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House of Commons Hansard
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Train Operating Companies (East Anglia)
03 December 2009
Volume 501
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10. When he next expects to meet representatives of the train operating companies serving East Anglia. [303676]

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I will be meeting representatives of National Express East Anglia on Monday 14 December 2009 at Liverpool Street station in London.

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Will the Minister turn his attention to the First Capital Connect service from King’s Cross via Cambridge to King’s Lynn? Is he aware that, in spite of recent improvements, there is still substantial overcrowding on trains leaving London during the rush hour? Furthermore, does he agree that a route of such importance should have refreshment trolleys on the trains? Will he find time to join me on the route to see the problems for himself?

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The hon. Gentleman’s Front-Bench colleagues accuse us of micro-management, yet he seems to be asking us to intervene to specify what should be on the trolleys on trains on the First Capital Connect routes. The hon. Member for Chipping Barnet (Mrs. Villiers) seems to want to spend her time in the future specifying how many Mars bars there should be. For us, it has been about ensuring that we have the capacity on that line, which is why we have been investing in the Thameslink programme.

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I wish the Minister well with his meeting on Monday. I am pleased to say that I had one with National Express East Anglia on Tuesday afternoon. In his meeting on Monday, will he try to get confirmation about, and to firm up, the promises and pledges that there would be improved rail services, more trains and more carriages on the line from Ipswich to London Liverpool Street via Colchester, and about the improvements to Colchester station?

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I am very much aware that improvements have been made to the signalling at Colchester station to ensure that we can get the right capacity of vehicles through. I hope that on 14 December we will be able to make an announcement about the additional rolling stock being delivered through the high-level output specification, which will bring 120 new vehicles on to the National Express East Anglia network.