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Railways: Franchises

Volume 496: debated on Thursday 16 July 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport if he will estimate the cost to the public purse of returning all rail franchises to public ownership. (286592)

It is not the policy of the Government to operate rail franchises permanently in the public sector. In situations where the Government is obliged to do so on a temporary basis in order to fulfil its Operator of Last Resort duties under section 30 of the Railways Act 1993 the costs are usually met from the franchise's performance bond.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how much revenue support (a) First Great Western, (b) First Capital Connect, (c) National Express East Anglia, (d) Northern Rail and (e) Virgin West Coast have received from his Department under the terms in their respective franchise agreements to date. (286899)

[holding answer 14 July 2009]: Details of the money received and paid out under the revenue support and share arrangements between 2006-07 and 2008-09 are set out in the following table. No revenue support payments were made to these franchises under their franchise agreements prior to this:

£ million

Train operating company (TOC)

2008-09

2007-08

2006-07

Revenue support paid

First Great Western

47.8

0.0

0.0

First Capital Connect

0.0

0.0

0.0

National Express East Anglia

14.0

0.0

3.3

Northern rail

0.0

0.0

0.0

Virgin West Coast

0.0

0.0

0.0

Total revenue support paid

61.8

0.0

3.3

Revenue share received

Northern Rail

7.8

6.3

2.3

Virgin West Coast

33.0

0.0

0.0

Total revenue share received

40.8

6.3

2.3

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what his policy is on competition on the rail network; and if he will assess the level of competition between the train operating companies serving Torquay and Paignton stations. (287150)

The Department for Transport does not have a policy to achieve a defined level of competitive pressure between train operators offering the same journey, and in many parts of the rail network there is a single operator.

The Office of the Rail Regulator has concurrent jurisdiction with the Office of Fair Trading to investigate potential breaches of the Competition Act 1998 in relation to the railways, and is also responsible for determining access rights for any open access train operators who may apply to operate a complementary and competitive rail service.