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15 Oct 2002 : Column 713W—continued


Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with rail companies on (a) the modernisation of trains and (b) the extension of services through the night. [74470]

Mr. Jamieson: None. These would be matters for the train operating companies to take forward with the Strategic Rail Authority.

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many miles of new railway have been constructed since 1997. [73956]

Mr. Jamieson: Annual figures for the renewal of the rail network are as follows:

Financial yearLength of track in km
1997–98456 1)
1998–99397 2)
1999–00517 3)
2000–011064 4)
2001–02983 5)


1. Railtrack's 1998 Network Management Statement

2. Railtrack's 1999 Annual Reconciliation Statement

3. Railtrack's 2000 Annual Reconciliation Statement

4. Railtrack's 2001 Annual Return to the Rail Regulator

5. Railtrack's 2002 Annual Return to the Rail Regulator

Rail Complaints

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the change in the number of complaints to the Rail Passengers Council in the last 12 months. [73735]

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Mr. Jamieson: The Rail Passengers Council (RPC) is required to publish an annual report to the Chairman of the Strategic Rail Authority, whose responsibilities include protecting passenger rights. The overall number of complaints handled by the RPC between 2001 and 2002 rose by around 3 per cent., from 14,149 to 14,528. This increase was not uniform, with some areas, such as the Southern and Midlands regions, experiencing a fall in complaints. The main causes for complaints this year were train performance and service quality, redress and reimbursement and facilities and service at stations.

Railway Crime

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to tackle crime on the railways. [73807]

Mr. Jamieson: The Government are committed to reduce crime and the fear of crime wherever it occurs in the transport system.

The British Transport Police work with the rail industry, local police forces and other agencies to deliver a safe railway environment free from disruption and the fear of crime. Our Policy Statement on Passenger Rail Franchising includes improvements in safety and personal security among the benefits the SRA might deliver through franchises.

We are involved in or support a number of specific initiatives including the Secure Stations Scheme, the National Route Crime Group, a pilot secure transport route along the Manchester (Victoria) to Clitheroe rail line and a joint project with the Strategic Rail Authority on ways to improve personal security in train travel.

Central Railways

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to receive the latest report and advice from the SRA on Central Railways; and when it will be published. [74442]

Mr. Jamieson: The Strategic Rail Authority has now delivered its report about Central Railways' proposals. Publication of the report will be a matter for the SRA.

Rail Operators (Cycles)

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the rail operating companies that provide accommodation for cycles on (a) peak and (b) off-peak journeys; what the average number was of cycles carried per rail journey in 2001; what plans the Government have to increase the number of cycles carried by rail operators; and if he will make a statement. [73531]

Mr. Jamieson: The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) requires franchise operators to provide facilities for cycles on existing rolling stock subject to what is reasonably practicable given the type of rolling stock currently used and the nature of the service provided. In

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accordance with Directions and Guidance from the Government the SRA is working with the operators to provide reasonable and secure facilities on board new rolling stock and at stations. The table below sets out

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which train operating companies provide accommodation for cycles on their peak and off-peak services. Information on the average number of cycles carried in 2001 is not available.

Train operating companies that provide accommodation for bicycles 1

Train operating companyCycles accommodated in peak 2 Cycles accommodated off-peak
Anglia Railways Train ServicesYesYes
Arriva Trains MerseysideYesYes
Arriva Trains NorthernNoYes
Central TrainsMost servicesMost services
Chiltern Railway CoNot on services to and from London or Birmingham Snow HillYes
ConnexNot on services to and from LondonYes
First Great EasternNot on services to and from LondonYes
First Great WesternYesYes
First North WesternYesYes
Gatwick ExpressYesYes
Island LineYesYes
Midland Main LineHigh Speed Trains onlyYes
Silverlink Train ServicesNot on services between Wolverton and LondonYes
South CentralNot on services to and from LondonYes
South West TrainsNot on suburban services to and from LondonYes
Thameslink RailNot on services to, through or from LondonYes
Thames TrainsNot on services to and from LondonYes
Virgin TrainsMost services, except Virgin Train Rail LinksMost services, except Virgin Train Rail Links
WAGN RailwayNot on services between Finsbury Park and Moorgate or into Cambridge in the morning peakYes
Wales & Borders TrainsNot on some Valley Lines servicesYes
Wessex TrainsNot on services between Exmouth and Paignton—Exeter Central; Weston-Super-Mare and Bath Spa—Bristol Temple Meads/Filton Abbey Wood; Bristol Temple Meads—Bath SpaYes


1 On some services advance booking, limited spaces and charges may apply. Some operators do not accept tandems or tricycles. No restrictions usually apply to fully folded folding cycles.

2 Peak services apply Monday–Friday excluding Bank Holidays, and the duration of peak hours varies between operators. Unless otherwise specified peak restrictions apply to services into the indicated terminal in the morning and out of that terminal in the evening.

Railway Consultations

Mr. David: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has for statutory consultation between local authorities and rail authorities. [73792]

Mr. Jamieson: Section 206 of the Transport Act 2000 requires the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA), in formulating its strategies, to consult the Scottish Ministers, the National Assembly for Wales, the Rail Regulator and other such persons as it thinks fit. Beyond this, the Secretary of State's Directions and Guidance to the SRA make clear that he expects the Authority to carry out the appropriate level of consultation with those likely to be affected by its actions. The SRA has also published its policy on consultation, which can be found on its website. We see no reason to impose further statutory consultation requirements on the SRA.

Virgin Trains

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take action to ensure that the benefit of compensation paid to Virgin Trains in respect of delays caused by failure of Railtrack infrastructure are passed to the passengers who have endured those delays. [73818]

Mr. Jamieson: Compensation to passengers for delays and cancellations to train services is covered by the Passenger's Charter which every franchised train operating company is required to publish and which applies to all train operators services on all routes. Any passengers who have been delayed and have made claims will have had their claims for compensation dealt with by Virgin Trains.

Vehicle Inspectorate/Traffic Area Network

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the proposed changes affecting the Vehicle Inspectorate and the Traffic Area Network are; if he will list the organisations consulted; if he will give the timetable for the integration of the computer systems of the two organisations, with the estimated cost; and if he will make a statement. [74345]

Mr. Spellar: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State on 23 July 2002 [Official Report, columns 964–65W]. In line with usual conventions regarding machinery of government changes, there was no consultation with external organisations prior to the announcement. Decisions on the structure of the new organisation, including the extent and speed of integration of its computer systems, will be made within

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the context of the strategy for improved customer service across the agencies in the DVO group and the delivery of e-enabled services to the motorist.

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