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Railways

Volume 401: debated on Wednesday 19 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many passengers travelled on the Great Western line in 2002 between (a) London Paddington and Reading and (b) Reading and London Paddington (i) each weekday on average, (ii) each weekend on average and (iii) on each day that the Reading Festival took place. [103356]

The information is not available in the form requested. The Strategic Rail Authority publishes annual passenger journey figures for each Train Operating Company in its Annual Report, a copy of which is placed in the Libraries of the House.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the 10 locations of greatest railway congestion, indicating how many trains pass per hour in each 1-hour period between 6 am and 10 pm on a typical weekday (a) in total and (b) per available track. [102256]

[holding answer 11 March 2003]: There is no one standard method of measuring congestion.The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) is developing Route Utilisation Strategies whose purpose is to identify the best overall use of the network. The SRA's Capacity Utilisation statement of principles, published in December 2002, has been placed in the House Libraries.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what discussions he has had with the Strategic Rail Authority regarding the announcement of the draft specifications for the new arrangements for the Thames Trains franchise due to commence in April and May 2004; and if he will make a statement; [103297](2) what discussions he has had with the Strategic Rail Authority on plans for Great Western timetable restructuring in 2004; and if he will make a statement. [103324]

My right hon. Friend has regular contact with the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) on the full range of its activities. The SRA is considering the process for the replacement of the current Thames Trains franchise, which expires on 31 March 2004. The Great Western timetable is likely to change following the Great Western Main Line route utilisation strategy, which is expected to be implemented in 2004.