My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time.
This substantial piece of legislation before us today will, if enacted, provide the necessary powers for the construction, maintenance and operation of Crossrail, a new east-west railway linking Maidenhead and Heathrow with Shenfield and Abbey Wood through new tunnels under central London.
Crossrail will provide a new fleet of trains, operating a peak service in both directions through central London of 24 trains an hour, carrying an estimated 200 million passengers a year. Crossrail has a strong transport economic case and, in addition, we estimate that it will generate cash benefits to United Kingdom GDP of at least £20 billion. Others have suggested that these benefits to the national economy could be substantially higher. As such, Crossrail is a project of national significance as it will benefit not only London but the country as a whole. Crossrail will facilitate the continued sustainable development of London’s primary finance and business service activities located in both the City and Docklands, including employment growth of up to 30,000 jobs by 2026. Again, as Sir Rod Eddington made clear, supporting London’s economy should be a national priority, fuelling economic growth across the UK.
Crossrail will significantly increase the capacity of the rail network into and across London, thereby relieving congestion and overcrowding on the existing national rail and Underground networks while, at the same time, supporting economic development and regeneration. Crossrail is expected to attract some 80,000 additional jobs to regeneration areas.
The Crossrail route and the stations it will serve were carefully chosen through a rigorous optioneering process. I will describe the key elements of the project in a little more detail. As the House knows, Crossrail involves construction of new heavy rail tunnels under central London. From Maidenhead, Crossrail services will use the Great Western line before entering the new tunnel just outside Paddington, where a new station is to be built under Eastbourne Terrace. After that, trains will serve large new stations interchanging with the London Underground at Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon and Whitechapel, where there will also be a connection with the Mayor's London Overground. At Farringdon, Crossrail will intersect and connect with the north-south Thameslink route. There will be a new Crossrail station at Liverpool Street which will provide interchange with the Underground and national rail network.
To the east of Whitechapel the railway splits. One limb of the tunnel emerges near Pudding Mill Lane near Stratford and joins the Great Eastern line. From that point, Crossrail trains will serve existing stations as far as Shenfield in Essex. The other limb heads south-east, passing through a major new station to be built in the North Dock at the Isle of Dogs before continuing via Custom House and then through a new tunnel under the Thames. The route passes through a new station at Woolwich before terminating at Abbey Wood in south-east London. From there, passengers will cross the platform to connect with North Kent services.
As well as the new tunnels, Crossrail will require very substantial investment in track and stations on the national rail network to the east and west of London. For example, the junction with the Heathrow airport rail spur will be completely remodelled and a new layout will provide grade-separated access to Acton depot.
With permission, perhaps I can spend a short time explaining why this Bill is hybrid and how the process adopted for the Bill will differ from those for public Bills. The hybrid Bill process is used for projects that are of such exceptional scale or nature that they require the Government to assume the role of promoter. Hybrid Bills have been promoted periodically for rail and other major projects and the ability to use a hybrid Bill was retained when the private Bill system for railway works was replaced by the order-making process under the Transport and Works Act—TWA. Hybrid Bills work—the Channel Tunnel rail link and the Channel Tunnel projects attest to this—but their use is rare, mainly because of their consumption of the scarce resource of parliamentary time. Indeed, next month the Crossrail Bill celebrates its third anniversary.
On this occasion a hybrid Bill is more suitable than the TWA process because the Government themselves are behind a scheme of national importance. The parliamentary process also enables detailed scrutiny of those modifications to be made to primary legislation that are desirable to ensure that a project of this scale and complexity can be completed satisfactorily.
I shall explain briefly how the Government intend to take forward the Crossrail project if the Bill is enacted. Last October, my right honourable friend the Prime Minister announced that a funding package for Crossrail had been identified—something that had eluded successive Governments. This is an enormous project, which we expect to cost about £16 billion in cash prices—that is prices projected forward to the years in which the expenditure takes place. A huge amount of work has been done to arrive at that cost estimate and it has been independently verified. We believe that the estimate is robust. Much remains to be done to deliver the funding, but we are confident that the package announced is workable and can make Crossrail a reality.
The way in which the project will be funded and managed is set out in a heads of terms document agreed between my right honourable friend the Secretary of State and the Mayor of London’s transport authority, Transport for London. As part of our commitment to openness about the project, the heads of terms were published on 26 November 2007, and copies are available in the Libraries of both Houses. The Department for Transport and the mayor are joint sponsors of Crossrail. Since the end of 2004, DfT and TfL have been 50:50 joint owners of Cross London Rail Links Ltd—CLRL—the company that has developed the current project. The key issue for both sponsors has been to make sure that there is strong discipline on how the project is delivered. That has underpinned our approach to the governance of the project. The current proposal, as set out in the heads of terms, is that DfT and TfL will form a sponsor’s board to supervise the project. DfT and TfL will execute a series of formal agreements that will specify how the project will be taken forward.
CLRL will continue as the project delivery vehicle and will become a wholly owned subsidiary of TfL, but with the level of independence it needs to focus solely on delivery of the Crossrail project for its joint clients—TfL and DfT. CLRL will have a board dominated by independent non-executive directors chosen for their skills in delivering projects of this size and will be free to appoint a world-class team at market rates. Crossrail is a massive public undertaking and the Government take very seriously the need for strong stewardship. Our aim is to see new cross-London rail services running on time and on budget. Everything we are doing to establish the governance and structure of the project is intended to ensure that that aim is met.
Should the Bill be enacted, a single programme of construction beginning in 2010 will see the first Crossrail services coming into operation in 2017. We expect the full Crossrail service, including those services on the south-east section of the route to Abbey Wood, to be introduced on a phased basis over about 12 months, starting in 2017. The start and subsequent build-up of services will be phased in this way to allow time for rolling stock and railway systems’ testing and to ensure reliable performance. As we move closer to contracts being let, we will keep the precise timetable for delivery of the project and its different elements under careful review.
It is clear that Crossrail will not be completed until after London hosts the Olympics in 2012, and it never formed part of the Olympic bid. Crossrail works will not affect the ability of London to host a successful and smooth-running Olympics. We are confident that both projects can be delivered successfully through sensible planning and co-operation.
I began this speech by talking about the many benefits that Crossrail will bring. However, it cannot be denied that the project will also have some adverse impacts. It is after all not possible to build a large public transport infrastructure project in a densely populated area, such as the very centre of London, without it impacting on those living and working on or near the intended route. These impacts will include noise disturbance and adverse consequences for townscape, landscape, visual amenity and heritage sites. The Government do not take these environmental impacts lightly and have put in place a complex package of controls, mitigation and compensation measures to reduce and alleviate them.
For example, various provisions in the Bill require detailed consents and approvals to be obtained from relevant statutory bodies, such as local planning and highway authorities. Another important control is provided by the environmental minimum requirements, which will place a number of obligations on the nominated undertaker—the person or persons who will in due course be nominated to construct the project—and which will include a range of undertakings and assurances addressing environmental concerns.
When the Bill was first introduced in the other place in February 2005, a lengthy environmental statement was produced to describe the likely significant environmental impacts of the Crossrail project. Since then, further statements have been produced in light of changes made to the project or where additional information became available after the production of the original statement. The Government invited comments on each statement and by August last year more than 400 responses had been submitted. These responses have been published in two Command Papers—one in July 2005 and one in November last year.
In addition, the Select Committee process, which is of course unique to a hybrid Bill, provides a forum in which those with private interests specifically affected by the proposals can have their concerns heard. A number of changes to the project were made during the Select Committee process in the other place that are aimed at reducing the environmental impacts, including certain locally significant changes to the route made for the protection of petitioners. I am sure that those victims—or rather volunteers—who are to serve on the committee will not need reminding that the Select Committee in the other place sat for 21 months and heard some 200 petitions. The Bill is a better piece of legislation as a result of that committee’s careful and detailed scrutiny.
Prospective members of the Select Committee can take comfort that the promoter and petitioner are incentivised to work together to try to resolve a concern so that the issue does not have to be heard by the committee at all. Over half of the petitioners in the other place did not appear before the committee, and of the 200 or so who did, the vast majority did so on a considerably reduced number of issues. A good example of this co-operative approach was the change to the tunnelling strategy.
Crossrail requires the construction of 21 kilometres of twin bore running tunnels under central London. The original Crossrail tunnelling strategy required 16 tunnel drives from five different work sites. This included the use of an intermediate tunnel-boring machine launch site at Hanbury Street in the Spitalfields area of London. It is fair to say that this proved extremely contentious. A major review of the construction programme in 2005, as well as a desire to address the concerns expressed about the environmental impact of using the Hanbury Street site in this way, led CLRL in 2006 to develop a revised tunnelling strategy that reduced the number of tunnel drives to 10, focused tunnelling activity at three work sites and, crucially, avoided the need to launch tunnel boring machines from the Hanbury Street site, thus reducing the impact on that area. The Select Committee welcomed the revised tunnelling strategy. That acts as a good example of what can come from the Select Committee approach.
There are other examples of how the project has changed as a result of the parliamentary process. As those who have followed this project over the past three years will know, the Crossrail Bill, as deposited in 2005, sought powers for the construction of a rolling stock maintenance depot and associated stabling sidings on a site south of the Great Eastern line at Romford. Concerns were expressed by the London Borough of Havering, local residents and others about the impacts of the proposed depot. As a result, the promoter spent many months in the first half of 2006 looking into whether there was a viable alternative depot strategy that would remove the need for facilities at Romford. Having considered the revised depot strategy which proposed the relocation of the main Crossrail depot from Romford to Old Oak Common, the committee agreed that the proposed depot should be relocated.
As noble Lords will know, Liverpool Street station is one of the capital’s major railway stations as well as being an extremely busy London Underground station; 123 million travellers use it each year. The Select Committee heard from petitioners who expressed concern that the proposed ticket hall arrangements would result in congestion. The committee considered a great deal of evidence on this issue and were sympathetic to the argument for enhancing ticket hall facilities. As a result, the committee asked the promoter to find a way that was acceptable to all sides. Eventually, a solution was agreed for an additional ticket hall together with enhancements to the existing facilities, which included an extended gate line. The necessary amendments to the Bill were promoted, and it is accepted that the additional enhancement will ensure that Liverpool Street station is able to remain an efficient transport hub for years to come.
One of the main concerns regarding the project is potential noise disturbance caused by Crossrail trains running in tunnels. To protect those who live above the shallowest sections of tunnel, the Select Committee asked us to ensure that floating slab track—an enhanced form of railway track that reduces the noise transmitted through the ground—was fitted in all tunnels that pass under residential property at a depth of 15 metres or less, as a means of keeping noise and vibration to a minimum. To protect certain sound-recording businesses based in Soho, who argued that they operated extremely noise-sensitive equipment, the committee asked us to ensure that floating slab track was also fitted in the tunnels immediately under Soho. The Government accepted both of these decisions, and also gave an assurance that consideration would be given to the use of a better track-form technology than floating slab track, if such a technology became available before detailed design.
Finally, the committee heard extensive evidence from the London Borough of Greenwich about the case for adding a Crossrail station at Woolwich, and pressed the Government in July 2006 to promote an additional provision for a station. DfT worked with CLRL and Greenwich Council to come up with an affordable way of adding a station to the project. Following Greenwich Council's proposal to revise its spatial plan to allow a higher density of development at Woolwich, outline agreement was reached in March 2007 between the department and Berkeley Homes—the developer of the Woolwich Royal Arsenal site—under which Berkeley Homes would build and fund the basic station box structure. Furthermore, we intend to develop a proposal for fitting out the station to full operational status, funded solely by local developers and businesses that stand to benefit, and at no additional cost to the public sector. In the light of that outline agreement, the Government brought forward amendments to the Bill for a station at Woolwich in May last year.
Aside from the sheer scale of its construction, one of the greatest challenges that Crossrail presents is how to operate services at a high frequency on a new railway as well as on the existing lines east and west of London. Crossrail will be an important addition to the national rail network, providing much needed additional commuting capacity. Crossrail services will subsume existing suburban services on the Great Eastern and Great Western lines, and there will also be some complementary outer suburban services. Crossrail services will run on the “slow” lines in normal operation and will not affect “fast” line services—for example, those serving the south-west and south Wales.
Although most of the capacity of the new central tunnel will be taken up by Crossrail services, use of existing networks outside this will be shared with other passenger and freight operators. Dedicated use for Crossrail services was ruled out because it would have created an unacceptable impact on other users, particularly freight users. Given shared use of the network, careful planning has been needed from an early stage on how to timetable services so that they fit together. There is not room on the Great Western line for all Crossrail services planned for the central tunnel, and this was one of the reasons why many Crossrail services will terminate at Paddington.
