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Volume 404: debated on Thursday 8 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has (a) to ensure speedy commencement of the Thameslink re-franchising process and (b) to enable further investment in rolling stock to be made in the Bedford to Brighton service. [111401]

The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) currently plans to negotiate an extension of the existing franchise while the Thameslink 2000 programme is taken forward. A tendering process for the revised Thameslink 2000 franchise would follow. The SRA are reviewing rolling stock deployment and investment in the South East which could include Thameslink services.