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Volume 614: debated on Thursday 15 September 2016

There are no current plans to extend the Crossrail route. Any proposed extension would require a strong business case, and would need to be in the best interests of rail passengers.

Crossrail is on budget and on time, and will dramatically reduce journey times across London. The one area of the capital that does not benefit from it is north-west London, and Harrow and Wealdstone in particular. Will my hon. Friend look at the business case for expanding the network so that all Londoners can benefit from Crossrail?

My hon. Friend is right to point out the connectivity benefits of Crossrail. I know that it has looked at the possibility of an extension through Harrow and Wealdstone, which he has been campaigning for, and into Hertfordshire, to join the west coast main line there. That was found by Crossrail, Transport for London and Network Rail to offer poor value for money, so we are not taking it forward at this time, but of course we always keep the issue under review.

As much as I would like my constituents to benefit from an expanded Crossrail network, geography makes that unlikely, so can the Minister with responsibility for rail tell me his assessment of Southeastern’s submission for additional rolling stock?

We always want to make sure that commuters in London, which is one of the most burdened parts of the network, have the best possible chance of having a reliable, predictable, punctual service, with a good chance of getting a seat. That is why we, contrary to what happened in the 13 years of Labour Government, are investing so many billions of pounds in new carriages across London and the south-east.