HL Deb 06 May 1999 vol 600 cc108-9WA
Lord Cadman

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In respect of Eurostar trains built to service the regions north of London:

  1. (a) who is the owner of these trains;
  2. (b) how much public sector finance was involved in their construction;
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  4. (c) what technical reasons are frustrating their use for their intended purpose; and
  5. (d) given that consultations and negotiations concerning their eventual use are in progress, whether that use will be outside the United Kingdom; and, if so, whether any revenues or compensations will be payable to any British interests in respect of that use. [HL2158]

Lord Whitty

  1. (a) Eurostar (UK) Limited.
  2. (b) The regional train sets were ordered by European Passenger Services in 1991 at a cost of £180 million.
  3. (c) The regional rolling stock is technically complex, needing to be able to draw from four different traction current supply systems. Early testing revealed significant electro-magnetic induction problems where regional train sets interfered with the operation of track circuits. The Government understand from London and Continental Railways that the work necessary to gain a safety case for the operation of the train sets is being undertaken as quickly as possible.
  4. (d) Following publication of the Environment, Transport and the Regions Select Committee report, Eurostar have offered the use of the regional train sets to domestic operators under short term leases until the Government's review is completed. Government consent is required for any use of the train sets which is outside the Eurostar UK business. No such request has been received.