HC Deb 06 March 1996 vol 273 c216W
Mr. Tyler

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will now support the designation of the Penzance-Bristol mainline railway as a high-speed trans-European network route at the Council of Ministers. [18624]

Mr. Watts

[holding answer 4 March 1996]: The Department has relied on advice from British Rail and Railtrack on the categorisation of TENs rail routes in the UK. The TENs maps are not a wish list; they must reflect current realities or investment priorities. The Bristol-Penzance line does not meet the criteria for designation as high-speed and Railtrack has no current plans to upgrade it. It is therefore rightly categorised as a conventional rail link. The feasibility studies for which we are now seeking TENs funding will examine the options for improving journey times on both the Penzance-Bristol and Reading-Taunton routes and form a basis for investment decisions in the future. This is a positive step towards securing the improved rail infrastructure that the west country is seeking.