UNCORRECTED TRANSCRIPT OF ORAL EVIDENCE To be published as HC 837-xlv

HOUSE OF COMMONS

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE

taken before the

COMMITTEE

on the

CROSSRAIL BILL

DAY FORTY-FIVE

Tuesday 27 June 2006

Before:

Sir Peter Soulsby, in the Chair

Mr Brian Binley

Kelvin Hopkins

Mr Philip Hollobone

Mrs Linda Riordan

 

In the absence of the Chairman, Sir Peter Soulsby was called to the Chair.

 

Ordered: that Counsel and Parties be called in.

12224. SIR PETER SOULSBY: The Committee this morning will be hearing several petitions but I think it would be convenient for us to begin as we normally do by asking Mr Mould to set the scene for us.

 

The Petition of Maidenhead Civic society & Others.

 

MR TIMOTHY MOULD and MR REUBEN TAYLOR appeared on behalf of the Promoter.

 

MR NIGEL COCKBURN appeared on behalf of the Petitioner.

 

MR JOHN McINTOSH appeared as Agent.

12225. MR MOULD: Can I start by indicating what my understanding is of the state of the Petitioners that are on the list. We are going to begin by hearing the petition of Maidenhead Civic Society; they are already primed and ready to go on my right. Axa Sun Life plc I understand we have settled with. Villiers Park Properties we are well on the way to settling with. We do not expect them to be here. The same is the position with the BBC. The Royal Borough are here and they will be appearing. Laing Homes we have settled with. Boyne Valley Property again are not appearing. We have not quite settled with them but we are well on the way. I understand that Mia Forbes Pirie is not to appear. I think she has withdrawn her petition. Thames Reach Residents are appearing this evening. We expect Joanne Bainton may appear. We are not entirely sure about that but we are working on the basis that she will. I think you already know that Westbourne Park Villas residents will be appearing. They were to appear last week but they were deferred until today.

12226. SIR PETER SOULSBY: So those last three are all for this evening ?

12227. MR MOULD: Yes, and they are all effective as far as we know. Today's business is essentially concerned with Maidenhead, so we are going west. This evening we chop and change a bit but we will come to that later. Because you are going to hear from the Civic Society and from the Borough Council and then this evening from Thames Reach residents, it seems to me it would be convenient to open in a little more detail and try and set the scene in relation to all of those Petitioners. I hope the Committee will find that helpful.

12228. I can say straightaway that my understanding is that in relation to Maidenhead there are two principal areas of debate. The first of those is the adequacy of parking provision following completion of the Crossrail scheme and I think more generally the station proposals themselves to meet anticipated demand for passengers at and beyond the date of opening Crossrail in about 2016. That is the first issue. Mr Taylor is going to be dealing with that issue as and when it arises.

12229. The second issue is concerned with Crossrail's proposals for the overhead electrification of the Maidenhead railway bridge which is a fine Brunel designed railway bridge which carries the Great Western main line and the relief lines at that location over the River Thames at Maidenhead. It is listed Grade II*, reflecting its architectural and historic value. That is one part of that issue, and the second is, in relation to that the proposal of Crossrail, to commission a small worksite compound at Guards Club Park, which lies on the west bank of the Thames at that point, to serve overhead line electrification works to the western side of the bridge. That is the second main area of concern and debate that you are going to be hearing about during the course of the day.

12230. Turning first of all to Maidenhead station, can we put up please document 14604D-012? (Same done) This is a plan which we can look at very briefly just to give you an overview of the proposals at Maidenhead station. As you know, Maidenhead is the western terminus for Crossrail and what we see here is a stabling and turnback facility which is proposed to serve the terminus, and that is in this location here, and then Maidenhead station itself, which is the subject of works in order to enlarge the ticket hall at this point, to provide a new bay platform to serve the Marlow branch line at platform six, to extend the existing island platform which will serve Crossrail trains, to adapt the eastern subway of the two subways beneath the platforms broadly in this location, proposing to adapt and enlarge the eastern subway so as to provide access both by stair and lift to the platforms which serve Crossrail and passive provision for lift access to serve platform one which will exclusively be serving the main line service. Also proposed are works to the western subway in order to make full access to the station from the south, so there will be access both from the north and from the south. The town centre is broadly to the north-east, so the pedestrian route is through the station approach and then across broadly in this location, which will give access to the town centre to the north-east of the station area itself. We have shown on this plan various worksites which are proposed in order to serve the construction phase. I will not say anything more about that. I am not sure that any particular issues arise in relation to those but you will be hearing more about those later on.

12231. Can we please put up the computer generated image of the new station? (Same done) For those who have it this is to be found on page 11, volume 3, of the Environmental Statement. I am going to show you this because I want you to see what the station proposals are in visual. There you have it. There you have the main line. There you have the relief line which will serve the Crossrail service. There is the Marlow branch line . The station buildings are to the north of the station itself. Here we have the proposals for a new substantially enlarged ticket hall facility. I mentioned the new bay platform, platform six, to serve the Marlow branch with extensions to platforms two and three to serve the Crossrail service, the island platform, and I mentioned the eastern and western subways. The eastern subway, as you can see, has stair access to all the platforms and lift access for full accessibility to the island platforms two, three, four and five, and passive provision for a lift to serve platform six. There is a proposal to provide southern access into the ticket hall via the subway as well as access from the main station forecourt area to the north. Those are the basic proposals in relation to Maidenhead.

12232. Turning to the question of car parking, can we put up 14604D-001? (Same done). We have been aware of the concerns of the Royal Borough in particular about the impact of Crossrail on car parking at the station during the construction phase and beyond and we have been working on minimising the loss of parking spaces during those periods. What I have put up before you here briefly is just an indication of the phased approach that we are proposing, set out in correspondence and petition response documents to the Royal Borough. The construction phase is proposed to comprise six phases. You have the first three phases on this series of plans. The green area is existing available car parking at the forecourt car park, the Silco car park here, and the Shoppenhanger car park which is here. Then as you pass through the phases what comes out as a bright purple keying is parking temporarily lost during the phase and then the lighter blue or mauve colour is car parking reinstated or new car parking provided during each phase. Because the issue is about what the permanent position is following the construction works I will not take up time on this now, but you can see this is the proposal. What I can tell you is that until the final stage of the work we are confident that we can maintain car parking at its existing level. It is only at the final phase and permanently that there is a net loss, we think, of a minimum of ten spaces. If we go to 002 we can see that this is the final arrangement here and you can see a reduced area of car parking in the forecourt area and the car parks to the south as existing but an enlarged car parking area in this location, the Silco car park, compared to the existing, which compensates for the reduction in car parking elsewhere save for the ten spaces that I mentioned a minute ago. Our current position is set out in a letter to the Royal Borough of 22 June, which is at document 604-008 in your files. I will not ask for that to be put up but that explains the position.

12233. The particular issue that we understand falls to be considered today is whether further provision should be made as part of the Crossrail proposals for additional car parking to accommodate passenger growth. That is the particular matter that the Royal Borough places before the Committee for consideration.

12234. That is all I propose to say at this stage about the Maidenhead station issues. Turning to the Guards Club Park and Maidenhead Bridge can we put up please 604D-005? (Same done) This is an aerial photograph taken from the north. Here is the Brunel railway bridge passing in an east-west direction carrying the two main lines and the two relief lines. This is Windsor and Maidenhead on the western side of the river and South Bucks District Council on the east. This is the Guards Club Park itself, access is down Oldacres, which is this residential road here. This is a public park and you see here an island. This is the Guards Club island, and just going back here is a rather attractive Victorian footbridge, also listed, which gives access from the park to the island.

12235. Put up please 006. (Same done) As the Committee is aware, Crossrail is to be an electrified railway and most of the existing overground Network Rail infrastructure that is to be used by Crossrail is electrified at 25,000 volts AC. The only exception to that is the section of the Great Western line between Stockley and Maidenhead. The proposal is to extend the existing 25,000 volt AC overhead electrification system to Maidenhead to accommodate Crossrail to its western terminus. That is consistent with the industry standard which has been in place since 1960. It is also consistent with the requirements of European Community interoperability standards and with Health and Safety Executive safety principles which favour overhead line electrification facilities over third rail at 750 volts direct current. That is the broad basis for the proposals that we put forward.

12236. Maidenhead Bridge presents the need for sensitive handling of the overhead line extension equipment. The reason for that will be self-evident to the Committee. It is an important architectural and historic structure, but it is, of course, and has always been a fully functional part of the railway infrastructure. It was designed and built by Brunel for that purpose and it remains so, and so, whilst its architectural and historic value is properly recognised by a listing at Grade II*, it is entirely consistent with that in our case that sensitive proposals for the adaptation of the bridge to meet the modern requirements of the railway network can be properly accommodated. Our proposals are for a bespoke arrangement here. The usual arrangement for overhead line electrification to serve the Crossrail is a portal frame system which involves a mast on either side of the track with a cross beam. You will be familiar with that; it is a very familiar site on railway lines throughout the country. Here we are proposing a more sensitive and bespoke system which is shown on the plan in front of you, which involves five rows of three masts which will be located in existing recesses in bridge parapets and a centre mast to carry the electric lines. These will be lightweight structures, circular steel hollow sections, and you can see these shown on the plan. First of all, looking at the long section on the bridge, you can see the location of the five mast gantries which are spaced at about 50 metres, which is consistent with what is required under prevailing industry standards, and in cross-section you can see an example of the two side masts here and then the centre mast, the double mast, each one on a cantilever arrangement which will obviously carry the overhead electric line to serve the railway.

12237. The bridge structure itself is rather an unusual one. Ordinarily you would expect the interior of the bridge above the arches to be made up by solid fill, by ballast and so on. Here we have a series of longitudinal brick walls which run along the bridge and then overlaid on those are slats and so the track is running on that rather strange voided structure, and that creates its own challenges from an engineering perspective. What is proposed in a nutshell is that concrete bases will need to be located at each of the recesses to foot the masts themselves and that will be the first stage of the works, preparing those foundations. The second stage will be the installation of the mast structures and the electric lines. The second stage will be carried out entirely from the railway, so there will be no land-based works in the second phase. It is the first stage which requires the provision of small works compounds to the east and to the west of the bridge and it is the western one which is proposed to be located in Guards Club Park. The duration of that worksite is expected to be of the order of 13 months.

