§ Mr. Alton
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what are the estimated repayments which will need to be made on capital raised for improvements to the west coast main line; how these costs will be recouped; what estimate he has as to the average extra cost per journey for passengers and carriers of freight imposed by the need to make these repayments; and what are the equivalent projected costs on the east coast line.
§ Mr. Freeman
My right hon. Friend announced on 1 December that Railtrack will be working with the private sector to devise new performance standards for the west coast main line and that a private sector consortium will be selected by competition to build and maintain the line.
The precise cost of the project, and therefore the level of repayments, will not be known in advance of that competition.
Cost comparisons with the east coast main line are inappropriate. The east coast main line project, from commencement of planning to the start of the new service in 1991, took some 10 years to complete. The lines also have different patterns of use.