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Railways: Infrastructure

Volume 481: debated on Monday 20 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what European Union law governs whether train and station operations should be separated from rail infrastructure maintenance and renewals. (227148)

Directive 91/440/EEC requires separation of accounting between infrastructure management business and the provision of transport services, and prohibits the transfer of public funds between these functions. It allows member states to achieve this through the organisation of distinct divisions within a single entity or by requiring the infrastructure to be managed by a separate entity.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department has made an assessment of the value for money of (a) integrating rail infrastructure and operations in the public sector and (b) separating train and station operations from rail infrastructure maintenance and renewals. (227149)

No such formal assessment has been made. It is generally accepted that the structures put in place at privatisation were flawed. The 2004 Rail White Paper and 2005 Railways Act set out a new streamlined structure, specified by the Government and delivered by the private sector, under which rail investment is based on affordability and value for money as determined by the independent Office of Rail Regulation.

This structure provides coherent and effective management and delivers safe, reliable railways that work efficiently. The new arrangements provide much-needed stability for the industry as a whole.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of the value for money of operating rail passenger services in the public sector after each passenger franchise expires. (227150)

The Government's policy is that rail services are provided by the private sector to a specification developed in the public sector; therefore, no formal assessment has been made of the value for money of operating rail passenger services in the public sector.