Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 10320 - 10339)

  10320. Roughly how many more than the six or seven which have been stipulated by the Petitioners does that include?
  (Mr Berryman) About half a dozen other works of one sort or another.

  10321. Would you be able to achieve the 92 per cent simply by being required, on current assumptions, to carry out these six or seven works?
  (Mr Berryman) Probably not. In fact I would go further. We definitely could not achieve the 92 per cent without doing the Maidenhead works; I am confident about that.

  10322. So in fact if we were tied down by undertakings to do these works, it still would not get us to achieve the 92 per cent and the industry would still be reliant upon the ORR's directions to achieve it?
  (Mr Berryman) Yes, that is right. On their own, these works would not achieve what the Petitioners are looking for.

  10323. I am not going to ask you any questions which Lord Berkeley put to you with regard to planning, but I am going to make some legal submissions about those, Mr Berryman; I appreciate you are not a planner. In terms of the ORR's decision, the ORR's decision with regard to the two paths that have not been allowed in the access option, they are still modelled within the assumptions. Is that right?
  (Mr Berryman) Yes, they are indeed and that is part of the ORR's decision, that we should continue to model on the basis that those additional two paths will be made available.

  10324. What does that signify in terms of modelled capacity if in fact the two additional paths cannot be reintroduced at another stage?
  (Mr Berryman) Well, that would considerably ease the capacity problems which exist in the model. On the section between Airport Junction and Maidenhead, for example, that would be reducing our number of trains by half which would have a significant impact on how well the system performed.

  10325. So to what extent could that issue impact on the need to spend tens of millions on the infrastructure works?
  (Mr Berryman) It would significantly impact on that and I think the reason that the Regulator did not give us all the paths was actually to do with the economic case primarily. What he said was that he could not see that there was a business case for four trains an hour to Maidenhead. We think there is because four trains an hour is a turn-up-and-go service where people just come along and get on the train, and we know by experience that traffic flows increase significantly when you—

  10326. LORD SNAPE: But not from the west of England? You said in an earlier exchange to myself and to Lady Fookes that there was not the traffic from the west of England or from south Wales for a western entrance into Heathrow Airport and now you are saying there is traffic for four trains an hour to Maidenhead, even though the professionals think there is not. Is there some conflict there?
  (Mr Berryman) No, I do not think there is. I would not say the professionals do not think there is, but it is just that there is no reliable model for inter-peak flows in London.

  10327. I see, but there is for traffic from the West Country going to Heathrow Airport via Paddington?
  (Mr Berryman) Well, there is, my Lord, because that traffic is not `peaky'. The set-up is that in London itself it is the peak hours which are modelled and most transport decisions are based on those peak-hour models. The inter-peak modelling is actually very sparse or indeed non-existent. Long-distance train services, Intercity train services, are actually modelled on an all-day basis, so, as you will know from your own experience, they are not as peaky as commuter traffic is and obviously we do expect that further modelling work will be needed for the inter-peak in the London area.

  10328. In my experience, Mr Berryman, and this is not aimed at you personally, senior managers of the railways can prove anything; indeed some of them have. Either they do not want to run any trains, therefore, they do not kill anybody or they run too many trains, in which case it is somebody else's fault. I am not suggesting for a moment that that is a personal remark aimed at you, but anything can be proved. If you are responsible for producing these statistics yourself, you can prove anything and railway managers have consistently done that over the years, in my experience.
  (Mr Berryman) I would not like to comment on that, my Lord.

  10329. LORD SNAPE: It was not aimed at you.

  10330. MR ELVIN: My Lord, I have no further re-examination, unless your Lordships have any further questions for Mr Berryman.

The witness withdrew

  10331. MR ELVIN: I think that means we have now concluded all the evidence on the rail industry issues, in which case I was going to do a comprehensive closing and then I imagine I will be followed in order by Lord Berkeley and Mr George.

  10332. CHAIRMAN: I would have thought that the two of them would follow you, yes.

  10333. MR ELVIN: I do have something in writing which, as Mr Berryman has reminded me three times, reached him at ten to two this morning, so it does not cover everything you have heard today, is what I mean, and it has a lot of typos due to my inability to type at one o'clock in the morning, or indeed at any time.

  10334. My Lords, the Promoter and the rail freight industry start with the following common ground. Firstly, rail freight of course is important to the economy. Secondly, Crossrail is welcomed and the rail freight industry seeks in no part to argue against it. Thirdly, it is agreed that it is necessary to balance the various competing interests seeking to use the rail infrastructure, being passenger, freight and Crossrail as a new passenger service. Fourthly, it is agreed that the appropriate means to do so is via the normal regulatory processes for the rail industry, including the access regime under the independent supervision of the ORR in the Railways Act 1993 and, as indeed was said by Lord Berkeley on Tuesday, they wish to ensure that "Crossrail will comply fully with industry processes which have been developed over more than the last 12 years, and they are accepted by the industry as being fair and transparent". Fifthly, it is agreed that the process and decision reached by the ORR on 14 April was fair, transparent and independent and it weighed the representations, evidence and interests of a wider sector of the rail industry than are represented by the Petitioners this week. As Lord Berkeley put it on Tuesday, "The ORR consulted fully and the Petitioners I represent have welcomed the final decision as being fair and reasonable and in line with its duties under section 4 of the 1993 Railways Act, as amended, `to promote the use of the railway for the carriage of passengers and goods, and the development of that railway network to the greatest extent that it considers economically practicable'". Ms Durham, for Freightliner, also on Tuesday, said that, "Freightliner fully supports the Regulator's decision on the access option. We make it absolutely clear we do not want any amendments to that, and it is right that the independent Rail Regulator made that decision", and she said that unprompted by me in her evidence-in-chief.

  10335. CHAIRMAN: So I should think.

  10336. MR ELVIN: EWS wrote to the Regulator on 17 March 2008, indicating that it "understands the ORR's proposals to condition the use of the rights on achieving certain outputs". As your Lordships know, the ORR has wide powers to direct the final terms of the access option under paragraph 5 of Schedule 4 to the Act which I have set out for convenience in the note. That power would enable the Regulator to direct that the access option should be dependent on the carrying out of infrastructure enhancement works in order to maintain capacity or offset loss of capacity, which might give rise to the new access option.

  10337. The ORR, having received evidence and representations, and conducted a hearing with DfT, Network Rail and industry representatives on 1 February—and you have the exhibits of the transcript of that hearing—issued initially a provisional decision and then a final decision which made it clear that the ORR had considered whether to require certain works to be carried out. You can see the discussion in the transcript and you have seen some of it when I cross-examined earlier today. It was decided not to require those works but to specify an objective test which focused on outputs and an objective means to ensure that capacity was maintained, including taking account of future freight growth to 2015.

  10338. Although some time was taken by witnesses to explain the need for growth, it was agreed that freight growth was one of the factors which had been accepted at the ORR hearing and was already included in the objective test. Failure to meet the requirements of the ORR's directions will prevent Crossrail having access to the network and may lead to its access rights being lost. This is a serious incentive for a £16 billion project.

  10339. The freight industry, although further representations were made on the terms of the provisional decision, welcomed the approach of the ORR. I just go through the same points that are common ground: (1) Accepted freight growth; (2) Imposed an objective test; (3) Imposed importantly a change control mechanism which ensures that any conflicts with any other existing users of the network which are protected by the decision are resolved in favour of the existing users. If those matters are now resolved, as I made clear to your Lordships this morning, Crossrail will lose paths. I set out the reference to the decision. It proceeds on the basis that infrastructure improvements would be needed but did not require specific works to be carried out as part of the access option.

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