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Railways: Electrification

Volume 698: debated on Thursday 31 January 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Bassam of Brighton on 11 December 2007 (WA 29) and in view of the long-term nature of a railway electrification process, what is their estimate of the effect on the business case for electrification if the median price of a barrel of oil rose to $200 by 2020 and passenger and freight train traffic continued to grow in line with the trend over the last five years. [HL1591]

The Department for Transport has made no estimate of the effect on the business case for electrification of a rise in the cost of oil to $200 by 2020.

However, the Rail Safety and Standards Board has carried out a study of the costs and benefits of electrification. This report concluded that an increase in the cost of gas oil improved the business case for electrification, although it did not address the impact of $200 a barrel.