Previous SectionIndexHome Page

Mr. Jamieson: I am saying that the power supply problems, as they exist, will be addressed by that time. It is hoped and anticipated that the problems will be dealt with in that time. The hon. Gentleman will appreciate that it is difficult to make an assessment because the amount of power required for the new units and how many will come into commission by that time are matters for the company. Another factor is delivery from the rolling stock companies. As I have said, that would certainly be our ambition.

The Strategic Rail Authority has funded a number of workstreams aimed at identifying the enhancements to the network that might be necessary. Last month it agreed funding for the establishment of a dedicated project team within Railtrack charged with continuing this work, and putting a plan together to resource and deliver it.

The hon. Gentleman mentioned the strategic plan objective for Connex to extend platforms to accommodate 12-car trains to increase capacity and reduce overcrowding. Extended platforms on the Dartford via Bexleyheath and Sidcup routes will be included in the Thameslink 2000 project while extending platforms on the Gillingham and Dartford via Greenwich route is also proposed in the strategic plan. I hope that that is also good news for the hon. Gentleman.

The hon. Gentleman was also concerned that Railtrack in administration may be affecting morale and subsequent performance. Railtrack was a company that failed. It had

12 Feb 2002 : Column 188

massive cost overruns, and in the end it was incapable of delivering the improvements that we and its customers had every right to see. I hope to see Railtrack come out of administration quickly, but the length of administration is set by the administrator, who has duties both to its railway and to the shareholders of Railtrack plc, and to is creditors. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman shares the Government's objective that the process can be completed as quickly as possible.

It is not surprising that uncertainty has affected Railtrack staff since the company went into administration, but the Government remain committed to providing £30 billion of support to the railways over the 10-year plan. Railtrack being taken into administration has not altered that commitment one jot. I am sure that that will be good news to the hon. Gentleman.

We now have an opportunity to meet the ambition that the hon. Gentleman and his constituents have to create and operate a better railway system. It will be for the administrator to make recommendations to Ministers on the most appropriate structure for Railtrack to emerge from administration.

This has been a short but useful debate. Sadly, I have not had the time to cover all the points made by the hon. Gentleman and the hon. Member for Beckenham—

The motion having been made after Ten o'clock, and the debate having continued for half an hour, Madam Deputy Speaker adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.

 IndexHome Page