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Railways

Volume 450: debated on Monday 23 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what contingency plans are in place to ensure continuity of service on rail services in the event of franchise business failure. (96324)

Contingency plans to ensure continuity of service on rail services exist within DfT and are kept under constant review.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what criteria were used to determine the outcome of the South West trains franchise; and what the cost difference is between the new and old contracts. (93374)

The process used to evaluate bids was the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) evaluation model applicable to suppliers to the public sector. This approach utilised a scoring methodology assessing the bidder's approach, deployment, assessment and review, results/evidence (RADAR) to the contribution of 22 operational criteria to the achievement of the three principal delivery plans of performance, revenues and costs.

The current franchise subsidy committed for the last year of the franchise (which expires in February 2007) is £120 million. The new franchise will provide, over its 10 year term, a net premium of £1,191 million.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what plans he has to ensure that the £1.3 billion payment required to be made to the Treasury as part of the East Coast Main Line rail franchise agreement is safeguarded; (95360)

(2) what steps he is taking to ensure continuation of the East Coast Main Line rail service following GNER's parent company's default on its bond payment in the United States and filing of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection; and if he will make a statement.

GNER has met all its contractual obligations, including the making of premium payments. The Department continues to monitor the Sea Containers position closely. The Secretary of State has legal powers to ensure the continued delivery of rail services on any franchise.