§ 18. Mr. Gordon Prentice
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what interest has been expressed in running rail services in the north-west of England following privatisation. 
§ Mr. Watts
The franchising director has not yet sought indications of interest in the rail franchises in the north-west of England. Good progress is being made with the franchising programme and the franchising director continues to prepare services for offering to the private 499W sector in accordance with his objective from the Government to franchise passenger rail services as rapidly as is reasonably practicable.