Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 9940 - 9959)

  9940. But it is a tangible example of the use of a CCM, is it not?
  (Mr Smith) As I said to Mr Elvin, I am not an expert on the CCM so I would not like to comment.

  9941. BARONESS FOOKES: Mr Smith, would I be right in thinking that, despite the very compelling arguments put forward by Mr Elvin, you are not wholly convinced?
  (Mr Smith) It is very difficult not to be convinced by Mr Elvin.

  9942. CHAIRMAN: Indeed.

  9943. MR ELVIN: I have certificates for that!

  9944. LORD SNAPE: It can be part of your next advertising campaign!
  (Mr Smith) But I do have a sneaking doubt that Mr Elvin is relying on an administrative mechanism. It is a bit of a case of "trust us", "trust us that in ten years' time it is all going to be okay", yet as we saw yesterday morning with the debate over the central section, as we found out today about the submissions about, "We don't want to include all the freight paths in the objective test, do we?", which was the debate at yesterday afternoon's Crossrail Timetable Reference Group --- Mr Elvin comes over as a straight, honest and direct individual but, sadly, Mr Elvin is not in the Reference Group and will not necessarily be involved in the objective test. I am a bit worried.

  9945. BARONESS FOOKES: From your point of view, what is the bottom line? We had this long list of works undertakings, some are more key than others, so what would you wish us to come to a conclusion on?
  (Mr Smith) There were originally 24 works; we do not want 24. We have asked for six, one of which the Promoter has already committed to do, so it is just the other five, which are those quite simple pieces of siding or loops or platform faces, or the loop at West Ealing. Those five, we believe, are the key ones to make the Great Western Main Line, which is our primary interest, operate flexibly for the benefit of all users when Crossrail starts.

  9946. And on which you would like an undertaking?
  (Mr Smith) Yes, please.

  9947. BARONESS FOOKES: Thank you.

  9948. LORD YOUNG OF NORWOOD GREEN: I know we had the worst case scenario but it is highly unlikely that all those five infrastructure developments you have referred to are going to be abandoned. You are seeking certainty on those five. The Promoter's response has been, "Well, there may be circumstances which can enable us to achieve the same outputs without carrying out all the five that you have referred to". Would you agree it is a highly unlikely situation that none of those five are going to—
  (Mr Smith) I absolutely agree because they have already committed to Acton, they have virtually committed to the really big and expensive scheme at Heathrow. The four other schemes we have identified will not cost anything like the Heathrow scheme but are very beneficial. The problem I have got is the reason the Promoters do not want to commit to it is something else may turn up, but it has not turned up in three years. Crossrail employs some very experienced professional railwaymen, some of whom are sitting in the audience, who if there was a magic alternative to some of these schemes might have mentioned it by now. I really still believe that these schemes, which have been thought through and worked through, are the right ones to do and there are not other ones.

  9949. LORD SNAPE: Mr Elvin set out his views of what might happen in the future and gave us that engaging and what politicians would call the sunny uplands, that somehow this scheme will come in under budget and there will be lots of money to do other things. I paraphrase, of course.

  9950. MR ELVIN: I think your Lordship has slightly taken my point beyond its logical boundary!

  9951. LORD SNAPE: He did indicate anyway that the scheme might come in under budget, Mr Smith. Supposing it does not, and I am bound to say that is the more likely outcome. I hope I do not disillusion Mr Elvin too much by saying that the scenario he outlined does not come about, the scheme is over budget and we get only two of the six essential works, in your eyes, completed, Crossrail is introduced, there is a problem in Crossrail meeting its 92 per cent because of the infrastructure failings, then this, as you termed, administrative mechanism comes into action, presumably as it is new it will take some time but what happens to your customers in the meantime if your trains cannot get through because of the situation we are in?

   (Mr Smith) Existing customers will just use other modes and potential customers will be put off using rail. Again, as we are finding with all the disruption on the west coast this year, in an increasingly competitive transport environment customers have to have some certainty that their trains are going to get through and their goods are going to get through.

  9952. LORD JONES OF CHELTENHAM: My Lord Chairman, as we seem to be in a situation where one and a half/one and three quarters of the six infrastructure improvements have been agreed to, or are in the process of being agreed to, Mr Smith, from your earlier comment you say the other four are not going to cost anywhere near as much but do you have any idea how much they are going to cost?

  9953. MR ELVIN: I am going to provide your Lordships with the figures. I asked the self-same question, and I will get the figures hopefully by the coffee break, or just after.

  9954. LORD JONES OF CHELTENHAM: Thank you.

  9955. CHAIRMAN: Is that everything for Mr Smith?

  9956. MR GEORGE: May I re-examine? Although there have been moments when I have been wondering whether Mr Smith has been being asked questions at all.

  9957. MR ELVIN: As long as Mr George does not want to re-examine me.

  9958. MR GEORGE: I just wish I could!

Re-examined by MR GEORGE

  9959. Could we put up EWS 26?[10] There we can see, Mr Smith, all you are asking for with the identified works in the Bill. Those are your five works, and one of them is not a work in the Bill, it is something which is on the tracks that is referred to in the Environmental Statement, so that then makes up the totality of what you are acquiring by way of undertaking.

  (Mr Smith) That is correct.

10   Committee Ref: A57, Undetaking in relation to key railway infrastructure works (LINEWD-103_05A-014) Back

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