HC Deb 18 March 1991 vol 188 cc9-10
8. Mr. Raffan

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he next expects to meet the chairman of British Rail to discuss investment in rail services in Wales.

Sir Wyn Roberts

My right hon. Friend has regular meetings with the chairman of British Rail. They last met on 8 February.

Mr. Raffan

Does my hon. Friend share my concern that British Rail cannot at present spare the £2 million needed to upgrade the north Wales line so that it can take trains travelling at 90 mph, which will be necessary if we are to gain the maximum benefit from the introduction of 125s on 30 September? Will my hon. Friend press the Treasury to provide that relatively small sum, and ask British Rail in return to stop the 125s at Prestatyn rather than Lichfield?

Sir Wyn Roberts

That is a matter for British Rail and I know that BR is anxious to upgrade the track along the north Wales coast. My hon. Friend will be aware that British Rail has chosen to invest £10 million in additional and improved stock, and that will improve the service. We shall have three high-speed 125 InterCity trains running from Holyhead to London. We shall also have the 158s operating on that line. In all, we shall have 12 trains running to London as opposed to the 10 that we have now.

Mr. John P. Smith

Has the Minister read the excellent report of the Select Committee on Welsh Affairs on Cardiff-Wales airport—in particular the recommendations on a rail link for the area, to bring the airport into line with all the premier regional airports in the country? Will the Minister now take whatever steps are necessary to provide such a link—especially as we could do it at such little cost?

Sir Wyn Roberts

I am certainly aware of the Select Committee's recommendation. The hon. Gentleman and I have discussed the matter before, but it is for Labour-controlled South Glamorgan county council to discuss the project with British Rail and agree it or otherwise but, so far, the body has not decided to go forward with it.