12238. Just before I turn to say a little bit more about the worksite proposals themselves, I have explained in brief the arrangements for providing overhead line electrification. Mr Berryman will explain that in more detail later. Perhaps I can just put up 604D-007 (same done) because we want to impress upon the Committee, with respect, that the arrangements we propose have recently been carried out successfully on another very important historic bridge structure on the Great Western line. This is the Wharncliffe Viaduct. This is Grade I listed and you can see that this was recently fitted with overhead line electrification equipment as part of the Heathrow Express service and essentially the same physical infrastructure was provided. You can see that this is an example of the side mast. You can see on the photograph shown on the screen in front of you the side masts and the centre mast here and you can see spacing broadly in accordance with that which is proposed at Maidenhead, and so there is a clear precedent for this. This was an approach which was agreed between the Promoters of that scheme and English Heritage and the responsible local authorities. Negotiations have been continuing between ourselves, English Heritage and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and South Bucks District Council just in the same way in relation to the Maidenhead Bridge with a view to adopting a similarly sensitive and appropriate arrangement here. It is important that the Committee is aware of that precedent.

12239. I turn finally to the construction arrangements in relation to that first phase that I mentioned a minute ago, and that is the installation of the foundations. Can we please put up 604A-001? (Same done) Here we have a plan looking down on to the bridge. There is the bridge, here is the Guards Club Park, here is the island and here is the Victorian footbridge. There are proposals to site two worksite compounds, first, to serve the eastern side of the bridge a compound here on Network Rail land within the area of South Bucks District Council, and to serve the western side a compound here, just in the area of the existing public car park for the Guards Club parking, just straying slightly into the park itself, and access to the western worksite via Oldacres as I show down here, retaining five public parking spaces shown highlighted in yellow.

12240. What is proposed in relation to this worksite is that it should serve as a storage area, an area which will accommodate staffing facilities in accordance with legal requirements, and will provide a delivery area for scaffolding poles and other scaffolding equipment which will then be used to erect scaffolding towers which are required to be located during the first phase of the construction, the foundation construction phase, adjacent to each of the mast locations. I am just pointing out those scaffolding locations that will be served from the Guards Club site. There is also a need for two scaffolding towers to serve the central pier. These will be accessed from the island and in order to get to the island it will be necessary to go by foot carrying the scaffolding equipment over the bridge and then down the existing path through the island to the worksite locations. Those to the west will obviously be served by the worksite of the Network Rail land on the western bank. That is what is proposed.

12241. In order to get a flavour of the existing environment of the park, I will show the Committee one or two photographs. First of all 04D 018. Looking from the west, looking down on to the bridge and the park, we have the bridge, the island and the park, the access road Oldacres and the park entrance. In the south-western corner of the park, you can just see the existing parking area through trees. That is the area within which the small worksite compound is proposed to be located.

12242. Could we turn, please, to O4D 008. This is a view within the park, standing adjacent to the riverbank looking northwards. We can see the existing pathway which we propose to use in order to gain access on foot to the bridge. There are two views of the footbridge, and the photograph in the bottom left-hand corner is a view from broadly the same location but this time looking somewhat to the east, and you can see the bridge just giving access to the island on the right-hand side of the photograph. There is then a photograph looking south, where you can see the main railway bridge beyond the footbridge in the foreground.

12243. Could we turn, please, to 604A 002. I am going to show you the layout proposals for the worksite. This shows the south-western corner of the park, the existing car-park, giving access to Oldacres. It is proposed that there should a fenced compound, which will accommodate three site huts, and will provide storage for materials, small tools, scaffolding and so on. To gain access for Crossrail vehicles via the access way we will need to take out the posts - and they will be replaced following the removal of the worksite - to allow full access to HGVs. It is proposed as far as possible to use the existing path through the park itself to gain access on foot to the footbridge. There are some steps which need protection, which will be provided for, and there are proposals to create short lengths of new hard surfacing to allow access to the southern boundary of the park, where access will be gained to the western piers of the bridge. It is a matter for the Royal Borough, for the Civic Society and so forth, but these new areas of hard surfacing could be retained or removed, as desired, at the end of the process.

12244. Could we turn finally to O4D 003. This sets out the proposals for controlling access on foot over the footbridge. This will be required simply to enable us to take the scaffolding equipment that is required to erect the scaffolding towers to serve the central pier of the bridge - hand-carried scaffolding poles and other scaffolding equipment. In order to protect the structure of the bridge, which is clearly sensitive, from any risk of damage during the process of carrying these scaffolding poles to and from the scaffolding area on the island, we have given an indication of some of the protective measures that might be appropriately employed. Of course, that is a matter for discussion and agreement with the local authority, but just to give the Committee an indication of the work we are doing in relation to that issue.

12245. The final document to draw to the Committee's attention at this stage is a letter that we wrote to the Royal Borough on 21 June. It is document 604A 004. I should say that this is a letter that we have written in broadly similar terms to the Civic Society and to the other petitioner this evening, just giving some further details on our proposals for minimising and mitigating the impact of the presence of the worksite within the park.

12246. At page 004, we have given an undertaking that we will limit the worksite to ten per cent of the park, not including the use of the footbridge on the island. That is subject to any agreed changes required by the borough council for environmental mitigation purposes, so that is designed to give the opportunity (a) of reducing the impact of the presence of the worksite and (b) to enable users of the park to continue to use it throughout the period of construction.

12247. We have set out at page 005 the purpose for which the site is required: "... a small amount of storage of scaffolding and associated materials, a small quantity of site accommodation and physical access to the site of the works (ie, Maidenhead Railway Bridge itself)." I have already explained how that site drawing shows an indication of the layout of the compound and the proposals for using existing and small extensions of hard surface paths through the Guard's Club Park. I have drawn attention to the fact that our intention is, subject to those requirements, that the park should remain useable by existing users.

12248. Under duration of the works, I have mentioned the two phases. We would wish to impress upon the Committee that we recognise that the island itself has ecological sensitivity, in particular in relation to bird breeding. We are committed to avoiding any access by Crossrail personnel to the island during the bird breeding season in order to maintain and to safeguard that. That does mean, of course, that the duration of the works may be somewhat extended, and that is why we have said that we think 13 months would be required, but I would wish to stress that, for obvious reasons, for a substantial part of that time there is little or no activity within the compound.

12249. Over the page, please, to 006, I mention the limited use of the footbridge to transport scaffolding materials and the fact that that would be undertaken by workmen on foot. I have shown you some indication of the protective proposals that we have in mind to safeguard the bridge from damage during that period. We expect the use of the bridge for taking scaffolding to and from the tower locations to take no more than a few days at either end of the first phase of the construction, the foundation construction phase.

12250. There is also mention there of the protection of the birds.

12251. If we may turn to the alternatives, we have considered a number of alternatives to the arrangements for Guards Club Park and they are set out. The one to which I would draw your attention is river access. I think it is going to be suggested that we might site a barge or a pontoon in the river to accommodate the worksite. I will ask Mr Berryman to say why that is not a suitable or sensible alternative arrangement. We have considered that and we do not think that is something which comments itself to the scheme.

12252. The only other point I would make at this stage is that there has been concern about works traffic accessing the worksite at the Guards Club Park via Oldacres and I would set out our current position on that. It is a residential road and obviously it accommodates heavy goods vehicles, John Lewis lorries and that kind of thing. In terms of the frequency of lorry journeys, during the peak period of activity at the worksite, which we estimate to be no more than about one to two weeks, we estimate up to seven lorries a day accessing the worksite. Otherwise, during the construction period, it will be about three lorries a week. The peak period will be that short period of a few days when the scaffolding is being set up, and then, at the end of the process, when the scaffolding is being removed.

12253. The issues are concerned with those environmental impacts that I have touched upon and the question as to whether there is an alternative which commends itself to the Committee to the arrangements that I have just outlined.

12254. I have taken a little longer than I normally would. I hope that is helpful to the Committee. I will hand over to the Civic Society.

12255. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Thank you.

12256. MR McINTOSH: Mr Chairman, I would like briefly, if I may, to introduce Maidenhead Civic Society to you, of which I am Chairman. I am supported today by Mr Nigel Cockburn, Mrs Tina Sell and Mr Robert Dawson.

12257. The society is a registered charity and such is apolitical. We are all volunteers and unpaid. The society's purpose is to make Maidenhead a better place by improving what is generally referred to as "amenity" - which equals roughly to the quality of life. It is also something which does not come free and, unfortunately, rarely figures in costings or accountancy.

12258. The society has been in existence for about 40 years. One of the things we have done is the creation of Guards Club Park and the repair of the bridge. Top show that we are not fly-by-nights, we have published a Strategic Review of Amenity for Maidenhead, which covers things like transport, housing, town planning, et cetera.

12259. In principle we welcome the arrival of Crossrail. It is something which potentially should bring benefit to the town, but, as presently proposed, it is feared that it is going to do the reverse and threaten us with a raft of problems both during and after construction. The purpose of us being here today is to try to convert that to a positive result so that Crossrail is an opportunity for making the town a better place and improving its amenity, rather than leaving us with a lot of difficulties afterwards. That is the reason why we are here today.

12260. May I now ask Mr Nigel Cockburn, who is the Chairman of our planning group, to present our response to Crossrail's reply to our petition.

12261. MR COCKBURN: I must apologise, Mr Chairman, if we seem to be a bit naïve in our select committee procedures, particularly with a hybrid Bill, although, as you can probably judge from our ages, all four petitioners have a long experience of life. Would it help you and the Committee if I were to run through, very briefly, each of the five points that support our petition. If we do that, we could have questions, if there are any, after each point.

12262. SIR PETER SOULSBY: That would be sensible.

12263. MR COCKBURN: Thank you. Our five issues are, first, if I can go back to the beginning, the justification for choosing Maidenhead for the western terminal; secondly, the disruption to the town from the provision of the associated infrastructure which is going to be necessary for the terminal; thirdly, the use of the Guards Club Park and the island; fourthly, the gantries on the Grade II listed bridge; and, fifthly, the train service.

12264. SIR PETER SOULSBY: It would be helpful if you were to point out to the Committee what you want of us in terms of the alternatives or changes that you would like to see included in the Bill.

12265. MR COCKBURN: I will attempt to do that, Chairman.

12266. Can I check that you have some pieces of paper: a three-page document from Maidenhead Civic Society dated 27 June; a package of seven exhibits which includes some of the maps and pictures you may have seen before; and, lastly, a sheet with some photos.

