuss issues of common interest. In the last six months four such meetings have been held.
In addition, the Secretary of State met with Iain Coucher, chief executive of Network Rail, on 3 January, to express her concern at the inconvenience caused to passengers and freight operators by Network Rail's engineering over-runs over the new year period and to seek reassurances that these would not be repeated.
Mrs. Laing: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proposals (a) she and (b) the Office of Rail Regulation has for the strengthening of the conditions of Network Rail's network licence. 
Mr. Tom Harris [holding answer 21 January 2008]: The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) began a planned review of Network Rail's network licence in 2007 with a view to giving it a more purposeful format and to ensure that it remains fit for purpose going forward. In reviewing Network Rail's licence, ORR will take into account the findings of their investigation into the recent over-running engineering works, to the extent that these are relevant.
Mrs. Laing: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what arrangements are in place for the recovery of money by Network Rail from (a) the Highways Agency, (b) local authorities, (c) statutory undertakers and (d) other persons, in relation to (i) road bridges and (ii) foot bridges which cross its network; what charges are applied; and what the basis is for those charges. 
Mr. Tom Harris [holding answer 21 January 2008]: These are operational matters for Network Rail as the owner and operator of the national rail network. The hon. Member should contact Network Rails chief executive at the following address for a response to his question.
40 Melton street
London NW1 2EE
Mrs. Laing: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proposals (a) she and (b) the Office of Rail Regulation have for the further reform of the railway network code in respect of (i) the carrying out of engineering work on the network and (ii) the liability of Network Rail to pay compensation to its train operator customers in cases of delays or unsatisfactory or late completion of works. 
Mr. Tom Harris [holding answer 21 January 2008]: The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) is currently working with the industry to review compensation arrangements for engineering works in order to introduce stronger incentives on Network Rail to manage them more effectively and efficiently. In the light of the findings of its investigation into the recent engineering overruns, ORR will consider whether any further changes may be needed to the network code in respect of engineering works or the arrangements for paying compensation.
Mrs. Laing: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether (a) she and (b) the Office of Rail Regulation has any plans to require Network Rail to extend the timetable for the completion of the West Coast route modernisation. 
Mr. Tom Harris [holding answer 21 January 2008]: The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) is investigating whether Network Rail is in breach of its network licence following the engineering overruns at Rugby and Liverpool Street Station.
An important part of ORRs investigation is to examine the robustness of Network Rails plans for the remaining work to enhance the West Coast Main Line. ORR will consider whether the findings of its investigation have implications for the timetable for completion of the West Coast works.
Mr. Tom Harris: The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) records accident data against the geographical location of where the accident occurs. There is no further sub division into the nature of the location e.g. station, signal box, track. Details of accidents to people at stations could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
ORR has however provided details of all fatalities and injuries occurring on the railways in Hampshire since 2002. Data for 2007 are not yet available. The information is broken down by person category and is detailed in the following tables:
|Table 1: Railway fatalities in Hampshire, 2002-06
|Other members of the public
|Table 2: Railway injuries in Hampshire, 2002-06
|Other members of the public
Mr. Tom Harris [holding answer 21 January 2008]: 46 miles of new two track high speed railway were built by London and Continental Railways for section 1 of the channel tunnel rail link completed in 2003, and a further 24 miles were built for section 2 completed in 2007. The channel tunnel rail link was constructed as a public private partnership project with a 90-year concession and is not the direct responsibility of Network Rail.
Otherwise, the amount of railway built each year is an operational matter for Network Rail, as the owner and operator of the national rail network. The hon. Member should contact Network Rail's Chief Executive at the following address for a response to his question:
40 Melton Street
Mr. Tom Harris: The Department does not assess the compliance of railway stations with Part 3 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. Station operators are required to take reasonable steps to ensure that disabled people do not find it impossible or unreasonably difficult to access their services. Operators are responding to these duties, but where a disabled person believes that they have been discriminated against contrary to Part 3 they can bring a claim against the operator.
Stephen Hesford: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the effect of recent rail fare increases; and what recent discussions she has had with ministerial colleagues on developing a rail fares policy which takes into account more fully the interests of passengers and the environment. 
Mr. Tom Harris: In the absence of specific grounds for doing so, the Department has made no formal assessment of the recent increases in unregulated fares. However, we keep unregulated fares under review.
This Government want to encourage people to make more informed choices about how and when they travel. As part of our strategy to give people an alternative to travelling by car and meet our environmental obligations on CO2 emissions, we are putting record investment in public transport. The Government are investing £88 million in the railway each week and with over one billion passenger journeys last year, we now have the fastest growing railway in Europe.
Gravesend to London Terminals standard day single, standard day return and season tickets.
|Journey time in minutes