HC Deb 23 January 2003 vol 398 cc514-5W
Mr. Drew

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the request of the Western franchise to receive a subsidy from the Strategic Rail Authority to run services on the Swindon-Cheltenham line in place of Virgin Trains. [92070]

Mr. Jamieson

The Strategic Rail Authority has agreed that, from May 2003, Virgin Cross Country will no longer run services on this route, but First Great Western will provide an enhanced service.

The Authority has also invited proposals from Wessex Trains to run services on the route. It is currently considering these.

Mr. Drew

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will carry out an investigation into the ability of train operating companies to cease fulfilling timetabled services. [92071]

Mr. Jamieson

[holding answer 20 January 2003]The minimum level of services which train operators are required to provide is prescribed in franchise agreements, primarily through the Passenger Service Requirement.

Martin Linton

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what remedial action has been taken by train operating companies with passengers in excess of capacity as required by the terms of their franchise; how much funding is committed to this by Central Government; and how the money is distributed; [92128]

(2) how much has been spent on reducing overcrowding on trains in each of the last five years by (a) South West Trains, (b) Silverlink, (c) South Central, (d) Thameslink and (e) Railtrack; and if he will make a statement. [92127]

Mr. Jamieson

Investment by train operating companies and Network Rail (formerly Railtrack) is made for a variety of reasons including tackling overcrowding. It is not possible to ascribe particular amounts to a single objective. Nor is there a single amount committed by Central Government.

Where train operators breach their 'Passengers In Excess of Capacity' limit the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) can require an action plan to be produced. The SRA now publish information on these in the June edition of 'On Track'. This is placed in the Library of the House.

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