12267. SIR PETER SOULSBY: There seems to be some doubt as to whether we have those. (Pause) As you have seen, if you have copies, they can be displayed on the overhead projector, and we can give them numbers and ensure they are circulated to the Members of the Committee afterwards. (Pause) This first document will be known as A134. We will give numbers to the others as you refer to them.

12268. MR COCKBURN: The document starts at page A015 (displayed on screen). Perhaps we can hold that picture in our minds. We will not get to it quite yet.

12269. Our first point is that we do not believe there is any justification for choosing Maidenhead for the western terminus. The evidence that has been provided to support the choice of Maidenhead as the western terminal is inadequate and unconvincing. There appears to have been no research or opinion survey on passenger levels to justify the choice, or to support the assertion that Maidenhead is the first stop that will generate extra passengers. Crossrail's information paper provides no evidence, except to say that the analysis is based on their own projections, which are merely their own forecasts, which are not independent evidence based on specific work that has been undertaken or scientific studies.

12270. Simply, we do not believe the case for Maidenhead as the western terminal has been made. Paper A6, which Crossrail produced, even suggests that Crossrail may later be extended and Maidenhead may not be the final terminus. Anybody who lives there knows that Maidenhead cannot be a transport hub. We understand that there is a better case for Reading, which already has that designation with its multiple rail links and extra facilities. Part of the Promoter's reluctance to extend west appears to be based on cost, but no comparative costs have been given. What about the cost to Maidenhead in terms of the impact on the environment and its amenity? If cost is the issue, why not have the terminus at Slough?

12271. We are amazed that such an important decision on such a major project is based on such scant evidence and that so little work has been to investigate the most appropriate site for the terminus.

12272. Sir, that is our first point. Do you have any questions?

12273. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Perhaps you would present your five points and then we will see if there are any questions at that stage.

12274. MR COCKBURN: Certainly. The second point is the disruption to the town and the provision of the associated infrastructure.

12275. The existing infrastructure in Maidenhead certainly would not support such a major development. The imposition of such a facility without substantial restructuring and the funding to do that would fundamentally change the character of the town and impact adversely on the lives of its residents. The proposal is for the terminal to be on a site which is not big enough and which lacks the necessary infrastructure. This can be seen from the first photo, and the map which is now showing on the screen, page 015, and also, on the following page, 016, figure number 1. You can see the station and the small station forecourt in the middle of the picture and on the map. If we look at the next page, figure 2, page 017, we can see the surrounding roads and houses and the proposal is for the available land to the north as stabling sidings for Crossrail in place of a car park and some light industry. There is not a lot of space to be used and it is all going to be used for Crossrail. This is shown more clearly on the map on the screen.

12276. The loss of the space to Crossrail will restrict the plans for a badly needed integrated bus station and transport interchange at the railway station. Crossrail's proposals will not only add to the amount of traffic but will take away the means for dealing with it. Terminal or no terminal, redevelopment of the station requires a more imaginative solution and serious investment to cope with the knock-on effects on the local infrastructure, on the roads, the car parks, bus station and so on.

12277. The Crossrail proposals, for example, show a reduction in the number of existing car parking spaces at the station: a net loss of 10 rather than an increase. This is totally unrealistic, given that the current provision at the station now is inadequate.

12278. Maidenhead is a small town, as you can see, with a tight-knit town centre, bounded in the east by the River Thames, and to the north, west and south by green belt. As you can see from the first map we saw, there is no room at the station to accommodate any further expansion. The impact of Crossrail and their undertaker will either choke the town to death or put pressure on the green belt.

12279. We are not here to argue the case for locating the terminus in Slough or Reading, but they should also be properly assessed and considered. There is no proof of evidence offered that it should be Maidenhead and no assessment of the potentially damaging effect on the town and its people of the extra passenger traffic, car traffic and parking that the terminal will lead to.

12280. Our concern is that Crossrail threatens to impose a transport hub status on a small riverside town which simply could not cope.

12281. Our third point is: Why use Guards Club Park and Island? The use of Guards Club Park, island and the listed footbridge connecting the two, we submit, is unnecessary and environmentally unfriendly. We suggest that there is a golden opportunity here to use the natural facility, the River Thames, for the transport and storage of materials which would minimise the impact on the environment.

12282. Could we turn to photo number 2, page 021.

12283. This looks south showing Guards Club Park on the right, as we have seen it before, the elegant Edwardian footbridge in the foreground and the island and Brunel's railway viaduct behind. If we then look at the map on the next page we see the same thing from above. The next photo shows the bridge looking at it from the south.

12284. We would like to see the Promoter give proper consideration to alternative sites to store materials and to access the bridge. We suggest it would be as economic and more environmentally friendly, for example, to use barges on the river for transport storage and as a work platform. As you can see from the two left-hand pictures on this separate sheet, if you look at the two pictures on the left, this is looking from Guards Club Park south towards the bridge. There is space there to moor barges between the island next to the bridge and Guards Club Park, so we are between the island and Guards Club Park, and just by the water there is some open space where you could moor some barges. This is on part of the River Thames that is not part of the main channel.

12285. If we look at the Ordnance Survey map at the back of our pack, page 26, there are some sites where the barges could be loaded and some materials stored. There is a slipway and boatyard just north of Maidenhead road bridge. There is the main bridge, there is the road bridge and just north is the slipway and boatyard (same indicated). There is some land and a wharf which is for sale across the lane from the gas holder a little further north. That is the gas holder there and just north of it is a piece of land there with a wharf in front of it, and that is for sale.

12286. Also there is a rowing club here with a big car park just opposite the island, but I do not suggest we use that or there will be even more objections.

12287. The use of the barges would have less impact on the area and avoid the need to use the park and surrounding narrow roads. The wildlife would be less affected and the contractors would not have to use the unsuitable Grade II listed Edwardian footbridge to the island.

12288. Our fourth point is why do we have to have gantries along the Grade II listed Brunel bridge? We believe that more work should be done to explore the alternatives to overhead gantries or cantilevered supports, which, however you disguise them, will deface this elegant, listed landmark. We note that the proposer has shifted position after some reconsideration and it is now possible to locate the gantries within the internal width of the bridge rather than bolting them to the outside of the bridge. The Civic Society remains convinced that the insulation of overhead electrification would be to deface this historic bridge. We urge further consideration to explore alternative solutions for electrification, such as an electrified third rail. Again, there is no evidence offered that alternative solutions like this have been investigated or costed. If you look at photo three, which is the picture of the bridge from the towpath, the gantries will deface this world famous bridge on a picturesque part of the River Thames with one of the longest brick spans in the world that was immortalised in William Turner's great painting.

12289. We are encouraged that at this stage the design has not been finalised. However, it is not considered acceptable to us for the Bill to be passed without it being specified as subject to separate planning approval. Ways must be found to remove the visual impact of any electrification gantries.

12290. Finally, and lastly, why should Crossrail's proposal result in a worse train service from Maidenhead? Crossrail threatens to replace what is already an inadequate service with an even worse one. Their proposal will take up 50 per cent of the rail track from Maidenhead into Paddington and provider a slower service. Again, no evidence is provided to justify demand for a service that stops at every station whereas commuters to London we know, as we found this morning, that there is a demand for a fast train service into Paddington. Thank you.

12291. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Thank you, Mr Cockburn. Do you intend to call witnesses?

12292. MR COCKBURN: No, we do not.

12293. SIR PETER SOULSBY: In which case, Mr Mould?

12294. MR MOULD: Sir, what I would like to do is to call Mr Berryman to deal with the first, third and fourth of the issues which have been put before you by the Petitioners and then Mr Taylor proposes to call Mr Anderson to deal with the second and fifth issues. We will do it in that order if we may.

12295. SIR PETER SOULSBY: That is fine. Mr Cockburn and Mr McIntosh will have an opportunity to question the witnesses.

 

MR KEITH BERRYMAN, recalled

Further examined by MR MOULD

12296. MR MOULD: Mr Berryman, the Committee have seen and heard from you many times, but just for the benefit of the Petitioners can you remind us of your position in relation to the project?

(Mr Berryman) I am managing director of CLRL, which is the company established by the Department for Transport and Transport for London to promote the Crossrail scheme.

12297. Thank you. The first point raised by the Petitioners was the lack of any established justification for choosing Maidenhead as the terminus for Crossrail. I think the logic of their argument is that the case should be made as to why the service should not continue to Reading. Can you please explain to the Committee why is it that Crossrail does not plan to serve Reading? I think you have got five points in relation to that.

(Mr Berryman) Yes. I think the issue with serving Reading is a combination of operational issues, costs and engineering issues, passenger numbers, passenger attractiveness. Crossrail is planned substantially as providing a stopping service for commuters into London and a Crossrail service which ran from Reading would take about 45 minutes to reach London compared with the current express train services which take about 26 minutes for the same journey. Moreover, the Intercity expresses are very frequent from Reading. We would expect the attractiveness of passengers going to London from Reading on Crossrail to be minimal. In fact, our forecasts show that there would only be a net increase of about 100 passengers for the Crossrail service from Reading. The cost of doing it is significant. Our current estimate is that it would be about 370 million at first quarter 2002 prices. The number of passengers attracted and the benefits are disproportionate to each other.

12298. Can you please explain what physical and operational alterations would be required at Reading Station if Crossrail was to be accommodated at Reading as its western terminus?

(Mr Berryman) The first thing, of course, is that it is not just at Reading Station, eventually we would have to electrify the line from Maidenhead to Reading, including raising bridges and other physical alterations such as we are proposing on the section to Maidenhead. There would be substantial remodelling required at Reading Station itself. Reading Station, as I think has already been mentioned in previous evidence, is a bottleneck on the Great Western Main Line and it needs some restructuring before it can work. There are no possible turn-round platforms which could be used by Crossrail at the moment, so there would need to be extensive modification to Reading Station. In addition, we would need to provide additional sidings there. We would need probably an additional ten or so trains to serve the extra service.

12299. Thank you. Although the current scheme is proposed to terminate at Maidenhead, what is the position in relation to extending to Reading at some future date?

(Mr Berryman) It would be physically possible to extend to Reading. The layout is designed so that it is extendable. There are a number of precedents for that on other projects. I think one of the ones which are freshest in my mind is the electrification to Cambridge. Initially train services were only electrified as far as Royston and, I think, Bishop's Stortford and at a later date they were extended to Cambridge, so a similar kind of thing could be done here if circumstances changed and it became clear that there was sufficient demand for a Crossrail service to Reading to justify it.

