§ Mr. Eyre
This is a matter for the British Railways Board. I understand that delays in driver training and negotiations with the trade unions over the one-man operation of trains have led the British Railways Board to defer the introduction of an electrified service on this line and that the board is now aiming to start electric running between Moorgate and Bedford in July this year.
§ Mr. Eyre
The most recent estimate made by the Railways Board of the total cost of the Bedford electrification scheme, which is nearing completion, is £150 million at mid-1981 prices. This figure includes £56 million for work on associated resignalling and track and route improvements, which will also benefit diesel-hauled inter-city and freight traffic.
Comparitive operating costs are not available on the basis requested. However, I understand that the current costs of train crews, fuel, cleaning, shunting, maintenance and depreciation on rolling stock are estimated at 475W approximately £4.10 per mile for each four-car diesel-multiple-unit set and at £3.20 per mile for each four-car electric-multiple-unit set. The estimate for the electric units assumes one-man operation of the trains, but makes no allowance for the operating maintenance or depreciation costs of the electrification fixed works.