Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Minutes of Evidence


Examination of Witnesses (Questions 680 - 685)

WEDNESDAY 22 NOVEMBER 2000

SIR PHILIP BECK, MR STEVEN MARSHALL AND MR RICHARD MIDDLETON

  680. Mr Middleton, what are you doing to the poor old Post Office, who have been really very badly treated by you?
  (Mr Middleton) Can I just say that people will get their Christmas mail and they will get their Christmas parcels. The Royal Mail have put alternative arrangements in place for first-class mail; sadly, much of it is now going by air and we will have to work very hard to get that business back. But the bulk of the second-class mail, which normally moves by train, is still moving by train.

  681. You know, Mr Middleton, they do not feel you are treating them very well?
  (Mr Middleton) I know they do not; and we are not treating them very well.

  682. And you really can assure us that that bit of the mail that you are going to be left with will arrive somewhere near this Christmas, and not next Christmas?
  (Mr Middleton) Yes, I can assure you of that.

  683. Can I ask you one other thing then, gentlemen. If you find that your reorganisation and your shuffle at top level has not produced not only all the engineering changes but also the safety changes, would you expect to have to look again at how the organisation is responding to the pressures of the existing system in the railway industry?
  (Mr Marshall) So, if I can be clear on the direction of the question, that is talking about our current structure and whether Railtrack should look at it?

  684. Yes.
  (Mr Marshall) If clearly we failed then it is inevitable that questions would be asked, but we do not intend to fail.

  685. And, finally, how long will it be before you take decisions, major decisions, like whether or not you take maintenance back in-house?

  (Mr Marshall) It is going to take us a number of months, on maintenance; it is difficult to be entirely precise because it is very early days yet, but several months, several months.

  Chairman: Thank you very much for coming to see us this afternoon. Doubtless we shall see you again.


 
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