12300. Do you want to say anything more about the operational problems arising from an extension to Reading in so far as the proposed metro service is concerned?

(Mr Berryman) The further out you go the more chance there is of disruption to services when they get into town, so the more difficult it is to keep accurate time keeping and keep trains presenting within the very narrow window we have available for them to do so.

12301. That is Reading. Let us go the other way now. Can you just help the Committee with the possibility of terminating the service before Maidenhead, for example at Slough?

(Mr Berryman) The problem if we went to Slough would be the difficulty of providing sufficient trains to service the area beyond Slough, those are the small stations of Maidenhead and Twyford, which would mean we would have to operate a much more intense residual diesel service to serve those stations and it would mean that we would be short of capacity as we would get into London because we would have our Crossrail trains and in addition we would have the extra trains required to serve the demand between Slough and Reading. At the moment we only have a relatively small number of those trains because we are effectively servicing only one station, which is Twyford, but if we were to stop at Slough and have ten more of those that would lead to capacity problems and also certainly a requirement for additional tracks as we got into the centre of London.

12302. As the Petitioner mentioned, we have set out the selection of the western terminus and the process whereby that was undertaken in Information Paper A6. I wonder if we could put that up, please. If we could turn to page five you can see at the bottom of the page the Maidenhead to Heathrow option and the summary position in relation to that that begins at the bottom of the page. If we turn to the next page, page six, the assessment of the option is dealt with in summary in paragraphs 5.17 to 5.20 and the conclusion in section 6. Do you want to say anything about the point made that there does not appear to have been any investigative assessment of Maidenhead in terms of the benefits it would bring to passengers accessing that station and, indeed, at other stations to the east along the western section of the route?

(Mr Berryman) Yes. There was a significant amount of work done on the various options out on Great Western before we arrived at this decision. Effectively there were three things looked at together: first of all the options, how a timetable would work and how sufficient services could be provided; secondly, the passenger numbers which were based on analysis using the standard model used for all our passenger analysis; and, thirdly, the infrastructure and costs required. This is covered not only in this Information Paper but in the Environmental Statement there is a short section on this topic.

12303. Thank you very much. If the Petitioners would like help in that section we can point the relevant section out to them during the adjournment. I think we have covered points arising under topic one. The next topic I would like you to deal with relates to Guards Club Park and island. Can you help us with the suggestion that the more appropriate means of serving works at the Maidenhead Bridge would be from a barge located adjacent to the bridge on the River Thames?

(Mr Berryman) Yes, I can. The reason Mr Mould has asked me to give evidence on this point is I have had experience of a similar project. I am sorry to say it was as long ago as 1968 when we were building the M6 motorway when we had a similar situation with a bridge pier on an island. Regrettably it was a bridge which had not reached the architectural elegance of the Maidenhead Bridge, and was never likely to, I am sorry to say. Using barge access to islands is practical and if the scale of works is appropriate it is a sensible way to do it, but where the scale of the works is relatively modest the effort required to create the barge landings on the island and to handle materials on and off the barge is disproportionate to the amount of work that is involved. I think that would be the case in this instance because the works, as evidence will be given later, on the island are very minor. We are actually talking about carrying equipment by hand in maximum 25kg loads. It is just not commensurate with the effort that would be required to build a landing stage on the island and to arrange for barges and the inconvenience that it would involve, which would be very considerable.

12304. I do not think that the Petitioners' concern was limited to the use of the island, I think the suggestion was that a barge would be a complete alternative to the need for a worksite to be located within Guards Club Park itself. Do you want to say anything about the practicality of that as an alternative to that part of the construction proposals?

(Mr Berryman) Yes. There are two piers which will require scaffolding to be erected on them in Guards Club Park, so even if you have a barge to access the island you would still have to get into Guards Club Park one way or another, material would still have to be delivered. I cannot think that it would be sensible to deliver it other than by road in that location because you are on the service and you have access to roads. Again, it is the scale of the works that is important and they are very modest works.

12305. I showed the Committee earlier the layout of the plan which showed four scaffolding towers required just to the south of Guards Club Park itself on the western bank of the river, is that right?

(Mr Berryman) That is correct, yes, two on the north side and two on the south side of the bridge.

12306. In relation to those scaffolding towers, if you assume for the purpose of this question that proposal for Maidenhead Bridge stands on overhead electrification, can the overhead electrification equipment that I showed the Committee earlier be installed on the bridge without the need for those scaffolding towers?

(Mr Berryman) Just to make it clear, the actual installation of the equipment, the delivery of the masts, the erection of them, the putting up of the wire, will be done from an electrification train, it will not be done using these scaffolds for access. The reason for needing to have the scaffold is to allow manpower access to get at the foundations which will be required for the masts. It is the construction of the mast foundations rather than the masts themselves which require this access. We may have to do some very, very minor works to the parapets, we are not clear yet because we have got further work to do on that, but we may need to dismantle a very short section of the parapet and replace that afterwards with the same materials. We are talking about access for men only, not delivering any substantial equipment by this route for the obvious reason that the maximum load they can carry is 25kg.

12307. MRS RIORDAN: It could be women.

(Mr Berryman) There actually are, yes.

12308. MR MOULD: That is the first phase of the process I have described, that is the foundation structure phase, as opposed to the second phase which is where you are installing the equipment itself.

(Mr Berryman) Yes, that is correct. Actually, if you like, there is a preliminary phase where there are some high tension cables on the bridge which will need to be moved. Most of that operation will be done from within the bridge but, again, it remains for manpower or womanpower access up to it.

12309. Just a small point. In relation to the possibility of using a barge at least to serve part of the works, in practice how would one get men on the barge in order to work from it?

(Mr Berryman) You would have to have a loading stage somewhere. You would still have the issue of where the barge was loaded. The scale of the works is such that a single barge load would probably take everything you need across. I cannot emphasise enough that we are talking about equipment which is handled by people, it is not big mechanical plant or anything of that sort.

12310. That is the fourth issue. The fifth issue was the question of why gantries at all on the Maidenhead Bridge and the suggestion was a more appropriate alternative to safeguard the bridge's sensitive architectural and historic value would be third rail electrification. Can you help the Committee with that, please?

(Mr Berryman) Yes. The third rail electrification system exists mainly on the old southern region of British Rail. HMRI have taken the view for many years that new third rail systems will not be permitted. Extensions of the existing system are allowed but new third rail systems are not permitted. The reason for this is to do with the safety of the track workers. It goes without saying that a third rail system with an exposed high voltage rail grounded at foot level is intrinsically more dangerous than an overhead system which can be touched by accident. There was a Royal Commission in the 1930s which initially decided that there should be no more third rail. Subsequently in the 1960s there was a further study which reinforced that decision. I do not think we would get consent for this even if we wanted to propose it. It would be extremely dangerous to have a short length of third rail in the middle of what would otherwise be an electrified overhead line system because track workers who are working there would be less familiar with that system. It is a pretty solid rule of safety that you keep things consistent, and this would not be consistent. For that reason we would strongly oppose the third rail.

12311. Is there a European dimension to this?

(Mr Berryman) There is indeed. As you mentioned, there is an Interoperability Directive which does apply to Great Western Main Line which calls for 25,000 volt electrification of railways.

12312. If one was to contemplate seeking to depart from that standard, what would be involved? How would one go about that?

(Mr Berryman) These things are ruled by documents called Technical Specifications and you would have to get a derogation from that. It is a major operation to get a derogation. It is usually only granted where there is absolutely no possibility of complying with the regulations.

12313. I showed the Committee the example of the Wharncliffe viaduct.

(Mr Berryman) Yes. I think there is the Royal Border bridge in Berwick-upon-Tweed which is a similar kind of structure, I think it is Grade I listed, where similar kinds of masts have been used. There are many precedents for this on Grade I and Grade II listed structures. The key thing is to try and make the design look as if it is an integral part of the whole structure, not just plonk it on top but try and treat it sympathetically and make the appearance of the overall structure, including the masts, satisfactory. You can see on this picture they have done it on the Wharncliffe by making sure that the masts are over piers and give the sort of symmetrical appearance to it. That is the normal process adopted.

12314. That is what we are proposing in this case.

(Mr Berryman) It is indeed.

12315. MR MOULD: Thank you very much.

 

Cross-examined by MR COCKBURN

 

12316. MR COCKBURN: Dealing with the question of Reading, if at some stage in the future it is intended to extend Crossrail to Reading, would it be cheaper to do that now rather than wait until later?

(Mr Berryman) Not materially. Indeed, it could be cheaper to do it later because there are re-signalling proposals for Reading station and the area between Reading and Maidenhead. If that was done that would reduce the cost of the works to us. There are no significant savings in doing all this at the same time, other than those which are caused by not having to mobilise twice and so on, which are relatively minor.

12317. So it is only Crossrail costs that you are looking at; it is not anybody else's costs that you are taking into consideration here.

(Mr Berryman) Well, the costs which will be incurred for re-signalling are part of the normal re-signalling process which goes cyclic through the railway network.

12318. Are you aware that Reading is already a transport hub with all the necessary facilities, services and connections of a transport hub?

(Mr Berryman) Yes, it is a transport hub. It has a very, very good service to central London, as you will be aware, provided by the Intercity trains. It is for that reason we think that we would not attract very many passengers on to Crossrail.

12319. Are you aware that the people of Reading are calling for the terminus to be at Reading?

(Mr Berryman) Yes, they are.

12320. You say all the costings were presented in your paper. I have read your paper and found it somewhat confusing. Can you give us the costs for the terminus being in Maidenhead and, perhaps, also, the costs of the terminus being at Slough? You mentioned £370 million for Reading.

(Mr Berryman) Three-hundred and seventy million additional costs for going to Reading, yes - additional to the costs of the scheme as it stands at present. For Slough there would obviously be some reduction in costs of electrification, but as I said in my evidence-in-chief there would be additional track work required to provide for the necessary residual services to serve the intermediate stations between Slough and Reading.

12321. Have you not costed that out? Can you not tell us what that is?

(Mr Berryman) We have not fully designed that. That is one of the options. Like all these things, one takes each option to a certain level to see if it is going to be viable or not and, at that point, you do not do any work on it; you just establish it is not viable.

12322. How do you decide it is not viable without having done the costings?

(Mr Berryman) The primary reason for deciding whether a railway system is viable is whether it is operable or not. Irrespective of the cost, there is no point in building a system that you do not think will work and will not be able to deliver the trains required for the passengers on offer.

