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British Railways

Volume 981: debated on Friday 21 March 1980

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asked the Minister of Transport what is the current investment programme of British Railways; and how much of the total is in respect of rolling stock.

The British Railways Board operates within an investment ceiling set at £277 million for the current financial year—1979 survey prices. Within this ceiling, priorities for investment in different areas of the business are a matter for the board. However, the board's current programme provides for substantial investment in new rolling stock, amounting to some 30 per cent. of its programme for 1980. This includes investment in high speed trains, freight locomotives and wagons, and electric multiple units, mainly for commuter services.

asked the Minister of Transport if he will give a general direction to British Railways to publish the details of profitability or non-profitability of each passenger rail service.

I have always made it clear that I share very much the general objective of my hon. Friend's question, and I trust that the board's current work in developing its analysis of railway costs will enable some progress to be made. I regret that the board could not comply with a direction such as is suggested, because joint indirect costs cannot be allocated to individual services in a way that would allow their profitability to be measured.