§ Mr. Burstow
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what plans his Department has to stop train companies adding minutes to their summer timetables in order to reduce the fines paid for late trains; 
(2) what assessment he has made of the announcement by Thameslink that it will increase the journey times on its routes in order to reduce the fines it pays for late services. 
§ Mr. Jamieson
The Passenger Service Requirement (PSR) in franchise agreements prescribes permitted journey times on core routes. Operators cannot exceed the prescribed journey times without the approval of the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA). No extensions of permitted journey times have been approved for Thameslink. For services which are not part of the PSR operators agree both train paths and journey times with the infrastructure manager (Network Rail). However, journey times for similar services are usually close because of the way the timetable is constructed.
§ Mr. George Osborne
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library a copy of the letter of engagement between his Department and Schroders Salomon Smith Barney of 31 August 2001, concerning the future of Railtrack Plc; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Jamieson
The letter of engagement referred to is a commercially confidential agreement between the Department and Schroder Salomon Smith Barney (SSSB) and so would not be appropriate to place in the Library. SSSB were engaged by the Department on 31 August 2001 to provide financial advice on matters relating to Railtracks financial difficulties.
§ Mr. Rosindell
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will make a statement on the Greater Anglia rail franchise; 129W
(2) what recent discussions his Department has had with (a) First and (b) the Strategic Rail Authority in relation to the Greater Anglia rail franchise; 
(3) what reasons First has been excluded from the bidding process for the Greater Anglia rail franchise. 
§ Mr. Jamieson
Departmental officials met First Group representatives on 3 April. Departmental officials and Ministers regularly meet the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) to discuss rail issues, including issues relating to franchises. The decision on those selected to bid for the Greater Anglia franchise is a matter for the SRA. The decision followed a detailed qualification process, which is confidential in respect of the commercial propositions put forward. Arriva Trains Ltd., GB Railways plc and National Express Group plc were confirmed as bidders on 1 April 2003, with Invitations To Tender issued on 15 April. Detailed proposals are to be submitted to the SRA by 1 September.
Drivers Operators 2000–01 2001–02 2002–03 2000–01 2001–02 2002–03 Tampering with tachograph machine/chart 459 495 379 98 51 61 Removal of tachograph chart 21 37 40 7 13 11 Total 480 532 419 105 64 72