12323. That is where I find your whole case set out in a way which is incomprehensible. Many of the costs are going to be exactly the same, whether it is Maidenhead or Reading or Slough, in terms of all the work ----

(Mr Berryman) Not at all. As I said a moment ago, if you terminate Crossrail services at Slough you have to provide for passengers who live beyond Slough, and that means putting extra services on, and that would involve extra track work. It is at that point that one makes a decision: "Are we going to start designing extra track work or are we just going by line inspection (?)?" It just does not work.

12324. We have got the four lines going from Reading into London and Crossrail will take two of them.

(Mr Berryman) Crossrail is not going to take two of them; Crossrail is going to use two of them. They will be shared, as we will be hearing evidence in the next couple of weeks, with other passenger operators providing services to Reading and, also, with freight operators. So it is not just a question of two tracks that pass over to Crossrail, it is an integrated timetabling operation for the whole system.

12325. It currently takes 45 minutes to get to Paddington from Maidenhead most of the time. It does not seem as if that is going to be improved. Is that correct?

(Mr Berryman) That is not quite correct. There are some faster trains in the peaks, as you will probably be aware. Under the proposed Crossrail timetable there will be some faster trains at the peak as well. I think, from memory, and I do not have the figures in front of me, there will be fast trains which are in the 22-23 minute range which run in the peak. There will be, all day, a service going into Paddington at high level which will take about 32 minutes and there will be a Crossrail service which will take about 38 minutes, but will go into different tunnels I do not have the figures in front of me but from memory those are the times.

12326. MR MOULD: Mr Anderson is going to be able to deal in more detail with those service questions.

12327. MR COCKBURN: On the barge, if it is just a simple matter to use a barge why not do it? Have you costed what it will take?

(Mr Berryman) I did not say it was a simple matter; I said the effort required to create a landing for the barge and the other ancillary bits and pieces you have to do to do it, just make it -- if it was bigger works then it might be a more realistic option but the scale of the works involved here is so small that it just is not justified to start creating barge landings.

12328. You are going to cause all the other disruption to the Guards Club Park and local roads.

(Mr Berryman) I do not think we will be causing very much disruption to either of those things, but we will be hearing evidence on that.

12329. Again, it may not be a direct cost to Crossrail but to the people of Maidenhead.

(Mr Berryman) I do not think there will be any significant costs to the people of Maidenhead. I cannot emphasise enough: the scale of the works is very small.

12330. Lastly, on electrification of the gantries on the bridge, is it technically possible to have a third electrified rail? I get the impression it is, from what you said

(Mr Berryman) Is it technically possible?

12331. Yes.

(Mr Berryman) It is technically possible but it does not mean you would be allowed to do it. Most emphatically, you would not be allowed to do it because of the safety hazards and the general long-term policy issues that that would raise for the operation of the railways.

12332. How easy is it for somebody to actually get up on to that bridge?

(Mr Berryman) Track workers would be up on that bridge all the time. They walk backwards and forwards along the track.

12333. How easy is it for a member of the public who should not be up there to get up there?

(Mr Berryman) It is not very easy, but I am not quite sure what the relevance of that would be.

12334. If the only people who can get up there are people who are track workers, then would they not be used to dealing with electrified rails and be aware of the inherent dangers?

(Mr Berryman) That is my very point: track workers in this area would not be used to dealing with a third rail because there is no other third rail in the area on the western region They would not be familiar with it. So that is why the risks to them would be greater than it is, perhaps, on the southern region, and that is not very clever, I can tell you.

12335. I am clearly not an expert on technical issues, but it does seem a great shame. I think Brunel would be rather disappointed we could not do better.

(Mr Berryman) It is very hard to imagine what another person might think. I imagine Brunel was a person - I do not imagine, I know - who was quite happy to innovate, and I have no doubt he would not have had any worries about this at all.

12336. SIR PETER SOULSBY: That is as far as we need take that!

12337. MR COCKBURN: Thank you.

 

Re-examined by MR MOULD

 

12338. MR MOULD: I am going to see if we can hire the services of a medium and ask the great man what his thoughts would be. We will report back. Just one point, Mr Berryman, arising out of the questions on the alternatives to Maidenhead as a western terminus. You were asked points about Slough. Do you want to say anything to the Committee about the impact of a terminus for Crossrail at Slough on the quality of the service to Maidenhead and to its branch lines which are served by Maidenhead if Slough were to be the Crossrail terminus?

(Mr Berryman) I suppose that is another way of putting what I was trying to get at before. If you made Slough the terminus and you had to have Crossrail trains running from Slough, plus the diesel services which would still be required to serve stations outside Slough, you have two options: you can either seriously deteriorate the service provided by those diesel services because they are sharing tracks with more trains and more stops are being made, or you can put more track work in, and that is the issue which rules against Slough. You need to put either more track work in or, as you have just described it very well, allow for a deterioration of the service for trains beyond Slough.

12339. MR MOULD: Thank you. Sir, that is the only question I had in re-examination. I do not know if the Committee has any points arising.

 

The witness withdrew

 

12340. SIR PETER SOULSBY: I understand from what you said earlier on, Mr Mould, that Mr Taylor will, in a little while, be calling Mr Anderson.

12341. MR MOULD: That is right; to deal with the remaining two points.

12342. SIR PETER SOULSBY: I think it would be convenient, before we hear Mr Anderson, for us to take this opportunity to suspend the Committee for 15 minutes to have coffee and tea in the upper waiting hall. I therefore suspend the Committee.

 

After a short break

 

12343. MR TAYLOR: Thank you, sir. I am going to call Mr Anderson.

 

MR DAVID ANDERSON, recalled

Examined by MR TAYLOR

 

12344. MR TAYLOR: Mr Anderson, can I ask you to explain your relationship to the project, for the benefit of the Civic Society?

(Mr Anderson) I am the Head of Planning for Crossrail.

12345. There are two issues for you this morning, Mr Anderson. Firstly, the implications of Crossrail for changes in services from Maidenhead and, secondly, aspects relating to the current infrastructure (?) at the station. Can we turn, please, to exhibit D025. Here we have got a series of four tables, Mr Anderson, headed service frequencies and journey times from Maidenhead. Can you explain to the Committee what these tables show?

(Mr Anderson) Yes, I can. Beginning with the table at the top, that table shows the difference in train service frequency and the average journey time with and without Crossrail in 2016. So we can see, in the second column, that the total number of trains running into Paddington is the same in both cases and we see that the journey times are also very similar. We have then broken down the train frequency into journey time bands so we can see how many fast trains there are and how many trains in the bands of 30 to 35 minutes. This is the detail behind what Mr Berryman was saying. So we can see, broadly speaking, there are 5 fast passenger trains with Crossrail and 3 to 4 in the other columns. There are more in the brackets 31-35 minutes and so on. I would suggest there is a broadly comparable spread of services over that range. The table below takes the middle peak hour - i.e. the hour from 8 o'clock to 9 o'clock - and again we can see the frequency and the journey times are comparable in the middle of the peak.

12346. To meet the point the Civic Society makes that the service from Maidenhead would be worse with Crossrail compared to without Crossrail, what would you say to that?

(Mr Anderson) I would suggest, on this basis it would not be; it would be comparable.

12347. In terms of the effect Crossrail might have upon people beginning and ending their journeys at Maidenhead station, comparing the with-Crossrail situation to the without-Crossrail situation in 2016, what effect will the change in the nature of the service have on passenger numbers?

(Mr Anderson) It is very little. We do use these assumptions in modelling and forecasting the effect of Crossrail on the number of passengers using the station and we get very similar numbers with and without Crossrail in our forecasts for 2016.

12348. Turning to parking aspects, can you just explain to the Committee briefly what is the general policy with regard to shifting the mode people currently use for transport into the future?

(Mr Anderson) In terms of the work we have done, we have generally assumed that parking provision will stay roughly at current levels, and that, therefore, would constrain the ability of people to drive to a station and park up. We also take into account, obviously, local factors, but at places such as Maidenhead where we see very similar numbers with and without Crossrail we are not going to see a particularly big change in that position. So the parking provision with or without the project would be similar, as are the passenger numbers.

12349. If it were contended - I believe it is - by the Civic Society and others that additional parking should be provided with Crossrail, what assistance would additional parking provide in meeting the general policy objective with regard to the shift of transportation mode used by members of the public?

(Mr Anderson) Well, we take the policy presumption to promote low-cost alternatives to the car (?). Clearly, further parking provision, particularly where there is no obvious increase in demand with Crossrail, as here, would allow more people to drive to the station.

12350. Would that accord with that policy or conflict with it?

(Mr Anderson) Generally not.

12351. The Civic Society, and I believe others, raise concerns about the effect of Crossrail on potential proposals in future for a transport interchange on the forecourt of the station. Start, if we may, with the position as it is at present and without Crossrail. What is the forecourt currently used for?

(Mr Anderson) It is a car park at the moment. There is, obviously, a pick-up and set-down facility and taxis pick up passengers as well.

12352. So if a transport interchange were desired on the forecourt without Crossrail, what would have to occur?

(Mr Anderson) There would be, presumably, displacements of those facilities, particularly for parking, I would imagine.

12353. Would displacement of parking spaces accord or conflict with policy that seeks to take motorists away from the private car?

(Mr Anderson) Clearly, if one was to take the parking away and, therefore, reduce the attractiveness of driving by car that would accord with that policy.

12354. So if we then turn from that position to the position with Crossrail, what effect does Crossrail have on the ability to provide a transportation interchange at the station?

(Mr Anderson) The general proposition is that we put the parking back, broadly, at the same level as before. Clearly there would be an opportunity to develop the facility there if the Borough so wanted to do, and there would be additional take-up for that irrespective of Crossrail.

12355. Can we just turn lastly to exhibit F-016 please? This is an extract from the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Parking Strategy, May 2004. We can see under the heading "Maidenhead" five paragraphs. Paragraph 10.3.3 explains, "The combination of future forecast traffic growth and proposed developments within the town centre are likely to result in a deterioration of traffic conditions in terms of increased congestion and delays. In order to manage these predicted future conditions an effective parking strategy must be developed as a demand management tool." We see at 10.3.4 the guiding principles, "1. To ensure that parking and loading restrictions are effectively introduced to ensure an effective turnover of spaces for short-stay parking. 2. To use a pricing mechanism to reduce the demand for long-stay parking within the town centre and increase utilisation of spaces for short-stay parking ... 3. To direct demand for long-stay parking to locations on the outer edge of the town centre." 10.3.5 says that the fundamental elements of the strategy are, "1. Introduce effective enforcement of on-street parking controls. 2. Introduce tariff structures that support the objective of redistributing long-stay parkers to edge of town car parks. 3. Introduce residential parking schemes on the edge of the town centre to manage the potential effects of displacement." If the parking was constrained at the station in accordance with that particular parking policy what other constraints might one expect the council to be bringing forward in order to restrict the opportunities for people to park and ride at Maidenhead station in the future?

