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Railways

Volume 448: debated on Wednesday 28 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress First Great Western trains is making in refurbishing class 43 mark III coaches; and if he will make a statement. (80634)

First Great Western (‘FGW’) announced on 5 June 2006 that it had signed two contracts with Bombardier Transportation to the value of £63 million and £85 million for the improvement and overhaul of its High Speed Train fleet. FGW also said that the first of the new-look trains would be in service in November 2006, with all 405 carriages completed by December 2007.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps are being taken to limit the environmental impact of the Crossrail project. (78612)

We are putting a number of mechanisms in place to control the environmental impacts of the construction and operation of Crossrail:

arrangements within the Crossrail Bill for local planning authorities to approve detailed design and construction arrangements;

policies, commitments and undertakings entered into outside the Bill; and

existing legislation, unless expressly or impliedly disapplied or modified by the Crossrail Bill.

In particular, any nominated undertaker will be contractually bound to comply with controls set out in the ‘Environmental Minimum Requirements’—a suite of documents that is being developed in consultation with local authorities and other relevant stakeholders. The nominated undertaker will also be required to take such opportunities as may be reasonably practicable to reduce significant adverse impacts.

The information paper: ‘DO2 Control of Environmental Impacts’ sets out our approach. A copy of this paper has been placed in the Library and is also available on the Crossrail Bill supporting documents website at:

http://billdocuments.crossrail.co.uk

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment the Government made of the Superlink proposals; and what criteria were used in deciding on the Crossrail option. (78622)

The route and service options considered as part of the development of the Crossrail project were appraised in a manner consistent with the Government’s New Approach to Appraisal (NATA). Guidance on applying NATA to projects is provided in the Guidance on the Methodology for Multi-Modal Studies (GOMMMS). The information paper ‘A1 Development of the Crossrail Route’ outlines the alternative Crossrail route options that were considered and the reasons for selecting the preferred scheme. A copy of the paper has been placed in the Library and is also available on the Crossrail Bill supporting documents website at:

http://billdocuments.crossrail.co.uk

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 20 January 2006, Official Report, column 1629W, on railways, what progress has been made in his examination of the case for establishing a direct rail service from Shrewsbury to London. (80334)

The West Coast Main Line Progress Report, published in May 2006, sets out the latest position regarding a direct rail service from Shrewsbury to London. A copy of the report has been placed in the House Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made in the development of the Crossrail system; and to what extent the system is to be integrated into the Thames Gateway redevelopment. (79282)

The Crossrail Bill—a Bill to provide the powers necessary to build Crossrail—is currently undergoing consideration by a Select Committee in the House of Commons. The overall Bill timetable is a matter for Parliament but we currently expect Royal Assent in 2007.

In parallel with the Bill process, Cross London Rail Links Limited (CLRL) are continuing to develop the Crossrail project and recently appointed Bechtel to act as the project’s development manager.

The Crossrail project would provide two stations within the Thames Gateway area, Custom House and Abbey Wood, which would increase capacity in this area and improve links with central and west London. Abbey Wood would also provide a convenient cross platform interchange with the North Kent line.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many trains were cancelled in each of the past 12 months, broken down by region. (77783)

The following table show the number of all trains cancelled, as a percentage, in the year 1 April 2005 to 31 March 2006, by Network Rail route, listed by rail industry four-weekly business reporting period.

Percentage of cancellations per period by route

National Rail route

PI

P2

P3

P4

P5

P6

Anglia

0.15

0.16

0.17

0.21

0.16

0.15

Kent

0.09

0.08

0.13

0.17

0.13

0.11

London North East

0.63

0.57

0.60

0.67

0.49

0.57

London North West

0.36

0.29

0.32

0.39

0.32

0.29

Scotland

0.35

0.28

0.32

0.30

0.23

0.24

Sussex

0.07

0.07

0.08

0.17

0.09

0.10

Wessex

0.08

0.07

0.09

0.08

0.07

0.10

Western

0.27

0.25

0.27

0.32

0.28

0.28

Total

2.00

1.76

1.96

2.32

1.77

1.83

P7

P8

P9

P10

P11

P12

P13

Anglia

0.13

0.21

0.22

0.24

0.15

0.11

0.16

Kent

0.12

0.09

0.11

0.13

0.07

0.08

0.08

London North East

0.50

0.56

0.59

0.53

0.52

0.58

0.51

London North West

0.32

0.35

0.27

0.27

0.22

0.58

0.30

Scotland

0.27

0.36

0.35

0.32

0.28

0.24

0.29

Sussex

0.10

0.08

0.09

0.09

0.09

0.07

0.08

Wessex

0.06

0.12

0.16

0.10

0.05

0.07

0.09

Western

0.24

0.30

0.32

0.24

0.23

0.28

0.27

Total

1.74

2.07

2.11

1.91

1.62

1.69

1.78

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it a legal requirement for train operators to provide and maintain toilets on trains, including for disabled people. (79891)

The Department has no plans to make provision and maintenance of toilets on trains a legal requirement.

The Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations 1998 (RVAR) sets out the accessibility requirements applicable where trains are fitted with toilets.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has (a) to increase parking facilities and (b) to upgrade station facilities at Warrington Bank Quay. (79944)

As part of the current renegotiation of the West Coast Trains franchise, Virgin Rail Group has been asked to develop and implement plans for increased car parking capacity at stations where they are the station facility owner. This includes Warrington Bank Quay station. Virgin Rail Group will be proposing where and when the additional car parking spaces are going to be implemented in their bid submission. Implementation is subject to a positive business case.

The Customer Information System at the station is due to be upgraded this year.