To facilitate the creation of the new Crossrail service, extensive railway powers were included in the Bill. It is fair to say that these powers have proved controversial within the rail industry, even though they are intended to be largely reserve powers. To deal with these concerns, the Government have pressed ahead with negotiating an access option under existing industry processes. This would grant future access rights for Crossrail services to Network Rail’s network. Following a successful negotiation with Network Rail, the access option is currently before the Office of Rail Regulation to consider approval. The Office of Rail Regulation will reach its decisions in the light of consultation responses it has received and on the basis of its existing duties.
Supporting the access option is a great deal of timetable and other modelling work, which has involved the relevant freight and passenger train operator interests. Timetabling and the impact on freight were raised extensively by petitioners in the Select Committee in the other place. Although the broader questions of the operation of Crossrail are matters of general public policy, there is a large level of interest in such matters and the issue will doubtless be raised with the Select Committee in this House, taking account of the most up-to-date modelling work and, hopefully, also the Office of Rail Regulation’s decision on the access option application.
I hope that the House will agree that the project has changed fundamentally and for the better since the Bill's introduction, but we accept that there may be individuals and groups who are directly affected by the project and continue to have concerns. A further petitioning period has just begun; the deadline is 30 January. Petitioners can make representations to Parliament and may then appear before the Select Committee to make their case. Your Lordships can rest assured that the promoter continues to work closely with those affected by the project. We hope that by negotiating seriously we can satisfy the concerns of many.
I conclude by thanking all those who have prepared and worked on the project to date, and prepared and helped me to enjoy making this first speech on a subject which I am sure is close to many of our hearts. The Bill will bring much good. If the project runs to time and budget, in 2017 it will provide me with my 64-year moment. I commend the Bill to the House.
Moved, That the Bill be now read a second time.—(Lord Bassam of Brighton.)
My Lords, I, too, am pleased to have the opportunity to speak on the Bill. The House has waited a good while to be given the chance to scrutinise it. First and foremost, I pay tribute to the Select Committee in another place, which has provided a good deal of precedent for which I am sure we are all grateful. It seems very timely and appropriate to be discussing grand transport projects. The opening of the impressively renovated St Pancras and the improved train journeys on High Speed 1 from that station demonstrate the capability and great potential for big transport improvements.
The case for Crossrail is clear. I do not dispute that, and we support the construction of Crossrail. Obviously, however, there are things that we will want to discuss in the process. London and the south-east are the beacon of the country's economy, and make a disproportionate contribution to the UK's public finances, often without receiving commensurate public spending. The region has for too long relied on an old transport network running at full capacity and I am pleased to be able to contribute, perhaps, to changing this. It is unfortunate that we have had to wait quite so long for a project which has had many false dawns. We only hope that it is going to happen now. All these false dawns have obviously contributed immensely to the total cost.
When considering the impact of Crossrail, I have often thought of the daily journey many commuters make from my region in Essex into the capital—which I often make, too. Unfortunately, all too often, the trains on this line into Liverpool Street are totally packed and subject to congestion-related delay. Once they have arrived—as the Minister said—they will have to complete their journeys across London through a busy Underground station and along the Central line, which is often very busy indeed.
Crossrail proposes that a commuter can catch a train in Shenfield and remain on that same train through central London and beyond, thereby relieving capacity on other parts of the transport network. I particularly like the analogy made in another place that Crossrail could be the “heart bypass” for the region, which sums up the situation very well.
There has been much discussion in another place about the termini of Crossrail, but I do not propose to get into that debate. The Minister made several comments about it which I am sure will be taken up. What appears concerning, however, is that only some of the Bill’s provisions will apply to future extensions of the line. The current route and legislation has been subjected to extensive parliamentary scrutiny, so it makes good sense that petitioners should be able to do the same in the case of any future extension.
I agree with the argument that Crossrail should not be at the expense of other rail services. Crossrail will be a stopping metro service and cannot interfere with the fast lines into the main London stations, which are already subjected to frequent delays due to congestion. Of course, in the case of the eastern branch, many commuters will choose to use Crossrail, rather than the non-stop services from Shenfield, for the benefit of getting across London more quickly. I would be interested to hear from the Minister the implications and planning made in the light of that. He talked a lot about the extension of Liverpool Street station. I do not argue against it, but it might be that many passengers get off before that station and use Crossrail to cross the top of London. I do not know whether enough thought has been put into that.
There has also been discussion in another place about the clause in the Bill which allows the Office of Rail Regulation to prioritise Crossrail construction over other services both during construction phases and when services are up and running. I should imagine that that needs careful consideration, and my opinion remains that a grand project such as Crossrail cannot afford to interfere with other services. They are life blood to many people as regards their work and everything else. Assurances are all well and good, but as evidenced by the first day of services this new year and the work carried out at Liverpool Street station, rail improvement works have a tendency to be somewhat unpredictable. During the recent months and years, my major concerns have been about the problems of construction and the way in which people can live and operate during that time. I would like further assurances from the Minister on that.
A major overhaul in the form of Crossrail has the potential severely to disrupt passenger services. Even within the project, I notice from the heads of terms document published in November that there will be service-level commitments to BAA for the Heathrow branch and Canary Wharf for the Isle of Dogs station, and the possibility of this being at the expense of the other branches is concerning. I therefore repeat my concern about the implications for the pattern of transport while the work is contracted.
On another point, I am intrigued that zones 7, 8 and 9 have just this month been added to the remit of Transport for London, covering as far north as Watford, in Hertfordshire, on the new London overground railway. Is this the sign of things to come? A note in the heads of terms between TfL and the DfT is that it has not yet been decided whether there will be one or multiple operators on the Crossrail route. Will the entire Crossrail network be amalgamated into TfL’s zonal structure, and, if so, what consequences will this have for non-Crossrail services operating in parallel to Maidenhead and Shenfield?
Finally, the impact of Crossrail on freight movement throughout the south-east remains largely unconsidered. The noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, will refer to that later in the debate. I hope that the matter can be debated satisfactorily in the later stages of the Bill. Each year, more than 5 million tonnes of aggregates are delivered into London by rail. Having this disrupted and moved to road transport would have consequences both in terms of congestion and carbon emissions.
The main point of scrutiny has to be the finance and funding of the project. It is imperative that the funding structure is robust. While the announcement in October was welcome, although I understand that it is not yet definite, it would have perhaps been better for the purpose of scrutiny in another place if a decision had been made earlier. I am pleased that the Government have accepted the Lyons recommendation on supplementary business rates, one of the bases of Crossrail funding, but we all know that there is not yet legislation to enable that. Only today, I read a letter from the Mayor of London to the Transport Secretary of State, saying that he anticipated getting the extra business rate in 2010. As no legislation is going through Parliament to enable the business rate to be implemented, let alone consultation and all the other action that needs to be taken to enable the business rate to be used to fund Crossrail, I would like to know how it is to be funded. I am not against it, but I would like to know the mechanics of it. Quite a bit of confusion therefore remains about how the project will be funded, certainly in the first instance.
I am also anxious that in recent times government projects have often seemed to cost much more than was suggested, and the long delay in announcing Crossrail has only added to that. I very much hope that the £16 billion funding requirement will remain broadly that, although I am not heartened by the fact that the price tag on the proposed Woolwich station has seemed to fluctuate according to whether the station was in favour or not. I hope that the overall costing is better thought out and more robust from the outset. It is important that factors such as grants and proceeds from developers and sums raised from the sale of land are properly scrutinised. I notice that a new clause was suggested on Report in another place to make it a requirement that updates are regularly delivered to Parliament on funding and costing. Such a transparent and public approach seems to be entirely sensible.
In summary, Crossrail has the potential to supply a much-needed capacity to a rail and transport network that is deserving of upgrade. I support the Bill and look forward to seeing its improvement following its passage through this House.
My Lords, like the noble Lord, Lord Hanningfield, and most other people, I welcome the Bill. The sooner it is got on with the better. It has taken a long time to get this far and I do not want anything I now say to affect the construction of the tunnel and of Crossrail.
However, there are problems outside the tunnel, as has been said by the noble Lord, Lord Hanningfield, and the Minister, where the trains from the tunnel share tracks with other trains. I also have reservations relating to the disbalance of services between east and west, with a lot of trains terminating at Paddington and returning in an easterly direction. That is not good railway practice as it means that trains are running very much under load in one direction. In addressing the issue, and realising that it is outside the Crossrail Bill, I urge the Minister to consider whether Maidenhead is a suitable terminus in the west. It is probably one of the highest cost areas around London and any attempt to establish a train depot, or anything that requires lots of staff at Maidenhead, will be very difficult. I say that from my experience on the Thames Valley Police Authority, where we had great difficulty in maintaining staffing at places such as Slough and Maidenhead because as soon as officers went there, they moved to London where wages were higher. Therefore, now it has been decided to invest a lot of money in Reading station, will the Minister assure us that the westerly terminus for trains should be at Reading? Reading people would then have the opportunity of travelling on a wider range of services than they would if the trains terminated at Maidenhead.
There is the problem of Heathrow. What trains are going to serve Heathrow? Will people in Canary Wharf, for example, be happy to travel on an all-stations train to Heathrow? I do not think they will be, yet Heathrow Express is expecting people to change at Paddington from Crossrail trains to the Heathrow Express to complete their journey. That does not seem to be a good arrangement. I ask that further negotiations take place with the people concerned with servicing Heathrow to produce something that is more attractive than what is proposed.
A further matter that the Government should consider is an extension to Crossrail towards Milton Keynes. Milton Keynes has been designated as a growth area and more and more people travel from there into Euston, and people who change at Euston on to the Underground will tell you that it is the most appalling, heavily crowded place. It would be reasonably simple to extend certain Crossrail trains to Milton Keynes. I realise we are talking about the long term, but the long term as far as railways are concerned is probably a century because railways last a long time. I do not see any means of serving London efficiently without taking account of the fact that these extensions are necessary and that Crossrail only partly does the job.
There is also the problem of whether people from places such as Maidenhead would be happy if all their trains were all-station trains because that would extend their journey times. If they are not, how are the semi-fast trains from further out to be encompassed in the timetable?
Freight is a serious problem and is presumably the reason why the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, has tabled his Motion. As the noble Lord, Lord Hanningfield, said, 5 million tonnes of freight arrives each year, mostly on the Great Western main line. London is extremely dependent on that freight. It provides all sorts of building materials, which are very much in demand in London and cannot be brought into London in any other way. I counted them up today, and I think there are five aggregates terminals on the final eight miles when coming in to Paddington. Those trains are big and heavy and move slowly. Can the Minister give us an assurance about the underpass at Acton? Is there money somewhere for that to happen? If it does not happen, there will be conflict between the people running freight trains, those running Crossrail and, presumably, the people from further west who want to get into Paddington. From my very recent experience, I can assure the Minister that mainline trains use the relief lines because the main lines are too often unserviceable.
There is also a need for more cross-country routes for freight. As there are further developments at Bathside Bay and at Harwich, there will be an increasing flow of traffic to the north. At the moment, that traffic has to come down through Shenfield, I believe, and go round on the North London line. We know that the North London line will not be available for freight very much, and we also know that, as the noble Lord, Lord Hanningfield, said, there is not much capacity between Shenfield and London. Can the Minister give me a really copper-bottomed assurance that the diversionary routes from the Haven ports through Peterborough to Nuneaton will be ready in time and are not just something that might happen?
Like the noble Lord, Lord Hanningfield, I am concerned about Clauses 22 and 44. I believe that they fundamentally change the relationship between railway companies, the Government and the Office of Rail Regulation. I heard the Minister say that the powers are only reserved powers, but the problem is that they are in the Bill. Once they are there, we do not know whether they will be used. If there are reserved powers, one can presumably conceive of them being used. I want some assurance that they are not a means of letting Crossrail trains have some sort of priority over Great Western trains, both long-distance and outer-suburban trains, and freight trains. In the railway industry, there is a system—it was not designed by me—for access allocation. It is reasonably fair and is accepted by the present players in the railway industry, but if one particular player is given preference over the others, it would be unsatisfactory.
I am also concerned about whether everybody appreciates the enormous disruption that will be caused by Crossrail. I am afraid there is no way round it, but I hope sufficient cognisance has been taken of the fact that there will be a lot of disruption and that it will presumably be at exactly the same time as the demand for things such as aggregates to build the tunnel and its surrounding works reaches its peak. That will be a great problem for people commuting from the west of England, south Wales, Bristol and Reading into Paddington and into Liverpool Street. People are entitled to some sort of assurance that the interests of existing users will not be undermined by the interests of other people.