(Mr Anderson) My immediate impulse here is that it is part of the overall approach for managing traffic conditions in the town centre. Obviously, parking controls are one aspect of that. Improving public transport and accessibility to public transport services might be another aspect of that.

12356. And if there were concerns that people might be displaced from the station to park on residential streets what does this policy indicate the step would be that the council would take?

(Mr Anderson) There is a clear indication that they would seek to introduce on-street parking controls.

12357. MR TAYLOR: Thank you very much indeed, Mr Anderson. Those are all the questions I have.

 

Cross-examined by MR COCKBURN

12358. Thank you for producing the schedule which shows that the train service would be comparable in the future but what I do not really understand is that you also said that passenger numbers would be comparable. Is that right?

(Mr Anderson) Yes, that is right.

12359. My fundamental question is, if the passenger numbers are going to stay the same what is the point of having Crossrail come to Maidenhead or Slough or anywhere else? Why extend it out?

(Mr Anderson) To answer that question we need to look at Maidenhead in the context of the overall Great Western service and Mr Berryman has explained some of the operational reasons why we are serving Maidenhead, so that would be the first point Secondly, although the passenger numbers may be similar it does not necessarily mean that is not a good reason. Clearly, the passengers from Maidenhead will have a choice. Those who wish to take the fast train into Paddington will still be able to do so. Those who might want to take advantage of the Crossrail service to continue their journey more directly into central London will also have that opportunity.

12360. But is it not true that they have that choice now?

(Mr Anderson) They do not have the choice of Crossrail now.

12361. In terms of trains to catch into London they have a comparable service now.

(Mr Anderson) In terms of frequency and journey times to Paddington, yes, it will be comparable.

12362. I take that to be a yes.

(Mr Anderson) Yes.

12363. In terms of guaranteeing the new train service in 2016, is that something that Crossrail will guarantee or is it something that the train operator is going to have to guarantee and, if so, what steps have you taken to ensure that that will be guaranteed?

(Mr Anderson) I am not in a position to guarantee any particular service specification. It is obviously a separate process that will be in place to deal with that.

12364. Is that a no?

(Mr Anderson) In terms of what I can guarantee, no, I cannot guarantee a specific service pattern, but clearly what we have got here in this timetable is the integrated timetable that we produced showing how Crossrail would be introduced into the Great Western service pattern. What it does not say is that there will definitely be a specific train of the type that we get in here.

12365. On the parking and the transport infrastructure, again I just find it very difficult to comprehend that you consider that there is going to be no additional requirement for very much of that and that your proposal is that you reduce the car parking spaces by ten. Are you aware where the bus station currently is in Maidenhead?

(Mr Anderson) No, I am not.

12366. It is about a quarter of a mile up from the train station. Would it help the transport to have the bus station at the train station as an integrated facility from a transport point of view?

(Mr Anderson) Yes, clearly there are bus stops outside the station at the moment but if we want to develop a transport interchange there, yes, clearly it would be helpful to add to those facilities.

12367. So we are agreed that having a bus station there would be a good idea for Crossrail, but in any event, if we would like to have it there now, it does need a more imaginative solution for how you deal with the whole transport operation, and is that part of your plans for this station?

(Mr Anderson) No, it is not part of our plans. I see that as principally being for the borough to take forward.

12368. MR COCKBURN: I have no more questions.

 

Re-examined by MR TAYLOR

12369. Mr Anderson, you have agreed that the service to Paddington was comparable with and without Crossrail. Is the service beyond Paddington into central London, for example into the City, comparable with and without Crossrail?

(Mr Anderson) I think that indicates that for those peop0le making that sort of journey there should be an advantage with Crossrail because they will be able to take a train directly to their destination.

12370. And so in terms of people from Maidenhead who, for example, might be stockbrokers working in the city, will Crossrail provide an advantage or a disadvantage compared to the without Crossrail service?

(Mr Anderson) Plainly it will provide an advantage.

12371. So far as the question you were asked about guaranteeing a particular level of service is concerned, is there a guaranteed level of service into the future without Crossrail from Maidenhead?

(Mr Anderson) Not that I am aware of.

12372. The proposal mooted by the Civic Society for relocating the bus station to a site in proximity to the train station, are you aware of any proposals to bring that forward at the moment?

(Mr Anderson) I am not aware of any firm proposals, no.

12373. MR TAYLOR: Thank you very much.

12374. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Thank you very much indeed, Mr Anderson.

 

The witness withdrew

12375. Are you making a closing submission, Mr Mould?

12376. MR MOULD: I am in your hands but it seemed to us that it might be more convenient if we were to hear the three Petitioners who are really concerned with Maidenhead and then we close at the end of the day.

12377. SIR PETER SOULSBY: I am just aware that Mr Cockburn perhaps may wish to make a closing statement and it may be useful to have the benefit of yours in advance. Mr Cockburn, are you planning to make a closing statement?

12378. MR COCKBURN: If I may.

12379. SIR PETER SOULSBY: I think, Mr Mould, it would be helpful to the Committee if you brought together the main points of the Promoter's case.

12380. MR MOULD: Sir, if you do not mind we are going to have this division of labour between Mr Taylor and I, so I will deal with the three issues that I have addressed with Mr Berryman. First of all, why Maidenhead? Mr Berryman has explained to the Committee the reasons why not Reading at this stage and why not Slough. Those are on the record. I will not repeat what he said, but I will just draw attention to one overarching point, an important point of context, that the Committee will wish to have in mind in considering why Maidenhead, and it is perhaps convenient to have up on the screen information paper A6.

12381. The Committee will recall that the first question that arises logically in relation to where Crossrail should extend its service to west of London is why does Crossrail serve the Great Western corridor? The strategic imperatives which give the answer to that question are there set out: "Tackling existing overcrowding", a point Mr Taylor touched on in his re-examination just now, and I will not read out what he said but the Committee will have that in mind. Secondly, "Providing capacity for growth in London", and in particular strategic proposals for encouraging growth in the area of west London around Heathrow, West Drayton, Hayes and Southall. "Providing capacity for growth outside London". "... the transport strategy for the 'Western Policy Area', which includes the section of the GW corridor outside London, aims to improve strategic rail links within and to this policy area. Crossrail is identified in the strategy as a priority scheme for achieving this continued economic growth by providing additional capacity on the Great Western Main Line and by improving connections between London and the important regional centre of Slough." Then, finally, "Improving international connections", and the Committee has already touched in the course of the proceedings upon the justification for a further rail link to Heathrow.

12382. The Committee may think that those underlying strategic arguments to a degree reflect similar points that were being made in relation to the justification of going to Shenfield in the north east, and so the question of why Maidenhead, the more localised questions, needs to be considered in that context. As Mr Berryman explained, the arguments against Reading or Slough and the positive arguments in favour of Maidenhead tell convincingly in our submission in favour of Maidenhead and we have summarised the case in relation to that on page 6 of this information paper at passages that I asked Mr Berryman to comment on. Paragraphs 5.17 to 5.20 indicate that Maidenhead would be the first station on Great Western mainline where Crossrail would attract a significant number of passengers. The service extending out to Maidenhead from Paddington would permit all stations between those two points to be served, spreading the benefits of the project over a wide area, including those in strategic growth development areas that I mentioned a few moments ago and at the same time, as Mr Anderson pointed out, the service to Maidenhead customers would be comparable and they would have the added advantage of the improvement in their journey if they were commuting into areas of central London, as Mr Taylor mentioned a few moments ago. That is the strategic context. That explains why Maidenhead and we commend those points to the Committee.

12383. In relation to the issues arising in respect of Guards Club Park and the Maidenhead Bridge, the case against extending the existing overhead line electrification system on the Network Rail services to Maidenhead is one which we say lacks any obvious merit whatsoever. We have explained that the standards militate clearly in favour of providing an overhead line extension at the standard voltage. We have explained that that is an imperative that derives support also from European interoperability requirements and the safety case against the third rail alternative in this particular location is one that Mr Berryman has explained to you, so in our submission the balance falls very firmly against that as an acceptable alternative. It is one which we would submit is simply not justified in order to save the historic and architectural value of the bridge. The bridge's qualities are properly recognised through its listing as a Grade II* structure but, as I said in opening, this is a functional part of the main line railway and the Great Western railway generally. It has always been so and it is entirely consistent with its sensitive qualities that it should have a sensitively designed overhead line electrification system installed and we rely upon the precedent not only of the Wharncliffe Viaduct but Mr Berryman also mentioned the Berwick River Bridge as an indication of the acceptability of that and the ability of those who are charged with controlling these matters, English Heritage and so forth, to come to sensible solutions.

12384. In so far as the use of the park is concerned and the suggested alternative of the barge to the use of the park as the works compound, Mr Berryman has explained that that would be a disproportionate and unjustifiable solution. We very much emphasise that the compound within the park is a small scale facility. Its impact on users of the park is expected to be limited. Of course, its detailed provision and operation would be subject to the usual controls under the construction code and other environmental controls in which the borough council, of course, have an important stake.

12385. We would submit, for the reasons given by Mr Berryman, that the alternative of the policy is not one that the Committee should recommend.

12386. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Thank you, Mr Mould.

12387. MR TAYLOR: So far as the level of service is concerned, in terms or trains to and from Maidenhead, there is currently no guaranteed level of service to and from Maidenhead, it is a matter regulated by the Rail Regulator. Whether or not the service level that currently exists will continue into the future is therefore an unknown matter. The impact of Crossrail has been examined against the existing timetable. Mr Anderson has explained that what it provides will be a comparable service in relation to services to Paddington. Crossrail has the added advantage, however, that it goes beyond Paddington, and so those who currently have to change from the train to the underground would no longer necessarily need to do so, particularly if they work in the West End or in the City. So far as the impact of Crossrail upon passengers at Maidenhead is concerned, Mr Anderson explained that it is unlikely to have any significant effect on passenger numbers, with or without Crossrail, who start and end their journey at Maidenhead.

