asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they must assent to an order being placed by a train operating company for additional rolling stock to meet rising levels of demand for rail travel; and, if so, how many requests from train operating companies for additional rolling stock they have turned down in 2007 and 2008; and [HL4633]
How many requests they have received from train operating companies for additional rolling stock to meet increasing demand expected to arise when the December 2008 timetable changes come into effect. [HL4634]
Government have a formal role in the approval of rolling stock leases because of their responsibilities as operator of last resort. This, though, will not normally prevent train operators procuring new rolling stock on their own account unless it would lead to an increase in the level of government subsidy.
The Department for Transport meets train operators regularly to discuss a range of topics, including proposals for extra rolling stock. However, no recent proposal for the department to fund extra rolling stock, other than through the high-level output specification process, has proceeded beyond the informal discussion stage.