I have outlined a series of problems, but we welcome the Bill and want Crossrail. However, we need answers regarding some of these problems because they are of great concern to many people.
My Lords, hurrah that we have got this far on Crossrail. Building Crossrail matters hugely to me personally, and it should matter to anyone who cares about the UK economy. I could talk about the subject for hours, but I shall spare noble Lords that this evening.
To keep the UK competitive, we need London to succeed, and for London to succeed, we need a world-class transport system. London is critical to the UK’s global competitiveness. The UK’s global strengths are those where London leads: the service sector and financial services. The vast majority of recent export growth has come from those sectors. The UK’s regional centres—Edinburgh, Manchester, Cardiff and Birmingham—win business off the back of London winning European HQs. While the HQ may be in London, the HR or IT function may be elsewhere. An example is the Bank of New York. It has been in London for several years but it has recently taken office space in Manchester.
London is a great success. It has traded with the world for centuries and that, together with its openness to other cultures, has led to it being ranked number one in the MasterCard worldwide centres of commerce index. However, that means that plenty of cities out there are ready to eat our lunch, and London’s Achilles’ heel is its infrastructure. Its sewers, its water mains, its Tube system, its roads and even its bus routes are more than 100 years old. They need renewal. The failure of Governments since the war to invest in infrastructure risks holding back London, and therefore the UK. Mayor Bloomberg of New York commissioned another study from McKinsey, to look at how world financial centres compared with each other. London came out with many advantages, but transport was raised again as a problem.
Not only are we running to catch up with current demand, what is more, London is growing. Our Tube and rail system cannot cope with current demand. For the first time, the Tube carried more than 1 billion people last year, and another record was set on 7 December 2007, when the Tube carried 4.2 million passengers in just one day. There is no elbow room at all.
Crossrail will provide part of the solution, but we need it pronto. By the time Crossrail is built, there will be about another half a million workers in London. In a stroke, Crossrail will provide 40 per cent of the extra rail capacity needed. It will transport 72,000 workers per hour into and out of central London.
Crossrail failed in the early 1990s due to recession and lack of funding commitment from the Treasury. The commitment to economic development and pace of change in India or China means that we can ill afford that 15-year delay. Let us at least get on with it now.
Crossrail will not be ready in time for the Olympics, but its promise will help to secure the vital legacy for the East End. Transport is critical to the regeneration of the Thames Gateway. It would have been good if Crossrail had been built by 2012, but it cannot be. More important is securing the longer-term legacy for one of the UK's most deprived areas. Just the realistic promise of Crossrail—the spades already in the ground—will catalyse regeneration from 2012 onwards.
National and London governments are to be congratulated on resolving the funding of Crossrail: this is a momentous step. It is good value for government. For their £5 billion, they get about £12 billion back in tax receipts and about a £30 billion contribution to UK GDP. Business is backing it with billions; businesses are even asking to be taxed. Why? Because it is good for London and they know that, ultimately, it will be good for business. The business community pressed for resolution of the funding for many years. It asked that it not be done in a final flurry. Unfortunately, the funding was indeed put together at the last minute, but a very able team was put on the case in the past few months. On the business contribution, some sectors will be hit harder than others by the supplementary business rate. I am thinking in particular of the retail community. Perhaps there is a case for an offset against the Crossrail levy for those occupiers who are already contributing to business improvement districts and the improvement of the public realm, especially before Crossrail is actually open.
Now that the project looks like becoming a reality, it is essential that it is governed and run in such a way as to maximise its chances of success. It needs to be managed on time and on budget. Major projects such as Terminal 5, Arsenal Emirates and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link have all been much more private sector in their governance than Crossrail is proposed to be. The fact that Crossrail is in the public sector will worry the business community. It will worry about political interference, scope creep and deadline disciplines. However, there is a good argument for Transport for London to own Crossrail, because of the complex interface with the London rail and Tube system. None the less, Transport for London needs to be absolutely confident that it has the internal structure, staff calibre and capacity to deal with those complex issues efficiently and effectively.
The heads of terms have been well designed, with clear allocation of risk and clear trigger points for when government—either national or London—can step in. I welcome the proposal to put business non-executive directors on the Crossrail board, and note the advertisements in the FT today for those roles. That should help to deliver both independence and project management expertise and disciplines. If the project is to be delivered on time and on budget, I urge those directors to resist interference with the scope once the project has passed through both Houses of Parliament.
In conclusion, is the Crossrail project perfect? No. The Crossrail team has done a good job of refining the scope and of managing the project through the legislative process to date. Any substantial alternative to Crossrail, however, will set us back five years. What is more, that alternative will be imperfect in five years’ time. We have to make the best decision that we can now with the information that we have available.
My appeal to noble Lords, if you will excuse the puns, is: let us not derail the project with excessive scrutiny but exercise the proper fine tuning of the engine. I am delighted that Crossrail has cross-party support. It is desperately needed. It is needed now. Full steam ahead.
My Lords, like other noble Lords, I very much welcome the Crossrail project. It is certainly good for London, as my noble friend said, and it is good for the surrounding area served. I do not think that that means that we should not scrutinise it, as the noble Baroness just suggested. We need to scrutinise it professionally and properly but not waste too much time on it. We need to get the right result at the end.
Like the noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, I have concerns about the link between Heathrow and Canary Wharf. It is quite ridiculous that the only way that you will be able to get from one to the other is by an all-stations service, but what is more important is that the infrastructure is not being built to enable that to happen later. I can see why it may not want to be done now. It is fine for the Government to say, “Yeah, we advertised. We have financed the Crossrail project and it means that you can get from Canary Wharf to Heathrow in the twinkling of an eye, but actually, you will have to change trains at Paddington and go down three escalators and round several bends”. That is a bit sad. I do not know whether my noble friend can look at that again.
As other noble Lords have said, there is also the question of what will happen during construction. We can talk about that in future, but it is essential that the existing surface lines are kept open.
Obviously, I am going to talk about rail freight and the effect of Crossrail. I will speak at the same time to my Motion on the Order Paper, which I emphasise is not a wrecking Motion at all. I look on it as an insurance scheme, just to make sure—I shall come on to explain why—that the Select Committee, if your Lordships agree that the Bill should go to a Select Committee, looks at the issues set out on the Order Paper.
It is not appropriate for me to divide the House on that, because I declare an interest as chairman of the Rail Freight Group, and this is a procedural Motion, which could lead to difficulties, but it is a very important Motion and I hope that my noble friend will look on it with favour.
The problem for me is that we do not know exactly what will be the effect of Crossrail on freight, because the timetable is not finished. I do not know for how many years people have been trying to write a timetable to add freight in 10 years’ time—the official government forecast for freight in 10 years’ time, which the industry has developed. It has not yet been fully integrated with what Crossrail wants and with what the other passenger operators want. It has been done by different people over the years. TfL had one view; Crossrail had another; government had a third view.
One of the problems that the freight industry found when petitioning to the Commons was that no one could agree the basis on which they were going to have a discussion. If you are going to spend hours or days saying, “This is my timetable, and this is the result. That is your timetable and that is the result”, that is very time-consuming and extremely wasteful. It is very depressing that the timetable is not yet finished when the Select Committee will probably start its hearings sometime in late February. I hope that my noble friend will say that it will be finished and that we will have information on the effect of future growth of freight when the Crossrail project opens, so that we can see what fits and what does not. Then we can decide collectively what to do about that.
My noble friend said that Crossrail will increase the capacity on the surface lines, but that is not yet demonstrated because the timetable is not finished. I hope that it will be, because, if it is not, there will be problems and we will then have to look at the solutions. What are the solutions? There are three easy solutions on the Great Western and the Great Eastern. The first is to have fewer Crossrail trains. The second is to provide a diversion, which the noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, has mentioned, certainly for Great Eastern trains. The third is to build more infrastructure. Again, I hope that the Government will give assurances on this at the Select Committee or somewhere else.
The noble Lords, Lord Hanningfield and Lord Bradshaw, mentioned aggregate traffic. On the east side, the biggest container port, Felixstowe, which has permission for expansion to be even bigger, is our major import port for containers. I know that the Government are very keen on this and that our new trade Minister, the noble Lord, Lord Jones of Birmingham, keeps on talking about the importance of good trade links. But freight will not be able to go by rail because the diversion rail route will not be finished and Crossrail will block the Shenfield route. We will need to have some good assurances from the Government that these diversion works will be done.
I said that the House of Commons Select Committee suffered from having a lack of credible timetable information. I should like to draw the attention of the House to one or two of the issues that came out in its report, which probably support my argument that this Motion is necessary. I shall give only two quotes, so that we do not spend too much time on this matter. Under “Register of Undertakings and Assurances”, paragraph 36, the committee states that the Crossrail Bill is complicated and that:
“The public needs to have a clear understanding of the impact of the Bill, how each area will be affected by it and what action will be taken by the Promoter to mitigate any impact. We look to the Committee in the House of Lords to ensure that further clarity is achieved before the Bill reaches Royal Assent”.
I do not think that we could argue with that.
The second quote is under “Freight”. It is of course the last chapter and is the only one that refers to freight, but I am used to that. Paragraph 141 states:
“The Committee is persuaded that the freight industry faces an increasing challenge … The Committee was concerned about the uncertainty regarding the Access Option”,
which I shall come to. It continues:
“We look to the Committee in the House of Lords to ensure that Access Option and any other remaining issues relating to the freight industry are adequately evaluated”.
As I have said, the Motion is an insurance policy. I am sure that the committee, under normal circumstances, would do this anyway. That is its job. However, if it chooses not to, there is nothing that the House can do about it. That is why this Motion is important.
My noble friend also commended the work of the Select Committee on how many petitioners had their petitions resolved without having to petition themselves. Clearly, that is the best way to do it. I have been involved in a few of these hybrid Bills previously. For that, it is necessary—I shall make no further comment—for both sides to be prepared to negotiate and there has to be proper information on which they can negotiate and get a clear decision.
To conclude on the assurances given by the Government and the Commons Select Committee, there was only one assurance affecting freight, which I think that the noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, mentioned—the Acton Yard dive-under. Surprise, surprise, it was left out of the list of assurances published by the Select Committee. I have complained that the one assurance for freight is left out, which is why I have a question. We have to be careful that every stone is in place and that no stone is left unturned, and everything else.
Clauses 22 to 45, which other noble Lords have mentioned, are my other main concern. My noble friend said that they are reserve powers, but reserve powers can be used. Of course, we will talk about this in Committee, but these issues are critical to many petitioners and it is important that they are also in this Motion. As other noble Lords have said, this goes to the heart of the railway structure and the normal railway processes that Ministers have said will be used by Crossrail in the development of its option agreement and other things. This goes back to Section 4 of the Railways Act, which says that fairness, transparency and certainty are what the private and public sector operators want, and that it is part of the duties of the Secretary of State and the ORR.
Section 4(5)(b) of the Act puts an obligation on these organisations not to make it unduly difficult to invest in the railway, which is important for passengers as well as freight. Ministers also state regularly that they want to encourage rail freight. Paragraph 9.5 of the railways White Paper states that,
“the Government has made it clear that it will ensure that policies and regulations do not put unnecessary obstacles in the way of future freight growth and that, in specifying passenger services, the needs of the rail freight industry are considered”.
I am not sure that that is happening with Crossrail now. When companies want to invest in railway terminals, passenger trains, freight trains, locomotives or whatever, they expect to operate them and hope to make some money on them.
The Crossrail option application is very interesting. Hutchison Ports (UK), which I have already mentioned, is preparing a similar option application to run freight trains from Felixstowe. As part of its planning application it has committed to spending about £100 million on upgrading the line and it naturally wants to be sure that it can run trains on it rather than having other people block it. I look on the applications from Hutchison and Crossrail in exactly the same light, and I hope that the regulator will too. If there is not enough capacity, the regulator has to share it out.
That is a normal industry process. The problem is that the promoters of Crossrail do not appear to accept that. If there is not enough capacity for the trains that Crossrail, Great Eastern or Great Western want, they do not plan to increase the investment in capacity or to reduce the number of trains. They want other people’s services to be cut. That is what the powers under Clauses 22 to 45 say.
That is also in the option agreement. If the Government do not like the regulator’s determination of the option agreement, they will direct the regulator to “steal” capacity from existing users of the networks so that Crossrail can have it. Will the Government give Hutchison Ports the same powers for what it wants? The last time I asked the answer was “no”. But it is just as important because the UK economy depends on efficient ports, just as Crossrail is important for London.