12388. Turning to deal with issues relating to the station itself, parking and transport interchanges, the general policy on modal shift is to promote greater use of modes of transport other than the car. The provision of additional parking in the context of an overall increase in passenger numbers at Maidenhead would conflict with that general policy and would encourage greater use of the car.

12389. So far as a transport hub or transport interchange is concerned, there are no specific proposals for such an interchange put forward at present, and certainly no proposal about relocation of the bus station, as Mr Anderson explained. Crossrail would not prevent any such scheme from coming forward. If a scheme came forward without Crossrail being in place, it would result in the displacement of parking spaces, just as it would with Crossrail in place. The particular issues relating to the consequences of parking related to such a scheme do not arise as a result of Crossrail. In any event, the displacement of car parking would promote greater use of non-car modes in accordance with policy. Parking controls can be used to assist that goal, and such controls are already proposed by the council's parking strategy. In relation to that last issue, the simple response is that Crossrail makes no difference.

 

That is all I have to say. Thank you.

12390. MR COCKBURN: First of all, could I apologise for John McIntosh's absence. I am afraid he had another urgent appointment that he had to go to and so he had to leave.

12391. As John said at the outset, in principle we are not against Crossrail. We would like it to come to Maidenhead: we would just like it to keep going to Reading, or even the South West.

12392. May I deal with the point about the bus station. There are proposals, I understand, from the Royal Borough to develop an integrated transport hub with a bus station at the relevant station. That is part of the local development framework process that they currently going through.

12393. If we look at overcapacity and growth, we seem to be doing this on the one hand to deal with current overcapacity and crowding, and on the other hand to allow future growth, and then we are presented with statistics which show that passenger numbers were the problem. I still remain confused about the case for Crossrail to the west of London. We have not heard anything to justify the choice of Maidenhead. No independent evidence has been presented apart from various assertions that people from Crossrail have made this morning. They have not produced independent proof in support of their argument. The only reason for choosing Maidenhead seems to be that there are more problems with Slough or Reading. That does not seem to make the case for Maidenhead.

12394. We are seriously concerned about the impact that having the terminus at Maidenhead will have on the town. Again, it seems that Crossrail are just looking at the costs of putting the station in and the line. They have not taken any responsibility for any investment and additional infrastructure that is going to be required in Maidenhead in terms of what we see as definitely being additional traffic from passengers, from cars, however people come. I understand what government policy is, but I do not believe there will not be an increase in the number of people using the station and I believe that a large proportion of them will come by car.

12395. When I started out, you asked me if I would give you suggestions for things that you as a Committee might consider. We talked about a third rail, and I understand there are issues about a third rail. We think that putting the masts on the bridge would be an awful defacement of the bridge. What price can you put on protecting that sort of heritage? We are saying that more work is needed to see if there is a better alternative solution.

12396. We talked about the use of the park and where to store materials. We suggested that a barge would be a much simpler, more economical and environmentally friendly way of doing it, but all we hear is that it would cost more money for what we want to do. Again, there is a price that the people in Maidenhead are going to have to pay as a result of that, not Crossrail.

12397. In relation to the service into London, I accept that it will be quicker for people to get into the West End and into the City, but I submit that, largely, those benefits are rather marginal. If the numbers are going to be comparable in terms of people travelling anyway, I do have to question whether this whole extension is worth all the effort and money that is going to be spent on it. That is what I would like to say. Thank you.

12398. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Thank you very much indeed. That concludes our hearing of the petition from the Maidenhead Civic Society. Could I thank those who presented the submission for the clarity of their presentation.

12399. I was considering whether to start the submission of the Royal Borough before lunch. As we are going to have to come back after lunch anyway, it might be more convenient to suspend now and then to begin after lunch with that presentation. Does that cause any logistical problems for anybody involved?

12400. MR MOULD: It does not cause any logistical problems. My only concern is that I suspect the presentation of the Royal Borough's petition is going to take rather longer than the two hours that are available to you after lunch. Would you want to take the time you have available to you now at least to have Mr Stoker present his opening. It is entirely a matter for the Committee.

12401. MR STOKER: May I indicate, as you might have heard from your clerk, my difficulties in standing before you without robes.

12402. SIR PETER SOULSBY: That has been covered. Do not worry.

12403. MR STOKER: We have produced the evidence in the form of slides. They distil the bullet points and I am confident that we can make progress in going through them. Are you going to reconvene earlier?

12404. SIR PETER SOULSBY: We are being pinched at both ends, unfortunately. It is going to be convenient to the Committee to suspend now and to reconvene at 2.30. We will have to do our very best to make sure that the petition is properly dealt with in the two hours that are available to us then.

12405. MR STOKER: Certainly.

12406. MR MOULD: May I foreshadow one way in which we might do that. I was not proposing to ask Mr Berryman and Mr Taylor to go over ground they have already covered. We will of course make them available for cross-examination.

12407. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Thank you very much indeed. We will now suspend the Committee.

 

After a short adjournment

 

The Petition of Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

 

MR GRAHAM STOKER appeared on behalf of the Petitioner.

 

SHARPE PRITCHARD appeared as Agent.

12408. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Mr Mould, do you have anything to say before this Petition?

12409. MR MOULD: Sir, I was not going to because we opened in some detail this morning.

12410. SIR PETER SOULSBY: In which case, Mr Stoker, would you like to start?

12411. MR STOKER: Thank you, sir. If I may, can I just introduce myself. I am instructed by Sharpe Pritchard, they sit on my right. I am calling three witnesses in this order: firstly, Mr Stephen Reed from Mouchel Parkman, who is primarily going to deal with questions of car parking, design of the station and capacity matters; secondly, Mr Peter Hitchen, he is the head planner at the Royal Borough, he has got an overarching proof of evidence which will be summarised; and, finally, Mr Haitham Ayoubi from Jacobs Babtie. He will deal with the worksites and programmes of work and whether there are alternatives. There are a number of technical appendices which we have provided to the Promoters. You will find that our evidence has been formatted in the file format so one can put it up on the screen and hopefully follow it and make productive use of the afternoon.

12412. What I have chosen to do now is to drastically reduce my opening, and then I have got an opportunity to close in due course. I just want to make a few points to deal with outstanding matters. You see from our Petition that we raised over 30 points. Many of those points have been dealt with either by discussion and agreement with the Promoters or are being pursued by other lead authorities, so can we, if we may, write in to the Committee comprehensively in due course just to let you know the state of play on those matters.

12413. SIR PETER SOULSBY: That is fine, thank you.

12414. MR STOKER: This takes me to the two main issues before you this afternoon. The first one is what I will call the station issue, although it is broader than simply the station. It includes consequential car parking in and around the station and also the question of the transportation interchange opportunities. That is the first point. The second point, a separate point, is the implications and impact of the worksite in the vicinity of the Maidenhead Bridge, the Grade II listed bridge.

12415. Turning to the first point, I simply want to make a number of short points by way of opening. The first point is by way of the design of the Crossrail scheme to the west Maidenhead is being singled out as really not only the terminus but the gateway to the network. As a consequence of that particular role it has the benefit of a redesigned and improved railway station, but we have concerns that when you actually look at the growth figures that railway station that will be built out, we anticipate, in around about 2008-09 may well be at capacity within no more than four years, perhaps by 2013. It is really the approach one takes to projects like this, certainly in all other major projects around the country, that one looks to a design period of ten years, and we would say 15 years is appropriate. So at capacity within four years is not good enough.

12416. When one turns to other matters that are going on as a consequence of the terminus one always has to use stabling and turn-around facilities. So we are absolutely clear, that is built on one of the railway station car parks known as Silco Road. That goes completely if stabling facilities are built over it and a replacement is provided but that replacement is located farther to the west. If one works out the distance one has to walk from that particular provision to the railway station it comes out at between 450 and 600 metres, so we are talking about a replacement car parking provision with half a kilometre to walk to the railway station. We say that is not good enough. We say that will not be used. We say that is an inadequate replacement facility. In the round here the Promoters have gone for the minimum option. With this major national project we say this is a missed opportunity. It is unfair to design it and provide it in this way and then leave the Royal Borough in the future to try and pick up and deal with the problems. That is the first point concerning the railway station.

12417. On the worksite, if I can then turn to that, the approach there seems to have been that the Promoters have gone for the option which is probably most convenient to them. We do not think that they have paid proper regard to the impact on the conservation area and also the listed heritage assets in that area. In particular one has got the Grade II listed bridge out to the island. We say that with some confidence because if one looks at their Environmental Statement there is nothing in there about adverse temporary impacts. I do not know if the IT experts could put up W24(ii), which is a map. It is in volume 4B, W24(ii). This really deals with the point relatively simply because you are familiar with looking at these maps, you are familiar with the colour coding exercise. When one looks at this map you will see although there is the pink notation "permanent adverse impacts" noted there, and although the worksite is noted with the hatched notation, which includes the bridge out to the island, there is no recognition of any temporary adverse impact at all. We do not think this was picked up in the Environmental Statement exercise, we think this was missed. It is a matter we will explore in due course. We say that there are alternatives available if one just looks out of the window and looks at some of the vessels out on the river. One can use barges, one can use delivering by vessels on the river as an alternative to using residential roads with lorries and building a worksite in a much favoured and attractive local park. That is our point on the worksite.

12418. If I can pause there, as I have got an opportunity to close in due course, I will deal with my witnesses. I propose to call Mr Reed first, if I can ask him to come forward. If those IT experts can access his evidence, which is in the format of a succession of slides, "Mouchel Parkman Impact of Crossrail", I would be grateful.

 

MR STEPHEN REED, Sworn

Examined by MR STOKER

12419. MR STOKER: You are Stephen Reed?

(Mr Reed) I am, sir.

12420. Just tell me your position at Mouchel Parkman and also tell us your relevant qualifications.

(Mr Reed) Good afternoon, Committee. My name is Stephen Reed. I am a transport planner and divisional manager for Mouchel Parkman. I am a chartered civil engineer and member of the Institution of Civil Engineers. I have been practising transport planning since 2002, but before that general engineering and advice.

12421. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Thank you for introducing yourself. For the benefit of the record, the slides that you will be referring to will be numbered A137.

12422. MR STOKER: I am grateful, sir. If we can go to slide two, this picks out the main points in your evidence. One has got a comparison of train services and if one looks at the last two bullet points, one is concerned with the capacity at the rail station and also questions of car parking. The second, third and fourth bullet points underpin the question of demand, do they?

(Mr Reed) They do.

