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Volume 456: debated on Tuesday 6 February 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library the figures for population growth in St. Albans and the surrounding area that the Government are using to assess the need to fund the Thameslink programme; and if he will make a statement. (118984)

A copy of the population growth projections that were used in the assessment of the Thameslink project has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans other than the Thameslink programme his Department is considering to increase rail capacity from St. Albans to London during morning and evening peak hours. (118985)

The Department is not actively considering any schemes to increase peak time capacity between St. Albans and London other than the Thameslink programme.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the roles of (a) Network Rail, (b) train operators and (c) his Department are in determining the frequency and stopping patterns of train services operating on (i) the present and (ii) a future Thameslink route. (118986)

The frequency and stopping pattern that operates on the current Thameslink route was specified by DfT, and was detailed in the franchise competition for this route which took place in 2005-06. The franchise was awarded to First Capital Connect, who took over the operation of the service in April 2006.

The future train service pattern on this route will also be specified by DfT, although the actual timetable to be operated will remain a matter for the train operator and Network Rail.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the powers granted to Network Rail for the Thameslink programme would enable any part of the scheme to proceed without the assurance from Government that the necessary funding will be in place for the full scheme to be completed. (118987)

The Department is currently considering the investment case for the whole Thameslink project, consistent with the TWA powers that were granted to Network Rail in October last year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 30 January 2007, Official Report, column 75, on Thameslink, in which year the decision will be made in the context of the high level output specification. (118988)

A decision on the Thameslink project will be taken during 2007. High level output specification covers the control period 2009-14.