We do not talk often about the effect on other passenger services, because the franchises probably will be changed by the time Crossrail opens. I do not expect to see many of the passenger operators complaining, but people who live in Bristol, Ipswich, Reading, Cardiff or wherever could find their passenger services cut because there is primary legislation which allows Crossrail to increase the number of stopping trains from Maidenhead to Paddington any time during the day or night. That is a total interference with industry processes. This Motion is designed to make sure that the committee looks into these things. It is very serious to give powers to remove other operators’ capacities that are so fundamental and have such potentially serious consequences for the rest of the UK.
Finally, and I am sorry for taking up some of your Lordships’ time, we have to reflect on the role of the Government in all this. I understand why my noble friend the Minister said that the Government are the promoters of the scheme, and that is fine, but I think that we have two Governments in this place. We have the Government who are the promoters of Crossrail, believing the project to be so important that they can expropriate by primary legislation any capacity they need on existing lines and appear to ignore the future growth forecasts for other parts of the passenger and freight network, and we have the other half of the Government in the form of the Department for Transport, which seeks to ensure that the passenger franchises operate in a cost-effective manner by getting lots of passengers on to their trains and thus take them off the roads. In a rather naïve way, I would expect the franchising department in the Department for Transport to petition against this Bill in the Select Committee. Of course that will not happen, but what is the difference between the Department for Transport’s franchising department and a private freight operator or other operator? I believe that each half is equally important, and it is wrong that one half should seek to take away capacity from the other. Perhaps my noble friend can assure me that the two halves do talk to each other occasionally and that there will be real benefits for the whole country.
I am disappointed in the detail that we have so far. There are questions on capacity and construction programmes to which some two and a half years after this Bill went into the Commons we still do not have the answers. I look forward to my noble friend’s response, but I warn him that there are going to be some long and interesting debates in the future stages.
My Lords, I am delighted that the rules of the House are sufficiently flexible to allow the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, to make those points despite the expertise and interest which he has. I have not addressed the argument about freight access and other points he mentioned, but he has raised some very important issues.
I join others in welcoming the Bill but, as many have said, it is long overdue. I recollect a meeting held, I think, 20 years ago with the then chairman of Crossrail, Sir Christopher Benson, when he was struggling from a small office just off Victoria Street to try to get the show on the road. It seems to be a recurring feature of major infrastructure projects in this country that they take decades for even the most desirable and much needed developments to move from concept to completion. I mention the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, which took from 1987 to 2007 to complete—20 years for something that had been planned to follow on immediately after the building of the Channel Tunnel. I shall refer to the CTRL again in a moment.
However, here we are today with the Crossrail Bill. Crossrail has been in contemplation since the early 1980s and is due to open in 2017. I only hope that the Bill does not have to spend as long in the Select Committee of this House as it did in another place. I know the feeling when one has a long involvement in such a project. An honourable Member of another place who, having spent all those years in its Select Committee, said that he felt compelled to volunteer to serve on the Standing Committee as well, and had to be restrained.
I want to concentrate the rest of my contribution on what is not in the Bill; namely, the financing arrangements. I am encouraged to do this because both the Minister and my noble friend on the Front Bench had something to say about them. I am extremely grateful to the staff of our Library, who have made available to me some of the documentation of what appears to be a hugely complex package, many of the details of which still have to be worked out; the Minister frankly conceded that. Indeed, I was told when being briefed by Crossrail yesterday that the lawyers are still hard at work putting the detailed flesh on to the heads of terms, and especially on important agreements such as the agreement between the Department for Transport and the Mayor of London’s office, and the agreement between both of those bodies and CLRL, which stands for Cross London Rail Links Ltd, the prospective nominated undertaker.
Referring again to the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, there is one remarkable contrast. Ministers have been pleased to cite the CTRL as a precedent for this Bill, but in one respect it was anything but. In the case of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, the finance package was agreed before the Bill actually got into Parliament at all. With Crossrail, the Bill was introduced nearly four years ago, while the Minister, Ruth Kelly, did not announce the heads of terms until 26 November last year, less than two months ago. She did so in a Written Statement which starts, if I may say so, on an unhappy note:
“I am today placing in the House Library a copy of the ‘Heads of Terms for Crossrail’”.
The librarians have told me that no paper copy was deposited in the Library either at the other end or in this House. Where it is deposited is on the department’s website, so the staff have been able to run it off and make copies for me—it is a formidable document. But I find it slightly off-putting when a Minister can put something in a Written Statement when in fact it is not going to happen. Maybe the librarians and I are both wrong, in which case I will apologise, but that is what I was told.
The substance of the package shows that not only is it complex, but it is also clear that to take effect, further legislation will have to go through Parliament. In other words, the Bill before us, although very substantial, is actually only part of the story.
The finance is envisaged as coming from a variety of sources. As the Minister told us at the beginning of the debate, the cost at 2016 prices is estimated at £16 billion. Of that, the Department for Transport grants will be £5 billion, but the department is also going to,
“be responsible for procuring contributions from the City Corporation and BAA”.—[Official Report, Commons, 26/11/07; col. 4WS.]
I should like to look briefly at those, bearing in mind that it is the Department for Transport which is to be responsible for procuring their contributions. Last October, the City Corporation offered £200 million from its own resources, which by any standards is a very substantial sum. Furthermore, the corporation has agreed to lead—here I quote from a briefing note I have received—
“an exercise which aims to raise a further £150 million in private contributions from the financial City”.
The first question I have to ask the Minister is: how far has the City got in raising that £150 million? It has already given £200 million of its own resources; has it been successful in raising this further sum from other sources?
I understand that the BAA contribution is linked to the extension out to Heathrow, the Heathrow spur; I do not want to add to what has already been said about that. The question about that contribution is: what is it actually going to be? Has it yet been quantified and agreed, and can one now assume that it is firmly on the table, as it were?
The second major slice of the funding, which is put at £7.7 billion, is to come from the Mayor of London through Transport for London and the Greater London Authority. But I turn again to the Written Statement from the right honourable Ruth Kelly:
“The Mayor … has indicated that he would raise this from a combination of debt raised on the back of a new levy on National Non-Domestic Rates in London, TfL prudential borrowing, developer contributions along the Crossrail route and other sources. A letter from the Mayor setting out how he envisages doing so is also being placed in the House Library”.
I have a copy of it but it was not in the Library. The Statement continued:
“For TfL to raise this funding, there will need to be changes to existing legislation—both to allow the NNDR levy and to facilitate the planned contribution from developers through a new planning charge”.—[Official Report, Commons, 26/11/07; cols. 4-5WS.]
Therefore, there is much to be done there.
I turn to the mayor’s letter dated 4 October addressed to Ms Kelly, from which I note several points. First, the mayor assumes that the new statutory powers will be needed to raise a supplement to business rates across London, not merely on the line of the route but throughout the whole of London. At 2p in the pound on properties with a rateable value above £50,000, he assumes that that will raise £3.5 billion. Secondly, he assumes that this new legislation will need to be in place so that, as my noble friend has already said, the money can be raised no later than April 2010. There is not a lot of time if all the machinery is to be put through by then.
Thirdly, the mayor assumes that if the new powers are delayed or prove insufficient, the Government will step in to tide over the GLA with grants and guarantees. However, here the small print is rather important. The copy that I have has very small print indeed and I hope that noble Lords will forgive me if I hesitate over it. Number (iv) of the assumptions says:
“In the event that this”—
that is, the NNDR—
“is delayed for any reason, or that the legislation provides insufficient powers, then provided that the Government is satisfied that appropriate funding from this source will still be forthcoming, the Government will provide an additional grant to the GLA equal to the equivalent amounts that would have been received from such a supplement, and will provide temporary guarantees”,
and so on. I hope that noble Lords noticed the proviso, which I shall read again:
“provided that the Government is satisfied that appropriate funding from this source will still be forthcoming”.
The obvious question is: when will the Government bring forward the legislation for the extra 2p in the pound levy for the NNDR? However, what will happen if that proviso cannot be satisfied and if the funding from the supplementary rate turns out not to be forthcoming? We must have an answer from the Minister on that. Will there be a further charge on the general taxpayer?
I note that this part of the package has already aroused strong opposition—not surprisingly, as people do not like paying extra business rates. The Federation of Small Businesses, the British Chambers of Commerce and the Institute of Directors have declared their opposition to the supplementary business rate in principle, although I think it is fair to say that the British Chambers of Commerce, which is a very responsible body, has recognised that there may be a case for a supplementary rate in special instances. Mr David Frost, the director-general of the BCC, said:
“If, however, Local Authorities are given the flexibility to introduce a Supplementary Business Rate it is essential that businesses are given a vote. If a Supplementary Business Rate is to provide funds for an infrastructure project that business believes is necessary”—
Crossrail may be a very good example of that—
“and if there is a clear project plan with ring-fenced funds tied to the scheme with the money raised being wholly additional, then the business community may well vote yes in a ballot”.
Therefore, I have another question for the Minister. Will the legislation make provision for businesses to vote on a proposed supplementary rate?
Finally, some of the finance is to come from specific entities that will benefit directly from Crossrail—for example, Canary Wharf and Berkeley Homes in Woolwich—and from developers through a new community planning charge. I thoroughly support that; it seems to be absolutely right. Some years ago, I saw a presentation in Tokyo by one of the banks with substantial property investments. It produced a graph showing the value of land in the vicinity of new railway stations. The graph was astonishing, with very high peaks wherever the buildings were within walking distance of a station. Therefore, it is entirely right that developers with plans neighbouring the new line should pay a significant development charge. It should be linked to the benefit, and no doubt that will happen in due course.
I have put several questions to the Minister and I hope that he will have answers to them. I apologise for going on but, in conclusion, I draw the House’s attention to a very interesting publication, which I read last year. I refer to a notable booklet produced by the Institute of Economic Affairs called They Meant Well: Government Project Disasters. It is written by Professor David Myddelton and is a study of six large-scale government, quasi-commercial projects over the past 85 years starting with the R101 airship and finishing with the Dome. In each case, Professor Myddelton describes in detail how serious mismanagement, combined with a lack of clarity about objectives and an unwillingness to be held accountable, led to a great waste of taxpayers’ money. They Meant Well should be compulsory reading for everyone involved in this major Crossrail project. There are many lessons to be learnt. At this point, I would not dream of quoting any of them but they are there to be studied.
Crossrail is long overdue. It is an enormously important addition to London’s transport infrastructure. We know that a great deal of care has been taken over the planning, that the skills of the tunnellers and engineers who will build it are being honed and advanced and that new technology for the tunnelling will be used. The detailed complexity of the heads of terms, to which I referred, suggests that very careful forethought is being given to the project. It would be very sad—I hope that it will not happen—if the verdict on Crossrail was “They meant well”.
My Lords, I am occasionally tempted to support this Bill because, as the noble Baroness, Lady Valentine, said, it concerns an important project for the City and will be one of the important engines of the UK economy, and because it introduces and puts investment into a very low-carbon form of transport. I am also tempted to support it not least because many other capitals—I think of the Paris RER system—have much better public transport arrangements than ours and provide much easier access to places of work.
I also have a rather sentimental family connection to the project. When I first heard about Crossrail, I was living in Cornwall and said to my father, who lived in Witham in Essex, “Do you know, I’ll be able to get on one train and go all the way through to visit you both? That’ll be great, won’t it?”. He looked at me wisely, as fathers do, and said, “Son, by the time that happens, I’ll be dead”. I talked to him about that in the mid-1980s and he died in 1994, but I do not think that even he would have believed that it would take 23 years after his departure, as is being predicted tonight, for it finally to happen, although I know that he would applaud it.
I am sceptical about the plan, partly for a very selfish reason in that I still live in the south-west. On a number of occasions, I have asked—not through the House but of people involved in the project—what guarantees there are regarding the increasingly vital passenger links into Paddington from not just the far south-west but south Wales, let alone the commuter belt of the Thames Valley and Bristol. Will users of those links be able to commute to Paddington relatively unencumbered, not only during construction, which will take a considerable time, but once Crossrail is operating? Will there still be sufficient train and passenger movement over that line so that the west of England, Cornwall and south Wales are not cut off from communication links with the south-east and London?
