Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 10280 - 10299)

  10280. And I think we have established in the last few days that the ORR could still change the basis of his determination by assuming other infrastructure, more or less, and the resulting new timetable, but I think would you agree that if he did that he would have to start his consultation process from scratch and it would be a long-winded process?

  10281. MR ELVIN: Lord Berkeley ought to remember that, as we established before lunch, that can only be done with the agreement of the industry or the independent position of the ORR.

  10282. LORD BERKELEY: I entirely agree.
  (Mr Berryman) I was going to say exactly the same.

  10283. LORD BERKELEY: Can I invite you to look at the hypothetical situation where, for some reason, the ORR suggested or assumed—"assumed" is a better word—that an extra piece of infrastructure was required as part of his determination for which you did not have planning permission?
  (Mr Berryman) Yes. That is conceivable.

  10284. And the ORR, by saying that, would not give you permission to build that works, would it?
  (Mr Berryman) No, that is correct.

  10285. So you would have to go for either a change to this Bill, which I would hate us even to suggest, Lord Chairman, or the Transport and Works Act or preferably not do it and think of a different way out?
  (Mr Berryman) There are three possible solutions that I can think of off the top of my head. One is to use the permitted development rights of Network Rail, because obviously they would be a party to this as the infrastructure manager and, as you are aware, they have fairly extensive rights to do things to their network and to be given deemed planning consent to do that; the second is a Transport and Works Order; and the third is some rearrangement of the services or proposed services that are being called for.

  10286. I accept that and that is fine. What I would, therefore, like to ask you is why you and the Promoters are seeking to suggest to the Committee that a request for the Committee to require the Promoters to construct certain works somehow invalidates the Petitioners' wish to see industry processes followed?

  10287. MR ELVIN: Mr Berryman, just wait a moment. I do not think that is a question; that is a submission, and I am going to deal with that by legal submission. Mr Berryman is giving engineering evidence.

  10288. LORD BERKELEY: Can I now move on to the question of timetabling, please? When you were cross-examined by Mr George on Tuesday at paragraph 8190 you confirmed that no timetabling work had been done to see the effect of adding Crossrail trains to the existing network without additional works being undertaken, and there is no evidence, and this is to do with a PPM of 92 per cent or whatever, that this could be achieved without doing the works which you have outlined, is that correct?
  (Mr Berryman) That is absolutely correct, and I could go a bit further than that and say some works would be definitely required to achieve that level of reliability.

  10289. Is the Promoter committed to accepting the ORR decision, because I understand at a timetabling meeting yesterday that your people who were there said that they would wish to continue with the eight trains an hour offpeak rather than the six that the ORR put in his determination? What is the process, going forward?
  (Mr Berryman) We would be still interested in running the eight trains per hour offpeak, but the Regulator has made it quite clear that if we do that we have to compete with other potential users of those paths to do so at the time, so this is not something that would be happening now. However, the modelling that we are doing is still including those eight paths because we are obviously anxious, if we can, still to have them.

  10290. Would it not be reasonable also to do a model round with six offpeak trains an hour, as the ORR has put in his determination?
  (Mr Berryman) Indeed it would, although you will recall that the ORR's determination also suggested that we should continue to model with eight trains an hour.

  10291. Yes, but that was not an exclusive suggestion.
  (Mr Berryman) No. Quite so.

  10292. Looking at other things in the model, you have heard evidence from Network Rail yesterday and there is still debate going on as to who should be the infrastructure manager in the tunnel. What is your view of the problems that might happen with the timetable if there were a different infrastructure manager in the tunnel --

  10293. MR ELVIN: We are going off Petition now, I am afraid, my Lords. This is just opportunistic questioning by Lord Berkeley because Network Rail made some points yesterday. This is not a part of RFG's Petition. It certainly was not part of the case presented two days ago.

  10294. LORD BERKELEY: I thought I mentioned it.

  10295. CHAIRMAN: Lord Berkeley, we may be interested in this, but not in this context.

  10296. LORD BERKELEY: Thank you, Lord Chairman. Can I raise one or two other issues which would have to be taken into account in raising the PPM from 72 to 92. You stated two days ago that you felt that the 92 per cent measure, the PPM method of measurement, was not necessarily appropriate for Crossrail. What did you mean exactly?
  (Mr Berryman) Well, the PPM measurement is actually based on a train which arrives at a destination and it depends on the lateness of the train when it arrives, so a suburban train which is up to five minutes late is classed as being on time and a long-distance train which arrives within ten minutes of its book time is regarded as being on time. When we talk about the 92 per cent, what we mean is that 92 per cent of trains are arriving on time. Now, the difficulty with Crossrail is that it actually links two networks together, it links the Great Eastern and the Great Western, and the train does not run into London and terminate as happens with most normal train services, but it goes on through London, comes out the other side and uses the tracks on the other side of London, so it is not necessarily the best way of measuring the kind of timetable performance that we need for that kind of service. It is the only measure at the moment which exists, but my colleagues are looking again to see if there is a better, more appropriate measure for us. I would have thought that one of the things which we are interested in is the accuracy of presentation at the tunnel mouth because we need to run a very high-frequency service through the tunnel. We need to make sure that the trains actually arrive at the tunnel mouth on time rather than what time they arrive at their final destination because, to some extent, once the train comes out of the tunnel at the other end, it does not really matter how well it keeps to time or it is less crucial how well it keeps to time.

  10297. So would it be unfair to suggest that, because the ORR has specified not only the 92 minimum but also the methodology by which that is to be achieved, then, if you do not like it, you are going to try and rewrite the rules?
  (Mr Berryman) For one thing, we would not be allowed to rewrite the rules. I do not think the ORR works that way, though it would be lovely if they did! I think you perhaps can understand the point I am trying to make, that, although the PPM is the industry standard and is the only method we have got at the moment, we would seek to improve on it rather than making it less—

  10298. Finally, Mr Berryman, several members of the Committee have asked about how you are going to achieve this change from 72 per cent performance on the Great Western at the moment to 92 in the future by adding more trains, hopefully by adding the infrastructure, by seeing the installation by Network Rail of a completely untried and untested signalling system called ERTMS. How are you going to achieve this?
  (Mr Berryman) Well, it is my fervent hope that we do not have any untried and untested systems anywhere on the railway and certainly, if decisions are left to us and not imposed on us by outside parties—

  10299. I am sorry, Mr Berryman, but can I just stop you there. Network Rail have said in public that they are committed to introducing this signalling system around Slough anyway because the existing system does not work anymore, it has passed its sell-by date, so to speak.
  (Mr Berryman) It certainly has. I would not like to speak for Network Rail, but my understanding is that they are currently trialling this system in Wales on the Cambrian line.

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