asked the Secretary of State for Transport what progress he has made with the review he has undertaken to conduct jointly with British Railways on main-line electrification; and if he will make a statement.
In the Government's reply to the report on British Rail by the Select Committee on Nationalised Industries, we said that we would review jointly with the British Railways Board the case for further main line electrification. The Board has now put to me as a basis for this review a policy paper drawing together the lessons of the Board's studies and experience so far. I have arranged for copies to be placed in the Library of the House.
The joint study will be carried out by a Steering Group which will be chaired jointly by Mr. D. Bowick, a Vice-Chairman of the British Railways Board and by Mr. J. Palmer, an Under-Secretary in my Department. Their terms of reference are
"to review the case for a programme of main line electrification, to analyse the various relevant considerations, and formulate the issues for decision".
The Steering Group will report to the British Railways Board and to me.
Arrangements will be made during the course of this review to seek the views of the railway industry and of other bodies concerned. I hope that anyone who wishes to contribute views for the Steering Group's consideration will write to my Department. Contributors may find it useful to refer to the Board's policy paper, copies of which are available from the Board.
I shall of course be ready to consider any specific schemes for electrification that the Board wishes to put to me in the normal way while the review is in progress.