This is not an imaginary problem. In the past month we have seen relatively small rail engineering projects—small in comparison with Crossrail—on the west coast main line and on lines into Liverpool Street cause total disruption because passenger movements into London were badly managed. My noble friend Lord Bradshaw mentioned copper-bottomed guarantees. I do not know whether the Government have a number of those that they can roll out today, but I would dearly like the Minister to give something between an assurance and a guarantee that during construction there will not be a closure of Paddington or a major decline in services from the south-west, although I do not understand from the detail of the project planning that has taken place so far how that is to be prevented. Following the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, and given the growth in demand for track capacity, I am concerned whether, post project, services from the Thames Valley, the south-west and south Wales will be available in sufficient capacity to provide a vital transport link for, particularly, the south-west.
At the moment there is some growth in air travel from the south-west into the south-east and, obviously, in car journeys. But government policy on climate change and other matters—on which I congratulate the Government for their objectives if not their policies—is there to try to increase rail travel and to reduce internal air travel and car usage.
I hope the Government understand the great concern that we have in the south-west. I spent some 17 or 18 years of my career in the freight industry, mainly the road freight industry. Surely the great success of the rail freight industry after a long decline must not be allowed to be an impediment to the growth in passenger transport. This is an important area for the non-carbon transport of freight and passengers.
On behalf of the people of the south-west, south Wales and the Thames Valley, I look forward to a robust assurance from the Minister about this long-term, grave issue, about which many in that part of the country feel there is little understanding. Although we understand that the project is important to London, the people west of London cannot be forgotten during the passage of the Bill.
My Lords, like the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, I am a regular Paddington user. I declare an interest as a member of the stakeholder group of First Great Western passengers.
Travelling from Cardiff to London, I appreciate when the train takes the strain, but I also know how maddening it is when trains do not run on time or even do not run at all. I therefore appreciate the Motion and the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley. I seek assurance from the Government that, during the construction phase of Crossrail and thereafter, the travelling public in the country’s western region will not find their already frail and, in some parts, overloaded rail infrastructure degraded or the improvements that are in hand compromised.
This route is essential for the economies of the south-west and Wales. The noble Baroness, Lady Valentine, referred to the London economy and I seek assurance that the regenerative projects of Wales are recognised and will be respected during construction so that they are not jeopardised.
In his opening remarks, the Minister explained that there will be major construction activity at Paddington and its approaches, around the maintenance depots at Old Oak Common, at Acton Yard and between Airport Junction and Maidenhead. Unless carefully managed and resourced, this level of activity could have a significant deleterious effect on operator performance on the Great Western main line.
The noble Lord, Lord Hanningfield, referred to serious problems at Rugby and Liverpool Street over the new year, which were attributed to shortages of skilled technicians and poor project management. Where will the large numbers of skilled rail engineers and technicians to work on the Crossrail project come from? Are large training programmes being established? If they are not around now, they will certainly need to be around to build Crossrail.
Given the recent events on the national network, will the Minister explain how the existing passenger operations will not be severely disrupted during the construction phase? If there are serious delays, how will existing train operators be compensated for any disruption so that, where passengers are affected by the works, they may be rightly compensated, particularly now that they are having to pay very high fares? Surely the train companies should receive compensation for something that is completely beyond their control.
Stations such as Paddington and Reading are already under great pressure due to high levels of activity. By my calculations, about 18 million passengers pass through Reading station. I know that First Great Western, whose customers comprise 83 per cent of this traffic, is developing proposals with the Department for Transport to acquire an additional 50 vehicles to improve capacity on Thames Valley fast and local services and to address the predicted growth in demand on the routes into Paddington. Crossrail will not be the answer to the present rising demand because it will come too late. Once the increased capacity trains are running, it is important that the pathing capacity remains available so that they can run during the construction period and beyond. I ask the Minister how the scheduling of the works for Crossrail will facilitate the introduction of new train capacity. For example, if works to lengthen the platforms for the Crossrail services are undertaken early, longer trains could, prospectively, be operated for the benefit of customers before 2017.
The rail freight companies have certainly lobbied hard to protect their existing and prospective customers with the commencement of Crossrail. Yet in this country passengers and freight share the tracks. I wonder how the slow freight lines will be altered and how this will impact on the passenger transport and hence the local economies to the west of Paddington.
Stations from Paddington out are already nearing capacity at times. On the First Great Western network, Maidenhead is the seventh busiest station, with a throughput of 4 million passengers a year, and Slough is the fourth busiest, with its 5.7 million passengers annually. Currently customers at these stations have a high-frequency service to and from London with high-speed trains stopping there. Will provision of such a level of services be sustained when Crossrail is introduced? How will Crossrail affect the population? Will they be forced on to stopping routes? How will the current franchise holders be affected?
Who will operate the branches to important commuter towns such as Windsor, Greenford and Marlow? The agreement with Transport for London says that the Crossrail train operating company will incorporate,
“certain existing local services currently operating into and out of Paddington and Liverpool Street stations, in so far as this profiling is strictly necessary to operate the Services running through the Central Tunnel”.
This implies that the diesel train operated branches could be excluded from the electrified Crossrail network and remain within the Great Western franchise. There needs to be clarity on this, so that the development of services for those branches can be continued by the Department for Transport and the franchise operator, without uncertainty hanging over the issue. Will the Minister clarify this point and, in doing so, say what will become of the through services that some branches have to and from Paddington and whether they will be accommodated by slow lines? It is essential to know whether the branch lines will be electrified, as suitable new rolling stock will have to be secured.
Finally, can the Minister comment on any announcement on the extension of Crossrail to Reading? This year, the key decisions have to be taken on the layout of the new Reading maintenance depot, the remodelled station and the scope of the construction works. To secure best value for the taxpayer, avoid abortive costs and secure the best offers from contractors, whether and to what extent Crossrail will run into Reading must be clear. Management of this important project needs meticulous attention to enhance, and not damage, the economies to the west of London. As someone who lives in Wales, I am concerned about damage to its economy, since we have now established an improved passenger service in and out of south Wales.
My Lords, it is a pleasure to follow the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay of Llandaff. In the lych-gate of the Anglican church at Caerwent in Gwent, where my late grandfather was a vicar at the outbreak of the last war, there is a memorial to the leader of the tunnellers of the Severn Tunnel from his colleagues. Notwithstanding the words uttered by the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay, that seems a good Welsh omen for this evening’s business.
“Underground” is one of those rare words that end with the same three letters as they begin. My former constituency of the Cities of London and Westminster was the very nexus of the London Underground system, with 26 stations within its boundaries. It is no surprise, therefore, that Crossrail, the subject of this Bill, will run straight through it. I am not an enthusiast for the word “stakeholder”, but I am delighted that the Corporation of London, which contributed to the original funding of the Underground in the 1860s, is also contributing handsomely to the funding of Crossrail, both directly and indirectly, which I presume makes it not just a stakeholder but a fully paid-up stakeholder.
In this Bill, London history is repeating itself, as so often. The City as the country’s financial and trading centre had a long start over Westminster as the country’s centre of government, but neither has ever been challenged since in its respective role. They are, and have always been, inextricably linked by their very closeness. It is not an accident that the last battle in London prior to the Blitz in 1940 was fought, in the reign of Bloody Mary, on the very line of route and communication between Westminster, which was not then yet a city, and the City of London.
I therefore suspect that, subject to some of the things that were said earlier in the debate, there is not much disagreement in your Lordships’ House this evening about the principle of the Bill and its seeking to improve east-west transport links in central London and beyond, although I have to qualify that remark by drawing attention to the need for answers to the financial questions raised by my noble friends Lord Hanningfield and Lord Jenkin of Roding. The Bill has had its gestation problems, to which others have alluded, with at least one false pregnancy. However, provided that all goes well, including with the queries of my noble friend Lord Jenkin, progress on this project in the next decade promises to be much swifter than the evolution of previous centuries. That is essentially due to the sheer scale of the enterprise.
The present intended budget exceeds the combined current budgets of the 2012 Olympics and Heathrow’s new Terminal 5, and falls not far short of the combination of the envisaged cost of the Olympics and the actual cost of the 31-mile Channel Tunnel. Its intended budget, again subject to the exploration of my noble friend Lord Jenkin, is recorded in as many digits as a London BT telephone number, even when the numbers of billions of pounds have reached double figures. Agreement on it through this Bill would be, in the words of 1066 and All That, “a Good Thing”, as earlier speeches in part have demonstrated. The big bang in the City in 1987 launched the process by which London’s pace of economic growth began for the first time in the recent era to exceed that in the rest of the country. That momentum now has a truly international significance. My speech is therefore not on the principle.
There are, I acknowledge, things that are different from what happened in the past. I had a constituent in Covent Garden who, from a private sector career in the exploitation of international transportation, became a professional, self-funding witness at any number of transport inquiries or consultations. His private interest was military history and his pursuit of that subject afforded him many opportunities to inspect international transport arrangements across the world. It was he who pointed out to me that there is a global trend, at least in the northern hemisphere, arising from climatic characteristics, which I do not see climate change as altering, towards universality in placing really major airports to the west of the cities that they primarily serve. Thus, in the 21st century, Heathrow is a new central factor in London’s importance and, therefore, in that respect, Crossrail is a potential a fortiori major infrastructure asset and facility, subject to the practical considerations that other noble Lords have raised.
However, if the principle of the Bill is common ground, there will remain under the hybrid Bill procedures details to be resolved in securing success for the enterprise. In that sense, I echo other noble Lords who have spoken. I realise that a hybrid Bill is not precisely the same as a private Bill, but the Select Committee element is the same. I had experience of participation, at least behind the scenes in your Lordships’ House, in a recent private Bill, the London Local Authorities Bill. The chairman of the Select Committee on that Bill, the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh of Hudnall, said that there were issues in it that were of concern to the committee but that the committee could deal only with those issues brought before it. The Motion of the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, speaks to that point. Between the Select Committee and Third Reading in your Lordships’ House, the promoters of that Bill, in an action that I understand was unprecedented, withdrew the whole of Part 4 on the ground that the Government’s attitude to it had changed in not one but several departments.
I do not suggest for a moment that that will be repeated with this Bill, but the narrative that I have recounted implies some inattention to the implications and details of the Bill during its earlier consideration by a series of government departments. The central principle of this Bill will be better served if the Government recall the adage that for a ha’p’orth of tar the ship was lost or, even worse in the eyes of my former constituent, that for the loss of a nail an empire was lost. My noble friend Lord Jenkin of Roding gave an example of a commitment given by the Secretary of State for Transport that was not fulfilled in the engine room of government. The noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, made reference to a key assurance on rail freight that was omitted from the Select Committee report.
I shall give a tiny example of my own. Between pages 104 and 128 of the Bill, which encompass Schedule 6, five numbered plots of land, scheduled for compulsory purchase—one of them twice—in the basement of Smithfield Market and the ramp to it, still appear in the legislation, even though agreement has been reached in all five cases to take them out because they are no longer needed. Momentum to create Smithfield Market did not occur until the 1360s, when butchery in the City was banned from residential areas, but people there have still had six centuries or more to get used to the ways of the world. One of the hazards, however, of major projects is blight, one of the causes of which is uncertainty. It would therefore be helpful if the Minister indicated how these cruces, where agreements have been made but have not yet been reflected in the Bill, will be handled and tidied up legislatively.
Provided that the financial uncertainties to which my noble friend Lord Jenkin referred and the questions that have been raised in relation to the hinterland to the west of Paddington are resolved, my attitude in the ultimate analysis is optimistic. I once asked my former constituent whose private interest was military history—I mentioned him before—how he selected the campaigns or battles across the world that he went to examine on the ground. “That’s quite simple,” he said. “I invariably choose British disasters. They are much more interesting than British victories”. My confidence that we shall not have on our hands in engineering terms the sort of mishap that took my friend across the world is based not only on the qualities that caused the new Jubilee line stations to win the prize for the relevant year’s best new buildings but, most particularly, on the extraordinary achievement very close to your Lordships’ House, when over a significant period Transport for London kept Westminster Underground station running normally for District and Circle line tube trains while, at the same time, in one direction Portcullis House was being built over their heads and deep in the other direction, at various levels, the infrastructure for the Jubilee line at Westminster was being constructed. That was a feat of Victorian proportions and an excellent omen for the great project to which we are seeking to give a further push in this Bill tonight.
My Lords, I welcome the Crossrail Bill for the benefits that it will bring to all parts of the metropolis and its businesses. However, I am disappointed that the more ambitious Superlink scheme did not find favour with the promoters, as I think that in the longer term it would be more financially beneficial.
The choice of Maidenhead and Shenfield as the termini of the proposed route is ludicrous, although I understand that Reading is now being considered as a more practical western terminus for the scheme and that some provision has been made for this in the current planning of the redevelopment of the Reading station. I hope that the Minister can confirm that this is the case.
