HC Deb 14 December 1999 vol 341 cc131-2
2. Mr. Russell Brown (Dumfries)

When he last met representatives of train operating companies running rail services between Scotland and England. [101220]

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Dr. John Reid)

I last met representatives of Great North Eastern Railway Ltd. on 19 November.

Mr. Brown

I thank the Secretary of State for that short reply to a short question. Will he give me an undertaking that the much-needed modernisation of the west coast main line is a priority that will be stressed to Railtrack in Scotland? Will he also stress to Railtrack the need to ensure that there is adequate investment at railway stations, such as the one in Lockerbie, to meet the needs of disabled people?

Dr. Reid

Yes, I can assure my hon. Friend that the Government are taking robust action, through the Rail Regulator, to deal with the situation to which he refers. The Rail Regulator announced on 5 November that he was taking enforcement action and demanding that Railtrack produce plans to meet its commitments for additional capacity as part of the upgrade and improvement of the west coast main line. The modernisation of that line will include remodelling schemes, resignalling, track and structure work and electrification, and is expected to cost some £2.2 billion.

Mr. Malcolm Bruce (Gordon)

Will the Secretary of State undertake to ensure that when the Strategic Rail Authority is established, it acknowledges that the east coast main line goes from London to Aberdeen, and not from London to Edinburgh and then to Aberdeen? Will he undertake to support the campaign for full electrification of the entire length of the line?

Dr. Reid

I use the east coast line—not only the part that goes to Glasgow and Edinburgh, but occasionally the part that goes to Aberdeen—so I certainly hope that the hon. Gentleman's views are taken into account. He will be pleased to know that when the Strategic Rail Authority is formed, it will, as promised by my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister, have a representative from Scotland, and I am sure that he or she will bear in mind the point that the hon. Gentleman is making.

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