HL Deb 01 February 1999 vol 596 c180WA
Baroness Thornton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have commissioned an independent review of alternative proposals for regional Eurostar services. [HL796]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty)

We have announced a competition to seek a consultant to undertake a review of alternative proposals for regional Eurostar services. In addition to addressing itself in particular to the study completed by Inter-Capital and Regional Rail Ltd., and the alternative proposals put forward by the Virgin Group, the review will include a thorough examination of a broad range of key elements, including the points to be served, infrastructure requirements in terms of both rolling stock and track, wider social and economic benefits to the regions of having such services, and the case for carrying domestic passengers. These terms of reference have been informed by the recent report of the Transport Sub-Committee, for which we are grateful. We have asked for a thorough report to be presented to government as soon as practicable. It is likely to take some months.