As I said in our transport debate on 29 November, Crossrail should merely be the precursor of a major east-west route from Newbury, Swindon and Banbury through to Ipswich, Colchester and Southend. Such a choice of destinations would greatly relieve the provision of train paths for Crossrail trains, as they would merely replace the existing paths currently terminating at Paddington and Liverpool Street. The new proposal to terminate at Reading is a modest move towards this goal. For instance, why could there also not be a direct service from Heathrow to Stansted? It could easily be inserted into this scheme when it comes to fruition.
Obviously, the above implies electrification of the outer suburban lines terminating at Paddington to the aforesaid railway stations, including some of the minor branches, but this should be actively pursued anyway, particularly considering our current energy situation. Electrification gives much greater diversity of energy supply, be it from coal, gas, nuclear or a green source. Not only that, but electric traction has a much lower carbon footprint than the existing diesel-powered stock.
I should be interested to know what signalling system is proposed for Crossrail, and whether it will use the European Rail Traffic Management System or something more conventional carrying less risk.
Noble Lords should not think that I do not support Crossrail. I just think that it should merely be the precursor of a major east-west rail corridor similar to the north-south route provided by Thameslink.
I remind the House about the success in building the CTRL on time and to cost. As a regular user of the east midland main line into St Pancras, I know that there has been minimal interruption at St Pancras due to the extensive track rearrangements that have occurred.
I had hoped to be on the Crossrail Select Committee together with the noble Lord, Lord Brougham and Vaux, but we are both barred by our membership of the All-Party Crossrail Group.
I wish the Bill well, and hope that some of my comments come to fruition.
My Lords, it is a great pleasure for me to join every other noble Lord who has spoken in this debate to give the Bill my full support. It is not every day that legislation comes before your Lordships' House to build a new railway, and it is a measure of the nation's growing confidence in rail as a means of transport that Crossrail enjoys such widespread support in all political parties, on all Benches, among the business community and within local government in London.
During Third Reading of the Bill in another place on 13 December, Tom Harris, the Minister for Railways, said that Crossrail would add 21 per cent to rail capacity to the City and 54 per cent to that to the Isle of Dogs,
“thereby relieving congestion and overcrowding on the existing national rail and underground networks. It will support the development of London as a world city and in its role as the financial centre of Europe and the United Kingdom”.—[Official Report, Commons, 13/12/07; col. 553.]
I agree with that. Indeed, if we are serious about maintaining and enhancing economic activity in London, there is no alternative to building Crossrail. By 2016, the Underground is likely to be carrying 25 per cent more passengers than today, which is an average of 3.4 million each day. I also endorse what others have said about the value of running 24 services an hour in the peak in both directions through central London, and of carrying 200 million passengers a year in a new fleet of express mainline trains. The benefit to cost ratio of Crossrail will be an excellent 1.8:1, and I see that the Government estimate that Crossrail will generate cash benefits to the UK gross domestic product of at least £20 billion—and it could be much more.
Thirty years ago, less enlightened and shorter-sighted local and national politicians—and the planners who advised them—believed that the country could largely do without its railways, and that the solution to our transport problems lay in building miles and miles and miles of new trunk roads and motorways. Those days are now happily behind us, and the railway is seen as the best option. Crossrail will, I suspect, be just one of a number of major new rail projects that we shall see built or at least started in Britain over the next 20 years.
I have one or two practical questions on some details of the Bill, which I hope my noble friend Lord Bassam may be able to answer either today or later in writing. First, can he assure me that the tunnels through central London will be built to a gauge which would permit, at a later date, the opportunity to run double-decker trains and thereby hugely increase capacity? I am sure that he would agree that it would be short-sighted to close off that option for later capacity enhancement.
Secondly, I note the ingenious and welcome funding formula, about which the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin of Roding, spoke so clearly, and the grants from the Department for Transport, Transport for London, and £2.5 billion from other sources, including contributions from Network Rail, the City of London Corporation and from some of the businesses which will benefit from the line's opening. Is the funding package made on the premise that there will be premium fares for the services carried on it, or is it intended, as I very much hope, that Crossrail will be seen as an integral part of the Transport for London network, with Oyster cards and other travel cards freely available on it, and not be subject to the sort of sky-high premium fares charged on the Heathrow Express?
In reading some of the Hansard reports of proceedings in the other place on this Bill—and I confess that the Christmas Recess was not long enough for me to be able to study all of them, because the debate went on for a very long time there—I found that some interesting issues and questions emerged. One or two have been referred to this evening. There were two significant and welcome improvements; one was the plan for better passenger facilities at Liverpool Street and, as my noble friend said, the inclusion of a new station for Greenwich. But there were also some very serious arguments for extending the line westwards to Reading and eastwards to Ebbsfleet. Both propositions enjoyed very wide support in the other place—and, indeed, my noble friend will have noticed that there is substantial support for the Reading option in this House today.
I first came across the Crossrail scheme when I was advising the British Railways Board in the 1980s. At that stage, none of us had ever heard of Ebbsfleet, and it was certainly never envisaged that it would become the most important intermediate station between London and the Channel Tunnel. But now the logic for taking Crossrail to Ebbsfleet rather than finishing at Abbey Wood, seems unanswerable. The argument for Reading, rather than Maidenhead, to be the western terminus is even stronger; I agree completely with the noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, and the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay, on that matter.
The Government have already agreed that more than £400 million should be spent on improvements at Reading station. Those will include four more through platforms and at least one additional bay platform, and the corresponding junction improvements. Given that Reading is already the second busiest railway station in Britain outside London—only Birmingham New Street has more trains and more passengers—it seems perverse for it not to be the western Crossrail terminus. An interchange there would work so much better than at Maidenhead, and the benefits for travellers from the Thames Valley, from the south-west, to which the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, referred, from south Wales, as the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay, said, from the Cotswold Line—I declare an interest as the president of that line's promotion group—and from places south and west of Reading such as Newbury and Basingstoke, would be enormous. The benefits from a terminal at Maidenhead would be very small in comparison.
There are signs that the Government now agree. Tom Harris in the other place said on 23 October:
“I accept that the arguments for extending Crossrail westwards to Reading are persuasive. However, it is not the Government’s intention to redraw the Bill as it stands at the moment”.
Noble Lords should note that “at the moment”. He went on to say that,
“it will be up to any future Government to decide, if they so wish, to extend Crossrail. We have already safeguarded the route from Abbey Wood down to Ebbsfleet, and we are considering whether similar action should be taken with regard to the route west from Maidenhead to Reading”.—[Official Report, 23/10/07; Commons, col. 205.]
A nod's as good as a wink, and we need not feel inhibited in this House during the Bill's later stages and be prevented from proposing amendments which would enhance the benefits of Crossrail by getting the eastern and western terminuses right—at Ebbsfleet and Reading.
The Minister in another place said that extensions could be achieved by means of Transport and Works Act 1992 orders, but it would be much more satisfactory if both places were named in the Bill. It would be a proper use of this House's powers to revise and improve the Bill in that way when we have the opportunity to do so.
This is a good Bill and a welcome development, and I wish it and the Select Committee—which I hope will not be spending four years on it—every good fortune when we look at it in detail later on.
My Lords, I declare an interest as a vice-chair of the All-Party Crossrail Group which has been an attentive follower of the progress of the Crossrail project and of this Bill for a number of years. As a group, we are certainly pleased to see that, at long last, encouraging progress is being made to realise this project, which is widely accepted as essential to improving London's transport network. I am afraid that that was why I was barred from sitting on the committee, as my noble friend Lord Methuen said—we would both have liked to.
I begin by congratulating the members of the Select Committee on the Crossrail hybrid Bill in the other place on the efficient and judicious way in which they dealt with petitions against the scheme. The committee faced a total of 466 petitions lodged against the Bill, and heard from some 200 of them—an impressive record. Concerns from residents along the route included issues such as protection from noise and construction impacts, the times of day when work would be undertaken, and shielding from lighting. Representatives from the rail industry also expressed concerns about the integration of the Crossrail project with the existing network and the implications for rail freight, which has already been mentioned.
I hope that the commitment given in the other place will have provided appropriate solutions to the majority of these concerns, although I am sure that some of these issues will be brought up again in Committee in this House. I only hope that satisfactory progress is made to ensure that the construction of this much needed project can begin as swiftly as possible.
I am sure that we have all, at one time or another, experienced the overcrowding, reliability problems and delays which currently affect London's transport network. Much of London’s transport infrastructure is old but is used by millions of passengers every day. There is urgent need for extra capacity within the system. Crossrail will meet that need by increasing the number of trains, improving the quality of service and reducing overcrowding, particularly on the Underground.
The project will release pressure at some of London's busiest transport hubs by letting passengers avoid busy interchanges at Liverpool Street, Paddington, Waterloo and London Bridge. Commuters travelling to Farringdon from Romford, for example, will no longer need to change trains, releasing platform capacity at Liverpool Street, which will allow additional trains to use the station. It will allow passengers to travel directly from Heathrow Airport, to the City and beyond. It will also reduce overcrowding at Paddington station and will be a key part in supporting and developing London's position as a global financial centre.
The benefits of Crossrail, as has been said, will be felt much more widely. It will enable the growth of new communities in the Thames Gateway. It will create jobs and help businesses in central London and elsewhere to employ more people and will help secure London's position as a global city. It is often suggested that investment in Crossrail is at the expense of investment outside the capital, but it is well proven that investing in London is the best way of supporting the UK economy. The benefits of Crossrail will be felt nationwide.
I was pleased that the Government were recently able to provide confirmation of the funding package for Crossrail, bringing to an end the uncertainty surrounding their commitment to the project. I urge the Government to now move swiftly to clarify their proposals on supplementary business rates and a statutory planning charge so that all those who stand to benefit from Crossrail are clear about the contribution that they will be expected to make to the project.
With great respect, I must say that the Motion in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, is to my mind totally wrong. The only way that he can achieve what he wants to is to petition the Bill. As I understand it, members of the committee cannot ask for evidence to be put to them. They can only hear what is put to them by the petitioners. I hope that he will withdraw his Motion. If I was on the Committee, I would feel a little hurt and insulted to be told what to do.
Finally, I urge the Government and noble colleagues to work together to allow the Bill to pass swiftly through the House. The Crossrail project has been a long time in development and I hope to see its enabling Bill enacted as soon as possible so that London and the rest of the country can begin to feel the benefits of this essential infrastructure investment.
My Lords, when Gordon Brown was interviewed by Andrew Marr on his morning programme last Sunday, he gave the same answer to nearly every question. His recent short-term difficulties, we learnt, would soon pale into insignificance because he intended to concentrate on long-term policies. His premiership was going to be judged by the difficult decisions that he was going to have to make on Britain's long-term issues. There were long-term decisions on education, housing, Afghanistan, Pakistan and global warming, but, significantly, there was no mention of any long-term vision for transport. How, for instance, will we travel from one part of Britain to another in 2025? With the intended reduction of carbon emissions, it cannot be the same way as today, yet the Government do not seem to have any co-ordinated transport policy for the future.
All major new transport initiatives seem to be decided independently of each other and, in many instances, feel like some sort of short-term fix, brought on to alleviate one particular problem, with the result that when one project has eventually been completed, time has caught up with it and it has now become inadequate for purpose. The Crossrail project may be no exception.
However, I am sure that most of us want Crossrail to go ahead. In fact, many of us wanted it to go ahead many years ago. So, at this stage there is some reluctance among its supporters to propose major improvements and amendments to the Bill for fear of delaying it further. That is a restricting factor for those of us who really want something more ambitious.
Crossrail is a one-off. It is almost entirely devoted to relieving congestion in London and in particular,
“to bringing travelling relief to many, many commuters”.
We all applaud that and accept it as a very worthwhile objective, but with it comes the ominous government statement that,
“it is the only new line that can be built for the next 20 years”.
I am not sure whether that means the only new line in London or the only new line in Britain. I am hoping that the Minister may enlighten us on this. But whatever it means, it is a gloomy prediction.
Eighty per cent of the Crossrail budget is to be spent on tunnelling under London and establishing the new underground stations. Surely if we are going to take the trouble of undertaking such an expensive exercise, it should be there not only for the benefit of those coming in and out of London but should also be a conduit for travellers from Kent and Essex to pass through London to the west and for those living well to the west of London to reach places east of London. But in order to do this there would need to be provision in the Bill—at the moment there is no such provision—to make connections with many other existing lines, not just the ones proposed in the present scheme.
