Skip to main content

TOCs: Derogations from Franchise Obligations

Volume 649: debated on Thursday 22 November 2018

14. What criteria his Department uses to assess train operating company requests for derogations from franchise obligations. (907779)

A derogation is a deferral of a contracted obligation. Requests for derogations are assessed by considering the operator’s reasoning on why delivering as contracted is not possible and the impact of the proposed deferral. Derogations will not be agreed if requested retrospectively.

I am grateful to the rail Minister, who will know that, in its 2017 franchise award, CrossCountry’s intercity service was required to make two additional stops a day in the city of Gloucester, once the Network Rail works at Filton Bank are completed at the end of this year. Will the Minister celebrate his return to the Department for Transport by saying when this derogation will come to an end and when the operator will deliver those two additional services a day?

My hon. Friend is a long-standing campaigner on this issue. He is right to say that we want to see the services in the franchise resumed. The derogation was granted in March, and I know he has met my predecessor to discuss this issue. The works at Filton Bank are progressing, but this is a complex project. It is firmly on my radar, but perhaps I may ask him to meet me so that we can review the project and I can update him.