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Railways

Volume 494: debated on Wednesday 17 June 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what his most recent assessment is of the capacity of the existing rail network for (a) passenger and (b) freight services. (281097)

During the preparation of the 2007 Rail White Paper, the Government carried out assessments of the adequacy of the capacity of the rail network. The assessments drew on work carried out by the rail industry, and the outcome is published in the 2007 Rail White Paper ‘Delivering a Sustainable Railway' available from the Department for Transport website at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/about/strategy/whitepapers/whitepapercm7176

Since its publication, the Government have asked Network Rail to undertake a new lines study to identify longer term capacity requirements.

Initial results from Network Rail's study indicated a long-term capacity gap from London to the West Midlands, which is why we have tasked High Speed Two to advise on the feasibility of a new high speed line from London to the West Midlands as a first stage, and beyond the West Midlands at the level of broad corridors.