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Railways

Volume 407: debated on Thursday 19 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans there are for changes in the level of rail services in Scotland. [120076]

The Scottish Executive are responsible for funding and specifying services in Scotland provided under the ScotRail franchise. The Executive, together with the Strategic Rail Authority, are working towards the re-letting of the current franchise, which ends in 2004.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to his Answer of 12 May 2003, Official Report, column 128W, on railways, whether Thameslink has asked for approval from (a) the SRA and (b) Network Rail to exceed the prescribed journey times; and if he will list Thameslink core routes and prescribed permitted journey times. [117274]

The SRA have informed me that the information they gave me for the answer given on 12 May 2003 was incorrect. In consequence, the hon. Member was misinformed. I regret this has happened. The SRA have apologised for the error. The SRA have now told me that Thameslink have, in fact, requested and received approval from them to exceed the prescribed maximum journey times for the services listed in the table. The SRA have granted derogations as the prescribed journey times are being exceeded because of capacity constraints, and in several cases, because this allows services to be extended from Luton, where they would otherwise terminate, to Bedford. Network Rail does not prescribe maximum journey times.The approvals granted by the SRA are:

Minutes
ServicePrescribed maximum journey timeActual journey time
Kings Cross Thameslink to Bedford (weekdays)
17.427280
20.067274
Kings Cross Thameslink to Bedford (Saturdays)
17.517274
18.217274
19.517276
Blackfriars—Luton (weekdays)
09.054950
09.324950
Blackfriars—Luton (Saturdays)
17.274849
17.574849
18.274849
18.574849
The permitted journey times (for weekdays) specified for Thameslink's core routes are as follows:

London Blackfriars—Bedford: 68 minutes provided that it shall be 60 minutes for 80 per cent. of services. If services call at Luton Airport Parkway, the maximum journey time shall be 72 minutes provided that it shall be 62 minutes for 80 per cent. of services;
London Blackfriars to Luton: 47 minutes save that services calling additionally at Luton Airport Parkway may take 49 minutes;
Kings Cross Thameslink to Brighton: 99 minutes provided that it shall be 85 minutes for 75 per cent. of services; and
Kings Cross Thameslink to Sutton via Wimbledon: 68 minutes provided that it shall be 62 minutes for 80 per cent. of services.