HC Deb 22 April 1996 vol 276 cc17-8
18. Mr. Dykes

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will discuss alternative options for the Watford-Harrow-central London rail and tube routes with the management teams before Railtrack's privatisation in May 1996. [24735]

Mr. Norris

London Underground will be giving me a presentation on its proposed Croxley link on 20 May.

Mr. Dykes

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. In view of the deplorable proposal that the Watford-Euston commuter service should operate every 40 minutes instead of every 20 minutes by the end of this year, which is outrageous and unacceptable to many of my constituents in Harrow, will he give full support to the alternative plans that would link up the tube and the BR lines before privatisation sets everything in concrete and makes it too difficult to go back to that idea? Will he receive, with me, an urgent deputation of the officers of the Harrow Public Transport Users Association to discuss these matters?

Mr. Norris

I shall certainly see my hon. Friend and a delegation, if he wishes to bring it to me. I am aware of the proposition that the Croxley link should be constructed to feed the Watford services into the Metropolitan line more expeditiously than is currently the case. There is a variety of provision in my hon. Friend's constituency. I accept that it has been suggested that some of them could be run more frequently. My hon. Friend should not take the view that the transition of the train operating companies to the private sector will mean that, thereafter, it will be more difficult to effect commonsense service changes which benefit customers. All the evidence that we have underscored, for example the midland main line announcements of substantial service enhancements by National Express, suggests that, under the new regime, it will be infinitely easier for my hon. Friend to obtain the improvements that he wants than it has been for half a century under nationalised British Rail.