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Volume 481: debated on Monday 20 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the net change in the number of train carriages on the rail network has been since 1 May 1997, allowing for the removal of Mk 1 trains and other time-expired vehicles, in (a) absolute and (b) percentage terms; and what the change in passenger numbers has been over the same period. (226565)

The Department for Transport does not hold the detailed information.

In May 1995 the number of vehicles on lease was 10,401 and, as of today, the number on lease on the Rail Network is around 11,150, an increase of around 7.2 per cent. It should also be noted that a further 1,300 vehicles will be delivered as part of the High Level Output Specification (HLOS), of which 423 have already been ordered. In 1997-98 there were 846 million passenger journeys and by 2007-08 this had risen to 1,232 million.

Although the numbers may seem disproportionate in percentage terms it should be noted that off peak traffic and non-London traffic has grown substantially faster than London peak traffic; hence, a large proportion of the extra journeys are being made on what were previously under utilised trains.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department has a comparator to assess the relative value for money of private and public operation of railway passenger services. (227147)

The Government's policy is that rail passenger services are provided by the private sector through competition to operate publicly-specified franchises. There are no public operations which could provide the yardstick for a comparator.