§ Mr. Russell Brown
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport. Local Government and the Regions when he expects the completion of Phase II of the upgrade of the140W west coast main line; and when he expects trains will be able to operate at more than 140 mph on the line south of Crewe.
§ Mr. Jamieson
It is clear from our discussion with the Strategic Rail Authority, the Railway Administrator and Virgin that parts of the project are subject to uncertainties over cost increases and timetables. We are in discussion with the parties on the issues involved and the options. At this stage we cannot predict the outcome of those discussions, but we are working hard to reach agreement on a project which is value for money and can be delivered to a clear timetable, subject to the need to obtain any planning consents.