Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 9120 - 9139)

  9120. I have not discovered anybody whose it is yet! I suppose what I am trying to get a view from you on is that the timetabling work has been going on for how long?

   (Mr Garratt) Seven years in a sense.

  9121. Seven years?

   (Mr Garratt) Yes.

  9122. Crossrail is supposed to open in nine or ten years' time?

   (Mr Garratt) Yes, nine years.

  9123. Given all the discussion that has taken place, and I know you were not here this morning, but since you have arrived, on access options and whether more modelling is required before a decision is made about building extra loops and everything, what is your view on the whole timescale? If it has taken seven years to get to this timetable already, how much more timetabling can be done before the decision is required whether or not to build these loops and then build them before Crossrail opens?

   (Mr Garratt) Well, I think that one should lose patience at some point.

  9124. Should or should not?

   (Mr Garratt) Should lose patience. My concern, and I have several concerns here, but particularly it is in terms of providing the freight industry with certainty. I agree with much of what has been said this afternoon in fact by both sides, that clearly some rail enhancements, or, in my view, all of them, will be required in order to provide the functionality that is required to meet those requirements up on the screen. The difficulty is the uncertainty of not knowing that they are going to proceed, because first of all it creates investment uncertainty for operators like Freightliner; it creates uncertainty for terminal operators and future terminal operators because the freight growth that we are talking about here, which most commentators have signed up to, so to speak, require not just operator investment but terminal operator investment. To not know whether various key pieces of infrastructure are going in which particularly affect terminals, I think, is really worrying. It is how to create inertia in the rail freight industry.

  9125. That was a useful opinion. Could you take us through the next group of three slides, which should be coloured maps and explain to the Committee what they mean?
  (Mr Garratt) I hope the titles are reasonably self-evident.[43] They are, in a sense, for the record, to summarise the exercise we did. These are the current freight paths in the working timetable—last year's working timetable—along the different elements of the Crossrail corridor: Great Eastern on the right-hand side, passing along the North London Line and the Barking-Gospel Oak routes and merging into the Great Western on the left-hand side.

  9126. The numbers on the line represent what?

   (Mr Garratt) The numbers on the lines represent the number of paths in 2007 in the timetable.

  9127. In each direction?

   (Mr Garratt) In the two directions, the sum of both—two plus two equals four and four is shown.

  9128. Go on to the next one.[44]

  (Mr Garratt) This is the demand. So you see a figure, for example, of 205 just to the Forest Gate junction. This reflects the demand scheduled that we handed over to Crossrail to timetable test. The final slide in this series simply shows the difference.

  9129. So 35 shows the difference.[45]

  (Mr Garratt) Yes. That is right. It shows the extra paths that are required, and just to reiterate Crossrail found that paths could be found with no extra trains and no extra infrastructure, or most of those paths, I should say, not all of them, because one of the conclusions of this exercise was that more capacity would be required in addition to this, and that takes us on to the Felixstowe-Nuneaton-type issues.

  9130. So, Mr Garratt, on to your last slide which is number 36.[46] You appear at many planning inquiries, do you not?

  (Mr Garratt) I have appeared at planning inquiries yes.

  9131. So you are probably more of an expert on that and Lindsay Durham is probably more of an expert at running trains than you. That is why you are both here. Could you explain these principles?

   (Mr Garratt) I think these are well-understood principles and we have already discussed them this afternoon. We have here a Promoter who will have an impact on other people's business and other people's activities, and it is a well-established principle that the Promoter compensates or mitigates for those measures, and we have heard Hutchison Ports explain how they have had to go through that sort of process themselves. In my view, Crossrail would have the neutral effect—indeed, they succeeded in demonstrating the neutral effect—if the rail enhancements in the Bill are all built, the North London Line and the Gospel Oak Lines are fully upgraded and have timetables compatible with the Great East main line. Just to make a point in that respect: of course, there are other things going on with the North London Line and, in a sense, we are taking it on trust that the measures taken in upgrading the North London Line in timetabling terms will be compatible with the Crossrail provisions.

  9132. Could you just explain to the Committee the importance of having an integrated timetable between one line and the next-door one?

   (Mr Garratt) Yes, certainly. We are aware that the North London Line upgrade will include resignalling which will provide, in principle, more capacity—the ability to pass more trains. However, it is, in a sense, a no-brainer that the trains leaving the Crossrail network have to be able to fit into the timescales on the North London Line—i.e. the gaps between the passenger trains have to be compatible.

  9133. There is nowhere to park the trains in between?

   (Mr Garratt) There is some provision for parking trains in between, but not that generous.

  9134. Final question then: when do you think the timetable work will be complete to give everyone confidence as to whether infrastructure should or should not be built and whether that is the stuff that we are asking for today or other infrastructure?

   (Mr Garratt) I cannot answer that question. All we can—

  9135. I am looking for your opinion.

   (Mr Garratt) My opinion is that we seem to be some way off it because the testing of the timetable clearly takes some time.

  9136. LORD BERKELEY: Thank you very much, Mr Garratt. I have finished.

  9137. CHAIRMAN: You are going to start, Mr Taylor?

  9138. MR TAYLOR: My Lord Chairman, I can do. I may finish in 15 minutes but I cannot promise that. I will do my best.

  9139. CHAIRMAN: I think you might as well start, do you not?

Cross-examined by MR TAYLOR

43   Committee Ref: A52, Current freight paths (2007) per average day-Sum of both directions (LINEWD-34_05-034) Back

44   Committee Ref: A52, Freight paths required in 2015-Per average day-Sum of both directions (LINEWD-34_05-035) Back

45   Committee Ref: A52, Extra freight paths required 2007 to 2015-Per average day-Sum of both directions (LINEWD-34_05-036) Back

46   Committee Ref: A52, Crossrail's duty to compensate for impact (LINEWD-34_05-037) Back

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