asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has approved proposals to refurbish the royal train fleet; and if he will make a statement.
Most of the existing fleet is old and several vehicles contain asbestos. I have accordingly approved British Rail's proposal for a programme of modernisation. Eight vehicles will be converted from new or surplus rolling stock for use in the fleet and two new vehicles will be built from scratch. Four vehicles in the existing fleet will remain in service. The cost of about £7·5 million, spread over four years, will be met by a grant from my Department. The resulting royal train fleet will have a service life of at least 30 years.