I am also concerned about the proposed line into Heathrow Airport. The new line is intended to come only into terminal 5. Many people have already mentioned that this would mean having to change at Paddington and go on the Heathrow Express if you wanted to go to any of the other terminals. Surely it needs to link up with all five terminals. Surely that makes sense. I would also like assurance from the Minister that there is nothing in the Crossrail plans that could prevent future development of a high-speed rail network linking Heathrow with the north or with the Channel Tunnel.
We all welcome Crossrail—at least most of us do, although some in the west may not welcome it so strongly—but I fear that once it is completed in 2017 or thereabouts, passenger traffic in London will have increased to such an extent that by then it will prove less than adequate for the purpose for which it was intended.
My Lords, as most noble Lords have stated, Crossrail has been a very long time coming, and has not been without issues along the way. I am sure that the debate about its route and possible extensions will continue well beyond its in-service date when services begin in 2017.
As the shadow Rail Minister in the other place put it in the remaining stages debate on 13 December, the Conservative Party’s position had been clear throughout the Crossrail Bill’s parliamentary stages. We have always supported Crossrail in principle but we needed to be certain of the funding and we needed to know for certain that the funding package was robust. Furthermore, the shadow Secretary of State for Transport has said that,
“the Conservative Party acknowledges the strong business case for Crossrail”.
I am therefore delighted that the Bill has now reached this House with all-party backing.
I wish to highlight the wide-ranging support the project has attracted, not only from all sides of the Houses of Parliament, but from leading businesses, business organisations and trade unions. One need look only at the Campaign for Crossrail website to see the great and good supporting the project. This is not surprising when we consider how vital Crossrail is for the UK economy, especially for financial and business services and tourism. To maintain London and the UK’s competitiveness and growth, London needs further transport infrastructure investment. First, we need the Tube PPP to be fully implemented as soon as possible. But we need this only to stand still. For the step change needed in transport capacity from east to west and vice versa we need Crossrail very much and we need it up and running as soon as possible. I hope that the Minister can assure us that the current in-service date for the project of 2017 will not slip.
As the Minister explained, Crossrail’s economic benefits are forecast to be high. It will enable the continued growth in the number of high value added jobs in the financial and business services sectors in central London. The creation of these jobs will benefit not only London’s labour market but the whole of the UK. I make the obvious but important point that people in these jobs will go on to spend their wages, and pay taxes, to the overall benefit of the economy. These jobs could not be created without Crossrail’s ability to solve decisively the problem of how to transport large numbers of people swiftly to and from London’s most productive areas—the West End, City and Canary Wharf.
London is the most productive part of the UK economy. Oxford Economics stated in February 2007 that London was subsidising,
“less affluent areas of the country to the tune of more than £13b a year. The average person living or working in London pays about £1,740 a year more in tax than (s)he gets back in public spending on infrastructure such as roads and schools”,
I draw the attention of the House to the comments of Mervyn Davies, chairman of Standard Chartered and chair of the UK Business Council, who said he is,
“delighted the Government, the Mayor and the business community have all recognised that Crossrail is a priority if the competitiveness of the UK’s financial services industry is to be maintained”.
Similarly, Miles Templeman, director-general of the Institute of Directors, has highlighted that,
“good transport links … are an essential pre-requisite for a thriving economy”,
and Stephen Hester, chief executive, British Land, said:
“Crossrail is important to the future of London: it will ensure the continued regeneration and development of the Capital—the key motor in the UK economy”.
I now turn to another interest of mine. Crossrail will go a long way to help to increase incoming tourism to the UK and indeed outgoing tourism from the UK. It is a shame that it will not be here in time to ease the journeys of those travelling to the Olympics. When we were talking about Crossrail five or six years ago, it was still hoped then that if everything came through it would be ready for the Olympics, but clearly it will not. It will be important in developing the Olympic legacy and bringing business to the East End. It is still needed to improve visitors’ experience of travelling to and around London so, we hope, visitor numbers will continue to grow. An obvious question to ask here, as has been mentioned, is which of the various Heathrow terminals Crossrail will serve. In an ideal world, somehow Crossrail should serve all the Heathrow terminals, not just the soon to be opened terminal 5. I wish the discussions between BAA, BA and the Cross London Rail Links—CLRL—the very best.
Sir Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate family of galleries—Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives—made this point better than I. He said:
“In the globalised world, a strong transport infrastructure is essential if we are to continue to attract international business, tourists and students to London. Crossrail offers the opportunity for a dramatic improvement in movement for visitors and Londoners”.
That sentiment is echoed by Michael Day, chief executive of Historic Royal Palaces, Tim Scoble, chief executive of Thistle Hotels, and Simon Vincent, area president of Hilton Hotels UK and Ireland, to name but three other supporters.
Once the route is finalised, I am confident that the property and hotel sectors will use Crossrail as an opportunity for further investment with the upgrading of existing assets and the building of new ones on or near the route. Indeed, interestingly this is already happening. The Department for Transport has sanctioned a deal with Greenwich Council that would see developer Berkeley Homes foot the bill for construction of an underground station box at Woolwich, in return for the rights to build 2,500 homes above and in the vicinity of the station. Berkeley would also contribute to the costs of fitting out the station, but would be reimbursed by CLRL for any savings that CLRL would make through avoiding extra works at Woolwich when it constructs the line.
Turning to the costs in general for the whole project, what assurances can the Minister give the House that the costs of this project will not escalate? While I recognise that they are jointly responsible, the Government have not had the best track record when it comes to keeping projects on time and on budget, be it the aircraft carriers or preparation for the Olympics. In October 2007, the Government agreed that they would step up to the plate as the financial backer of last resort. Will the Minister confirm this commitment to the House today? Now that Crossrail east to west is properly under way, can we have an assurance that the Government will start thinking soon about Crossrail north to south? I wish the Bill a smooth passage and I look forward to travelling on Crossrail in 2017.
My Lords, after two and a quarter hours it is time to begin summing up. This Bill provokes me with my parallel experience of being a neighbour and landowner adjacent to another railway project, the Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine railway, which is dependent on the Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine Railway and Linked Improvements Act 2004, in favour of which I campaigned. I look forward to its completion and the fulfilment of the benefits that it will provide for Alloa, Longannet power station, the Forth rail bridge and the rail network in central Scotland. There are parallels. However, since there are outstanding issues for me over the extent of compulsory purchase, the delays in the restoration of land temporarily compulsorily leased and of access partially denied by operations and by the parking of contractors’ vehicles, I look with some interest at the Crossrail Bill and the project, because it is much bigger.
From the railway operation point of view, two things give me apoplexy; the plan to use Maidenhead as the western terminus as opposed to Reading and the shortage of other connections and, secondly, the disgraceful approach planned for rail freight operations, or perhaps non-operations. I hope that the Minister will revive me from my apoplectic state on those issues.
Recalling how the leadership of the Stirling- Alloa-Kincardine project was transferred from Clackmannanshire Council to Transport Scotland, I am interested to hear who the client will be, who will be the eventual owner of the new infrastructure and how that transfer will be worked out.
Going back to the Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine railway story, there was a silly situation whereby Network Rail wanted to charge EWS and other freight operators additional track access charges, when the coal trains to Longannet switched from the Forth rail bridge to the new railway, on the grounds that the new railway was not part of the rail network when EWS originally acquired its track access licence. Will the Minister please assure everyone that this type of scenario will not happen in London?
Looking through the Bill, I notice a few items of interest. I welcome the planned absence of level crossings. How many burial grounds are expected to be disrupted? How many roads, bridle paths and footpaths will have to be stopped up? How much disruption of towpaths on rivers and canals will there be and how will that be mitigated? Powers exist to deal with trees adjacent to the line—a question close to my heart. Will the promoters themselves choose to deal with the trees or just issue orders to private owners? I shall stop there and raise a question about the restoration of land. I wonder whether it would not be better to allow 12 months, rather than the six months specified in the Bill. What about deemed planning consent for 10 years and compulsory purchase powers for five years? Are these periods long enough?
During the debate stress has been laid on other topics. The Minister correctly reminded future members of the Select Committee of their potential task of resolving individual interface issues. I recall doing approximately that as a commissioner for the Strathclyde tram inquiry under the now-devolved Private Legislation Procedure (Scotland) Act 1936.
The noble Lord, Lord Hanningfield, saw Crossrail as a “heart bypass” for the economic region and welcomed the project. He also questioned the range of operators there are to be on the new line and majored on the financing of the project. My noble friend Lord Bradshaw saw problems with the termination at Paddington of trains from the east and with the proposed Maidenhead train depot, which should be in Reading. He also said that Heathrow services were not yet well devised. The noble Baroness, Lady Valentine, saw many benefits for the United Kingdom economy and its south-eastern centre, and said that this was an unusual public financial venture.
The noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, called for a project that would work straight off, not after subsequent changes. He explained that his Motion for amendment was an insurance scheme. I think I understood that. Freight has yet to be fully integrated into the proposed timetable. He said that there was a risk that the Rail Regulator’s independence will end up being overruled. The noble Lord, Lord Jenkin of Roding, reminded the House of how long this project has been running—since the early 1980s—and pointed out that it is hoped to be open in 2017. He researched the funding of this project to a considerable degree and reminded the House that the Government should not get involved in quasi-commercial ventures.
My noble friend Lord Teverson continued to rue the lack of direct trains from the west of England and south Wales to east London and the inability of the current network to handle growth of rail traffic on these lines. The noble Baroness, Lady Finlay of Llandaff, was concerned also about the effect of the work in London on the south Wales economy—she is right—and on passengers merely coming to London, let alone those trying to go through the Crossrail tunnels. The noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, had us all checking out the curiosity in the spelling of “underground”. It is amazing what amuses people like me. He also gave a broad, critical and historical review of the issues.
My noble friend Lord Methuen complained about the opportunity lost for a much wider through-train network. I agree with that. The noble Lord, Lord Faulkner of Worcester, praised the new and well placed confidence in the railway to provide solutions—especially in the context of ever-increasing patronage. The noble Lord, Lord Brougham and Vaux, praised the detailed work of the Select Committee in the Commons in dealing with individuals’ concerns. My noble friend Lord Glasgow noted that the Prime Minister seemed to have no long-term thoughts about transport—at least when he was speaking to Andrew Marr. My noble friend spoke up for a Great Britain-wide high-speed network. I remind my noble friend that there are, of course, four railway projects under construction in Scotland, so the “only one in 20 years” must refer to somewhere else. The noble Lord, Lord Luke, was concerned that funding supports the Bill which has wide support right across the economy.
In conclusion, the House will benefit from the Minister’s reply, which I will delay by only two final sentences. The Crossrail project will benefit all those who live and work in London and those who visit London. It is not just a London project but people from Scotland will benefit in the future, whether as sovereign neighbours or as junior partners, as they interact with London, undoubtedly a world city.
My Lords, this has been a very stimulating debate. I recognise, from having listened carefully to almost every word that was spoken, how broad the debate was and how interesting the contributions were. At the outset of the debate, I was grateful to see below the Bar of your Lordships’ House the Rail Minister. He sent me a very kind note. He also stayed to listen to the first couple of contributions. I am grateful, especially, as having listened to everything that everyone else has said, I shall now have an interesting conversation with the Rail Minister to reflect further on those contributions.
In broad terms, the House has welcomed the Bill. One greatly appreciates and understands why that is the case. We have waited a long time—some say too long—for this Bill to come along. However, during the debate, there were times when I had some Monty Python moments and I was reminded of the sketch that asks, “What have the Romans ever done for us?”. It made me think more about what was said.
The issues fell into a number of convenient packages: funding and guarantees; the disruption to existing services, powerfully argued over by the noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay of Llandaff, and others; the timeliness of the project, about which sceptical observations were made by the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin, and others; and pleas to extend the line from my noble friend Lord Faulkner, the noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, and the noble Earl, Lord Mar and Kellie, who said he was in an apoplectic state about where the line finished or started, depending on one’s view. We had a very passionate plea for the project made by the noble Baroness, Lady Valentine, because of her absolute belief in and commitment to ensuring that we have a continuous process of economic regeneration. I believe that to be one of the most important reasons for this important Bill. Others, including the noble Lords, Lord Luke and Lord Brougham and Vaux, reflected on that. Others expressed their good will and confidence in the Bill itself and in the project as a whole, but they had points of criticism and critique. Great concern was expressed about freight and the way in which it will fit into the overall package, and I shall deal with that. The noble Lord, Lord Luke, stressed the importance of Crossrail for tourism and, like most of us, regretted that Crossrail would not be here in 2012.
