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Whether the rail service available to passengers on the West Coast Main Line at weekends is satisfactory; and whether they consider the journey times to the railhead by bus from temporarily-closed stations to be acceptable. [HL1104]
Lord Davies of Oldham: Extensive work continues to be carried out on the West Coast Main Line as part of the route modernisation project. This requires parts of the line to be closed for periods and to be replaced temporarily by road transport. Every attempt is made by the train operators to avoid periods of peak demand and to minimise the inconvenience to passengers of replacement bus services but it is inevitable that journey times will be extended when these are in operation.
Lord Davies of Oldham: The inspector's report was received on 31 January 2005. There was no target set for receipt of the inspector's report following the close of an inquiry. Under a service level agreement, the Planning Inspectorate gives the inspector three working days for each sitting day of the inquiry to write his report, plus an additional 20 days for administration purposes. But it is accepted that this process can take longer on exceptional schemes, such as this, because of the complexity of the submissions and representations made to the inspector at the inquiry.
A decision will be announced by the First Secretary of State and the Secretary of State for Transport jointly as soon as possible after careful consideration of the inspector's report. The report will be published with their decision.
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