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South West Trains

Volume 448: debated on Thursday 29 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what account was taken of plans for future housing and infrastructure in the formulation of the new South West Trains franchise; and if he will make a statement. (78365)

The specification for the new South Western franchise has been developed to build upon the current franchise operation. The future levels of forecast demand have been based on standard rail industry modelling assumptions.

A new and improved service will operate between Salisbury and Romsey via Southampton Central and Southampton Airport Parkway, replacing the Romsey-Totton service via Eastleigh. The new service will create a regular half-hourly Salisbury-Southampton service, create new travel opportunities between Salisbury and Southampton airport, and allow stops to be made at Dunbridge and Dean.

In addition, services in South Hampshire and Dorset have been enhanced to provide a second train each hour through to Weymouth from London, and cross-Bournemouth services to be improved. It is also proposed that an hourly semi-fast Southampton-Brighton service be introduced to connect these major urban areas.

Franchise replacements are not vehicles for significant infrastructure investment. However, they do need to consider infrastructure schemes that have committed funds to enable their delivery, and the South Western franchise process has adhered to this approach.