There is a wide range of issues for me to deal with in conclusion. I shall try to deal with as many points as I can and some in greater depth than others. I shall start with the noble Lord, Lord Hanningfield, who, as ever, is a great defender of and advocate for his patch and his brief. He asked about disruption to the Great Eastern route during construction, a subject that had a recurrent theme during the debate, with other noble Lords being concerned about impact on particular parts of the country. Works on the existing Great Eastern line are relatively minor and similar in scope and impact to the normal run of maintenance and renewal that Network Rail routinely undertakes. CLRL and Network Rail have recently written to the noble Lord on that point and I hope that those reassurances have been well received. We do not believe that there will be undue impact on Great Eastern services.
The noble Lord also asked about capacity and whether sufficient thought had been given to the impact on Liverpool Street. I thought that I had demonstrated one of the aspects of that earlier. Services and station layout have of course been the subject of extensive passenger modelling, including assessments of the ability of the network to handle much higher loads than are currently forecast, and we are confident that that can be achieved. The noble Lord also asked whether petitioners would have an appropriate opportunity to be heard on Crossrail extensions. If there were to be an extension to Crossrail it would proceed under the normal procedure, which would give all the appropriate opportunities for those affected to be heard. There will not be procedural shortcuts as a consequence of the Bill.
My Lords, of course our preference would be that it should be looked at through the Transport and Works Act, because that would ensure that there was no unnecessary delay in the current process. Of course, the petitioning procedure enables representations to be made on that issue, and one would expect that petitioning to take place; the process will allow that to happen.
I want to use some of the time to concentrate on the funding issue because a number of noble Lords raised it, and I want to explain our thinking a little more on this. The funding package laid out in the Comprehensive Spending Review splits the cost of the project equitably between the Government, Crossrail, fare payers and the private sector. I do not accept that the funding package is overly conditional, rather that the heads of terms agreement says that the DfT and TfL will find the required funding and puts them on risk to do so. Taxpayers will contribute around one-third of the cost by means of a grant from the DfT, which is just over £5 billion. As has been made plain, contributions have in principle been agreed with some of the project’s key beneficiaries along the route. The Canary Wharf Group will be responsible for delivering the Isle of Dogs station, and the City of London Corporation and the BAA have given assurances too.
On the issue raised by the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin, on the funding package, we have been negotiating with the BAA in particular on a number of matters, including a substantial financial contribution to the project, and we are confident of reaching agreement on all matters relating to the BAA in the near future. He and others raised the issue of the business rate and uncertainties. We have produced a White Paper on the subject of the supplementary business rate and our intention is to enable such proposals to be taken forward by bodies, such as the mayor. The mayor’s letter to the Secretary of State is a clear policy statement. It is right that there is much to consider before the mayor can act. Of course, the heads of terms document is an acknowledgement that discussions will be undertaken.
It is well known that the City of London Corporation has undertaken to facilitate the raising of funds. Obviously that is a matter for the corporation and its stakeholders. It is confident that it can achieve that target and we have to express confidence in it.
The other point of the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin, was about the ability of the businesses to vote on the supplementary business rate. I understand where he is coming from; he, like me, was keen to see the development of business improvement districts with their voting procedures. That issue is under consideration, obviously, as part of the preparation for the introduction of legislation, which will of course be the subject of debate in your Lordships’ House. That deals with most of the funding issues. The noble Lord drew a comparison with the Channel Tunnel Rail Link funding package. Of course, at the equivalent stage of that project’s development, the Channel Tunnel Rail Link was to be funded by the private sector as a PFI project, although in reality it was only after the Government stepped in to rescue the project in 1998—some two years after Royal Assent—that it received the necessary committed funding.
The noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, raised diversionary freight routes for east coast port traffic. Two key freight enhancements have recently been accepted for transport innovation funding support. They will considerably assist rail freight traffic from the east cost ports. The intention is to press ahead with these because they are needed before Crossrail opens in 2017.
I have said one or two things about the proposals for extending the route, whether to Reading or Ebbsfleet. Our view, as I have already said, is that the idea of adding them on as part of the process of considering the Bill could unacceptably delay the Bill process. It would be better if we proceeded through the Transport and Works Act 1992 to consider those things at some later stage, if there is a real desire. I have heard what people said, but we must take funding issues into account. It is not right to say—as the noble Lord, Lord Faulkner, did, although I can understand why he made the argument—that the Minister had somehow given a nod and wink in another place; that was perhaps going a bit too far. But we have taken measures to safeguard the potential development of routes, as is well known. There is already some safeguarding in place for a potential extension to Ebbsfleet. I have heard what people have to say about the value of extending the route to Reading.
My Lords, of course it will remain a consideration. That is why we have taken measures to ensure that there is no obstruction to the development of that link at some later stage, if it is thought to be the right thing to do in transport and economic terms.
The noble Lords, Lord Bradshaw and Lord Hanningfield, and others asked about the impact on rail passenger services. It is not expected that, in normal operation, any services will be displaced to the fast lines. Long-distance passenger services will therefore be unaffected. I hope that offers reassurance to the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay of Llandaff. We are of course working closely with service providers to ensure that all our services dovetail with their schedules. Current modelling shows that the existing train timetable can be successfully redesigned with the planned level of Crossrail services, in part because of the enhancement works that are part of the project. This modelling is being refined still further at the moment. Some temporary impact on passenger and freight operators from Crossrail enhancements and network modernisation is unavoidable, as we would all accept, given the scale of investment that Crossrail will bring to the existing railway network. These works will be carefully planned by Network Rail. The detail will of course be a matter for it and it envisages undertaking the Crossrail works on the network. The detailed planning possessions will be managed through the normal industry processes nearer to the start of construction.
The noble Lords, Lord Bradshaw, Lord Berkeley and Lord Hanningfield, raised the issue of railway powers in the Bill. We have already issued a policy paper explaining that we fully intend to pull back the railway clauses in the Bill. We simply await the decision of the Office of Rail Regulation on the access option. I am more than happy to repeat that assurance. We are of course committed to using normal industry processes wherever and whenever possible to secure the appropriate rights of the operation of Crossrail services. In any event, decisions made by the Office of Rail Regulation, or by the Government, must take into account all the relevant and competing priorities.
My Lords, I thank the Minister for giving way. I want to make a specific point about the independence of the Office of Rail Regulation. Do the Government intend seriously to consider maintaining that, which is contrary to Clauses 22 to 41? Can we be assured that we will return to that issue after the Select Committee has considered the Bill so that we can address it again in Committee?
My Lords, of course, we respect the independence and value of the independent guidance and advice that the Office of Rail Regulation provides. I would have thought that the noble Lord would have judged us on our record in that respect. We work closely with the ORR and nothing I have said today or that is in front of your Lordships would preclude further debate and discussion on these matters when the Bill comes out of Select Committee.
The noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, asked about the cost of grade separation at Acton yard and whether it was included in the cost estimate. Yes, it was included and I hope that that offers reassurance.
It is probably wise if I now spend a little time talking about the Motion for an instruction tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley. I welcome the opportunity to clarify some points on this issue and I am grateful for the noble Lord’s openness. I hope that what I say will reassure him and others on this point. I know that he is a passionate advocate for freight—it is well known in your Lordships’ House—and he is greatly respected for that.
The importance of freight has been reflected in the way in which the project and the Bill have been managed and, I assure the House, will continue to be managed. In my opening comments, I explained that to meet industry concerns the Government are seeking approval from the Office of Rail Regulation for an access option. I have referred to that on a number of occasions. This specifies what access Crossrail services can have to the main network, and it has been negotiated and agreed with Network Rail. A great deal of the timetabling work supports that and takes account of the interests of freight and other passenger operators.
It may be of assistance to your Lordships if I describe opportunities afforded to the rail freight industry to ensure that its interests are not overlooked. My honourable friend the Minister for Rail chairs a forum for railway stakeholders that freight interests, including the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, attend. Network Rail chairs a timetabling reference group comprising the key railway interests, including EWS and Freightliner. At the request of the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, his organisation, Rail Freight Group, joined that group some months ago. I understand that that has been received positively and is working well. It meets monthly, and discusses and seeks to agree timetabling work needed to support the access option application.
The Office of Rail Regulation consulted widely on the application for Crossrail access option, the freight interests responded and a hearing is expected in a few weeks’ time. The Office of Rail Regulation hopes to make its decision in time for the appearance of rail petitioners in the Lords Select Committee. The Select Committee in another place spent several weeks hearing evidence from rail petitioners, with the majority from freight interests. The noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, spoke to the Rail Freight Group’s petition in the committee. At page 35 of its special report, the Select Committee said,
“the freight industry faces an increasing challenge”,
but that it believes that,
“these issues are largely the responsibility of Network Rail and others rather than the Crossrail project”.
As the noble Lord said, it looked forward by concluding:
“We look to the Committee in the House of Lords to ensure that Access Option and any other remaining issues relating to the freight industry are adequately evaluated”.
Today’s debate and all the comments made about freight, particularly those made by the noble Lord, are on the record for the Select Committee to take into account as it considers appropriate. I shall ensure that those comments are drawn to the attention of the Select Committee, and it is my firm expectation that it will actively consider those issues. Nothing that has been said today in your Lordships’ House has persuaded me that anything other than that would be wise.
My Lords, I am grateful for what my noble friend said and I have no comment to make on it at all. However, looking at possessions for the construction of the link on the Great Western or Great Eastern, he said that that would be done under normal industry processes, which I welcome. However, Clause 32 gives power to the Secretary of State to override normal industry processes if he wants to. That is my problem. The Minister said he will pull back the railway clauses. If he gives us an assurance that he will remove Clauses 22 to 45 and the nasty thing in the back of the option agreement that says, “If we do not like the option agreement we will remove it and give directions”, that would be fine. However, they are still there, and that is my worry.
My Lords, I understand the noble Lord’s point. He has made it before and I respect his right to make it. These matters can be discussed during the passage of the Bill. Not only is there to be a Select Committee hearing, which will take some time and in which we will have the opportunity to discuss this in some detail, but we have the benefit—the fallback position—of Committee proceedings in your Lordships’ House, Report and Third Reading. The noble Lord is welcome and willing to take—as I am sure he will—every opportunity to raise the issue then. I sense that pretty much anything I say to him will not give him the absolute reassurance he seeks, but I can say that these matters will be actively considered. We recognise the concerns that have been raised. There is a balance to be struck in these matters. We think that we have it about right and I think that I have the confidence of the House in saying that—I hope that I have.
I am sure that we can expect petitions representing freight interests to be brought forward. I am also sure that the Select Committee would not need any further instruction from your Lordships’ House, because this is a given; it is going to happen. I am grateful to the noble Lord and other noble Lords for raising this matter; I shall do my bit to ensure that the committee actively considers it.
A number of other points were raised. I have now been talking for 22 minutes, but I am happy to go a little further if noble Lords really wish me to. I want to give assurances to those living in the south-west and Wales that they will benefit from Crossrail. They will be able to change at Paddington and make good use of the link into the city centre. The economic benefits of Crossrail extend beyond central London throughout London and across the nation. This is a project for the nation and all will benefit from it over time.
A project of this complexity will have an impact on the way in which the network works. We aim to limit the impact on services as much as we can. This is a well thought-through project. We are some years away from finalising all the detail. A number of detailed questions have been raised this evening, and I shall try to respond to them in correspondence. In particular, I look forward to writing to the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, about Smithfield Market plots, which sounds slightly sinister in one tone, but I am sure is not. I am sure that I can give him the reassurance that he wants. I shall also respond to the noble Lord, Lord Methuen, about signalling systems, because I know that he is much exercised by them. I shall similarly respond to the noble Lord, Lord Faulkner, about zonal systems and assure him more fully than I can this evening that existing ticketing options, such as Oyster, will apply, and that we will ensure that Crossrail is integrated into TfL's existing zonal system.
There were other points. I shall respond to those in writing, if I may, but I am grateful to all noble Lords who participated this evening. I think that the Bill, when it eventually returns to your Lordships' House, will receive very active consideration. I am looking forward to that and I am sure that it will be a great pleasure to us all, especially those who are enthusiastic about the railway system. I thank all noble Lords who have taken part and I wish the Bill well as it leaves your Lordships’ House to go to Select Committee.
On Question, Bill read a second time, and committed to a Select Committee.
had given notice of his intention to move that it be an instruction to the Select Committee to which the Bill is committed that it shall give particular consideration to, and report to the House accordingly on, the likely effects on rail freight train operators and their customers of the running of Crossrail trains over the existing surface railway lines, and of the implementation of the “Railway matters” clauses of the Bill.
The noble Lord said: My Lords, I shall not move the Motion.
Motion not moved.