Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 10240 - 10259)

  10240. MR ELVIN: We will have them typed up then at least they can be legible to all.
  (Mr Berryman) Can I make the point, my Lord, that these are first quarter 2007 prices, they are not the out-turn costs.

  10241. CHAIRMAN: No, it says so.

  10242. MR ELVIN: The final question I have is in relation to Acton. Why was Acton included as a commitment whereas the others have not been?
  (Mr Berryman) I think the operation of the Acton Yard and the way that works has been a long-standing problem for the railway industry. You cannot move Acton Yard to somewhere else, it is a big facility, it has to stay where it is. There really is not any alternative in that particular location that is conceivable which would get rid of the conflicting movements that occur there. They occur there now. They will be made worse when Crossrail is built if we did not do that dive-under. The reason for agreeing to give an undertaking to do that is there really is no alternative on that particular one.

  10243. LORD SNAPE: How many movements are we talking about in and out of the yard then?
  (Mr Berryman) A substantial number, my Lord, it would be 30 or so a day at least. Each movement occupies about five or six minutes, so it is quite a big determinant of the performance of the Great Western now.

  10244. CHAIRMAN: They are long trains, are they not?
  (Mr Berryman) Some of them are very long trains, my Lord, some of them are the longest trains on the UK network.

  10245. LORD BROOKE OF ALVERTHORPE: As well as the interest of the Rail Freight Group and EWS, I expect the train operating companies would also have a very significant interest in this as we have already had a number of representations and certainly in the Second Reading there was a great deal of anxiety expressed about whether or not the fast trains coming from South Wales in the West Country would suffer interference when the Crossrail work got underway. Can we be assured that they will have sight of this information?
  (Mr Berryman) My Lord, that is a slightly different issue. As you know, the Crossrail trains to south Wales and the West Country use the fast lines through this area.

  10246. MR ELVIN: I do not think you mean Crossrail, Mr Berryman.
  (Mr Berryman) I am sorry. The express trains which go down to south Wales and the West Country, we use the fast pair of lines. None of these works is on the fast lines, so their position, with the exception of some works which need to be done to make connections here and there, is absolutely unchanged from that which exists now.

  10247. LORD BROOKE OF ALVERTHORPE: So why the fears?
  (Mr Berryman) The fears from the West Country people?

  10248. Yes and from south Wales. A lot of people have been lobbied.
  (Mr Berryman) My Lords, I am sure they have. I have even been down there myself to try and explain to the regional assembly that there really is nothing to worry about. The problem is a bit more fundamental. The train service down to that part of the world at the moment and in the last few months and in the last few years even has been what we call rubbish, I think that is the technical term for it. People have a natural fear that anything which interferes with what is already a rubbish service can only make it worse. My answer to that is, yes, the service is very poor and it needs to be improved, but those improvements are independent and irrespective of the Crossrail works.

  10249. So their fears are groundless?
  (Mr Berryman) Their fears are groundless.

  10250. MR ELVIN: If I can run with this point, the majority of those who have petitioned on those issue have withdrawn their Petitions?
  (Mr Berryman) They have, that is correct, yes.

  10251. And in terms of the issue that the freight lobby raises, which is the question of infrastructure works being required additional to the directions made by the ORR, have the passenger TOCs made any similar representation?
  (Mr Berryman) The answer to your question is no. The passenger TOCs are in a rather different position because most of their franchises will expire before the Crossrail service comes into operation. I would not like to speak for them, of course, but they are probably less exercised by this issue than the freight operators.

  10252. MR ELVIN: And the bottom line figure should be 455, not 445. Thank you.

  10253. MR GEORGE: Mr Berryman, going back to where I started, so far as this figure, which I understand is no longer 445 but 455, the 140 is already committed in the sense that you have undertaken to construct the Acton dive-under. That is right, is it not?
  (Mr Berryman) That is correct, yes.

  10254. And so far as the 170, that is the work which you have said, I think, elsewhere that it really is inevitable that something is going to have to be done in that particular location within the limits of deviation of that particular work?
  (Mr Berryman) Yes. That, of course, is subject to an agreement with Heathrow Airport Limited that we can run trains on to their network. Obviously commercial discussions with them are still going on, and the commitment to do that work would only be made if those discussions are fruitful and agreement can be reached to run the trains down there.

  10255. When I was cross-examining you a week ago, Day 21/8192, I asked you a question: "There is no evidence that the scheme could be achieved without these key freight infrastructure works" and you replied to me: "Yes, you are absolutely right, there is no evidence that that could be achieved without doing the works which you have outlined". Those were the works which I put to you. That was your answer then and I do not understand you now to be going away from that answer.
  (Mr Berryman) No. The situation that you have just described is exactly as it is.

  10256. Can I just look for a moment at Hanwell, where you say that the waste tip may be becoming full and, therefore, that work might not be needed. When you yourself were giving evidence in relation to this matter, Day 21/8102, you said that there were two kinds of trains, stone trains and rubbish trains, and so far as those particular stone trains are concerned, we can see no reason why they will not be continuing. There are two sets of trains, one from Days, one from Yeomans; they are trains which cross the lines and which will benefit from those particular works. Do you know anything to suggest that that flow of stone trains will not continue?
  (Mr Berryman) No, there is nothing at all to suggest that, but the way those trains operate at present is the stone train comes from the West Country into Acton Yard, it is then broken at Acton Yard and part of the train goes back down to serve the terminals that you have mentioned, and if that mode of operation continues then those movements will continue. But there is another alternative in that the stone trains could come in directly from the west. I am not suggesting they will. I really want to go back to the point you made a few moments ago, Mr George, which is that at the moment, as things stand now, it is our full expectation that these works will be required to operate the railway, and that is what we expect to be building, but the point is there could be changes in operating patterns and there could be changes in freight flows which may affect the necessity for some of these items.

  10257. Now, let's look at the rubbish trains, because so far as they are concerned they take rubbish from the Brentford area, do they not, and at present they are taking it to Calvert in Buckinghamshire, and when that particular location becomes full the rubbish will still be coming from Brentford, because it is Brentford area rubbish, down on to this line and it may eventually have a different destination, but it will still be rubbish which is causing the conflict with other trains and which is going to require the works which have been identified which are the Hanwell Bridge sidings.
  (Mr Berryman) If the rubbish trains continue to go up the line as you described up to Buckinghamshire or somewhere similar, then, of course, this siding will be required. I understand the Calvert tip is almost full, and whilst I understand there is a high probability that another tip nearby will be opened up, it is not certain they need to get planning consent for that. So I will say it again, as things stand at the moment we would envisage having to do all of these works, and I do not think we have ever strayed from that suggestion in the course of these proceedings.

  10258. As long as we are quite clear on that. It is all a bit like the Greenford tram which you introduced. It seems to me, the suggestions for this rubbish that "might" not be there, or there "might" be a Greenford tram—they are really spectres of a most improbable sort.
  (Mr Berryman) I could not agree more with you, Mr George, they are improbable, but improbable things do occasionally happen and all I am saying is that, if one of those improbable things happened, we would not wish to be tied to doing a particular piece of infrastructure which was described to solve a particular problem which no longer exists.

  10259. Can we now turn to timing? When Network Rail were here yesterday morning there were certain matters which were not yet resolved about infrastructure management, but it was agreed they would have to be resolved very soon, as I understood it by the end of this year, because you could not achieve the finalisation of the funding arrangements of the contract until those matters had been resolved. Is my understanding on that correct?
  (Mr Berryman) Yes.

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