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Rolling Stock

Volume 575: debated on Thursday 6 February 2014

I would draw the House’s attention to my statement this morning about the preferred bidder for the £1 billion Crossrail rolling stock and depot contract. Combined with IEP and Thameslink, more than 3,100 new carriages will be in service by the end of 2019. In addition, through the franchising programme we expect the market to deliver additional rolling stock solutions, building on the possibilities created by the rail investment strategy’s electrification projects and capacity increases.

The Government need to be applauded for investing £8 million in the reopening of the Todmorden curve railway line between Todmorden and Burnley, which is due for completion in May. Will the Secretary of State update us on whether any progress has been made with Northern Rail on the procurement of a further diesel train so that the service can start before December?

I well understand the points my hon. Friend makes. I know that Northern Rail has been working on how best to deliver those services, including the provision for rolling stock. A small number of diesel trains from within the current northern fleet may become available for use on this service from December 2014 when the electric trains are due to start operating on some services between Liverpool and Manchester, but I know and understand my hon. Friend’s desire to get a service up and running sooner. I will personally look into what can be made available.

New rolling stock will be required on the very welcome new line planned from the Great Western main line into Heathrow, which was announced today. Will the Minister take action to speed up the delivery of that line? If we wait until 2021 to deliver that line, some of the businesses in the Thames valley which have been hanging on for western access to Heathrow might leave the country. Can he do more to speed it up?

We are investing record amounts in the rail industry. I will certainly look into the point the hon. Lady makes, but it is one of many demands as far as rail services are concerned.

18. Will the Secretary of State join me again in welcoming the fantastic order won by Bombardier, but could we also encourage Bombardier to use its local supply chain industry, because we have a centre of excellence in Derby for engineering and knock-on industries and it would be very good if it could spread the load and invest in the local area? (902432)

I very much agree with my hon. Friend and I know she will be delighted at today’s announcement. It is worth pointing out that in Derby we have got not only Bombardier but Rolls-Royce and Toyota and just over in Staffordshire—but I almost regard it as Derbyshire—JCB, all providing an engineering centre of excellence. It is true that some 71% of this new contract will be based on small and medium-sized industries in this country. I forgot to say that JCB is also in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for South Derbyshire (Heather Wheeler).