HC Deb 25 February 1997 vol 291 cc143-4W
Mr. Keith Speed

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the current investment programmes of the franchised train operating companies by(a) value and (b) equipment. [15708]

Mr. Watts

[holding answers 17 February 1997]: Rail franchisees are committed to an ambitious and extensive programme of investment both in rolling stock and in stations and other facilities. Their plans for new rolling stock investment, amounting to an estimated overall expenditure of £1.5 billion, include: Connex South East's plans to spend up to £400 million on a modern, air conditioned fleet for services in Kent, replacing all their slam door stock during the life of the franchise. Virgin Rail's commitment to spend an estimated £250 million to fulfil their commitment to replace Cross-Country's rolling stock fleet, and an estimated £500 million on a new fleet of tilting trains to reduce journey times on the InterCity west coast franchise. Great Western's £50 million refurbishment programme for its high speed train fleet, and a potential £20 million development programme to increase fleet flexibility. Great Western is to invest approximately £60 million replacing the entire North West Regional Railways mark 1 fleet. Stagecoach's planned £90 million order to replace some of the mark 1 trains in the South West Trains fleet. Chiltern's £12 million order for three four car new diesel multiple units to operate a 100 mph express service from London to Birmingham. National Express Group's plans to spend in the region of £40 million on a completely new fleet of rolling stock on Gatwick Express by 1999. National Express's commitment to spend an estimated £20 million on new air-conditioned rolling stock for Midland Main Line, to run additional stopping services between London and Derby and Nottingham. Prism's plans to spend an estimated £100 million on new rolling stock on LTS to replace its existing class 310 and 312 trains with stock. MTL's plans to spend £30 million introducing 16 new three car electric multiple units for Regional Railways North East in West Yorkshire. National Express plans to invest £100 million for new rolling stock for the ScotRail franchise.

In general, franchise plans commit operators to providing specified services with new rolling stock by a certain date. Whilst the procurement, cost, financing and accounting treatment of the rolling stock needed are matters for them, it is expected that the new stock will in general be leased, not purchased outright, by franchisees. The commitments on Gatwick Express, LTS and Midland main line are tied to conditional longer franchise terms. In the event of new stock not being delivered by defined dates, these franchises will revert to a seven-year term. Further details of each of the commitments referred to, including when the rolling stock is required to be in service, can be found in individual franchise agreements or plans.

In addition, franchisees have committed to over £100 million investment in station improvements, including the installation of closed circuit television, improved passenger accommodation and better disabled access.

The spending commitments given are the best present estimates, and may be subject to change. There are changes in coverage and definition from those quoted for British Rail in previous years.