12423. Those are the issues you look at by way of outline. We then turn to slide three, first of all looking at the comparison of services. This is existing Maidenhead compared with what would be proposed under Crossrail. We pick out, do we, at current averages some 5.7 examples of rolling stock per hour with an average journey time of 33 minutes, although the fastest service is 18 minutes?

(Mr Reed) That is correct.

12424. Within that there are, as I understand it, much favoured and much used local branch line services, is that right?

(Mr Reed) There are. There are services from Marlow and Bourne End, and stations at Cookham and Furze Platt that feed into Maidenhead but also have two fast services that link Marlow and Bourne End via Maidenhead.

12425. Although the 18 minutes might be a direct journey straight through, there are also limited stopping services that have a relatively short journey time.

(Mr Reed) There are. There are a number of services that operate in the mid-20 minute group.

12426. If you then compare that slide four, which is one example of what is said will be provided, compared to the existing 5.7 services per hour average, Crossrail is providing some four trains per hour with a journey time of 41 minutes compared with the existing average of 33 minutes, is that right?

(Mr Reed) That is correct.

12427. As I understand it there is going to be a keeping of the residual diesel service, and that is a limited stopping service.

(Mr Reed) That is right.

12428. If one then turns through to slide number five, this is the Promoter's response to the Petitioner's documentation as to what is said by way of service. We have got the four Crossrail trains per hour and we have got a peak hour fast train from Maidenhead which arrives and departs from London Paddington and that runs on the main line. You have got a concern about that which we will come to in a moment. The peak hour fast train to and from Maidenhead which arrives and departs London Paddington on the relief lines, that goes, that is going to be withdrawn, and then one has got an additional limited stopping service on the relief lines between Reading and London Paddington and that will run every 30 minutes. In overall terms thus far, I think the way it was put this morning by Crossrail's witnesses was that the service would be comparable, it is not said to be conspicuously better but comparable. Is that the way you judge it?

(Mr Reed) Yes, it is comparable. There are slightly more trains in the peak hours, about six an hour. Accepting that the journey time is slightly longer under Crossrail to Paddington there are the benefits you have heard from others about the extension into London City and the West End, et cetera.

12429. Back to that second service on slide five. This is the peak hour fast train to and from Maidenhead on the main lines. If we turn over to slide six, tell us about your concern about whether that service will in fact be permitted to operate or not in the light of, as I understand it, the Route Utilisation Strategy.

(Mr Reed) The SRA that was undertook a Route Utilisation Strategy, which is an examination of capacity on Great Western, and under their published document in 2005 they suggested quite strongly that in the peak hours in the morning the main lines east of Reading should be reserved for 125 mile an hour Intercity stock. They have shown some improvements in that they have increased capacity for those long distance journeys. The concern is that in the Promoter's response we have been told the turbo-diesels, which are 90 miles an hour, would still be able to run on the main lines but we have got conflicting information from the Great Western RUS that those lines should be reserved for the 125 mile an hour trains only.

12430. Do you hazard a guess as to how that inconsistency might be resolved?

(Mr Reed) To hazard a guess, I would assume at some point it would depend on the overall strategy that DfT Rail want to put forward. My assumption is that at some point in the future under the new timetabling the 125 mile an hour services will get priority over the main lines into London Paddington for capacity reasons.

12431. If one turns to slide seven you list the issues to be resolved. Just take us through these, if you can, by way of taking stock.

(Mr Reed) I think the Royal Borough welcomes the benefits that Crossrail will provide in direct access into Central London. The thing that we have not yet resolved with the Promoter is the anticipated service patterns under Crossrail. We have heard a lot about them but there seems to be some general confusion in there which needs to be ironed out. This issue of track access arrangements over the main lines between Maidenhead and London Paddington are something that not necessarily the Crossrail project team can deal with but it is in the hands of their co-Promoter, DfT Rail. One of the things we are concerned about is the guarantee regarding the future Bourne End, Marlow branch services. If the two through services are lost that might have an impact on patronage of those routes.

12432. I think you have seen letters that have gone backwards and forwards and there are discussions under way and, as I understand it, what we are being told is this is a matter for future agreements to be negotiated between the various parties and at the moment there cannot be any guarantee or certainty.

(Mr Reed) Yes, that is our understanding. Fairly soon Network Rail and others will be coming to the Committee to give their indication on track access options, et cetera but, unfortunately, that information is not available for us to look at and examine and see what the implications might be.

12433. If we then turn to a separate point on slide number eight, because this is a question of forecasting future growth. Let us go through this in stages. In terms of slide number eight, we are looking at the work of Crossrail that flows from their Transport Impact Assessment, is that right.

(Mr Reed) That is correct.

12434. If one looks down in terms of boarders, those getting on to trains going into London, one sees without Crossrail and with Crossrail it is the same figure, 2,300.

(Mr Reed) That is correct.

12435. Which indicates no growth at all. That seems to flow from some form of computer model that has been utilised under the TIA. Do you want to comment on that in terms of the realism of that situation: a major new project introduced, and whether there is going to be no growth is a realistic scenario?

(Mr Reed) We understand the models that have been used following our discussions with Crossrail and with what is called the Rail Plan and LTS, they were journey times, comparison journey times. We received no information to indicate whether - we have asked the question - they take account of human behaviour. They take account of, perhaps, the time it takes to interchange and include that but where the perception on interchanging, whether it is easier to get on up ahead on the line and how will people change their habits, other than just looking at journey times, we are not sure. We have not been given the information that indicates that the models take account of those other human behaviour attributes.

12436. Just picking out what you see might be underpinning growth in the future that the model does not take account of, what about people who drive now who choose in future to move from their car on to Crossrail? Does the model seem to deal with that?

(Mr Reed) We are not sure and it is unlikely that the models will deal with, effectively, forecast demand in the future - people's change of habits to change on to the rail network from using their car. That is something we have asked Crossrail to provide to us. The main point is that once Crossrail is in place we believe the benefits that direct access into London will give will become very attractive to people, which may not have been taken account of within the model itself.

12437. Just so one understands how that attraction might be manifested, can you talk about the question of demographics and moving to take advantage of rail services?

(Mr Reed) Yes, sir. What we feel is that - and there are some slides we will come to later in the presentation about the type of people who use Maidenhead station currently - once a new rail system is in place people will start to look at that system when they are making the choice. They might use the schools that are in that area and therefore want to live in that area because the schools are good. Others will be making choices about where they want to live on the basis of how easy it is to access central London. Now, if they compare what they have got now with what they could have under Crossrail they will be able to say: "I can travel in directly to central London, and therefore I can live in the green belt just outside London and travel into London". That would form part of their decision making process.

12438. Let us go to slide 9. Concern is being expressed over this computer model, which seems to show no growth. You have been commissioned to carry out a survey, as I understand. Is that right?

(Mr Reed) That is correct.

12439. Take us through slide 9, which is the work of your survey. I think there should be a correction made to this.

(Mr Reed) In advance of receiving the Transport Impact Assessment from Crossrail we were commissioned to undertake a rail user survey at Maidenhead to, effectively, update to some extent the work that was done back in 2001 by the SRA under what was called the LAT survey. We undertook surveys from 6 o'clock in the morning until 7 o'clock/8 o'clock at night, and that was quarter-of-an-hour counts and interviews, questionnaires, etc. In order to give a comparison with what was presented in the TIA by Crossrail, we have selected the 7am to 10am peak period of boarders and alighters getting on to go into London. There is a correction I need to make on the boarders number. That figure is not 2527: could we note it is 2327. I was advised this morning that there was a misread by the count people.

12440. Revealed by empirical survey carried in 2006 (just flicking back to slide 8) compared with 2300 for 2016.

(Mr Reed) That is correct.

12441. Then slide 10. You sought here to offer a range of predicted working tools as to what the annual growth might be and I just wondered if you could go through them explaining how you arrived at them. First of all, you have derived an annual growth figure from the Crossrail information, which you think is of the order of 1.4 per cent per year. How do you derive that?

(Mr Reed) That is correct. The count that was undertaken on the base figures on slide 8 show 1900 boarders in 2001 and show 2300 boarders in 2016 with Crossrail. The percentage uplift is 400 in that time period.

12442. It is the uplift of 15 years and you have expressed that as a percentage. That is common ground.

(Mr Reed) It is just an average percentage over that time.

12443. That is the first one on their figures. The middle one has the source of the London Travel Report.

(Mr Reed) That is correct.

12444. That is published and advocated by whom?

(Mr Reed) Transport for London.

12445. Who are whom?

(Mr Reed) The co-promoter.

12446. Their figure is what?

(Mr Reed) They are saying for all routes growth to and from London is 3.1 per cent a year.

12447. Average?

(Mr Reed) Average, yes.

12448. Finally, your figure - although I think we need to make an adjustment on this.

(Mr Reed) We do. The growth that we have experienced you have seen. Obviously, we did not have a comparable survey in 2001 so we based our information on Crossrail's as provided. From 2001 to 2006 we have experienced this 4.5 per cent growth.

12449. Having looked at that spread of growth figures, how realistic is the suggestion that with Crossrail and the substantial national project costing billions there will not be any growth?

(Mr Reed) I would consider it unlikely there would be no growth.

12450. Slide 11 picks out some additional factors that might underpin the question of growth. The first one is known in the rail industry as the "sparks effect". Tell us about that.

(Mr Reed) My understanding is that this is new electrification of long lines (?). The implication is that by bringing in electrification you are bringing in new rolling stock, it has got new standards, the electrical services are more reliable; there is more capacity with them and therefore they recognise this has contributed to growth. If they have got longer trains - if the Crossrail trains are 10 coaches and the existing diesel coaches are 3 coaches - there is significant additional capacity that is being provided there on smoother services. The only other example that we have of similar experience in recent time is when Thameslink was opened - not Thameslink 2000 but the original Thameslink in the mid-80s. The information that we have had from discussion with managers of that area at the time was that they had somewhere between 8 and 10 per cent growth per year once it was opened; that they did have immediate abstraction from other parallel routes and that it was incremental growth over time as people understood the journey patterns better.

12451. That abstraction of passengers from parallel routes, also the increasing understanding of journey opportunities. Would that have been picked up by Crossrail's model?

(Mr Reed) It is unlikely. It would have dealt with journey times but whether the model formed journey patterns that people would make and people's natural ability to use the timetable to their best advantage may not have been fully examined.

12452. Slide 12, if we can go to that. Having looked at the question of growth, the next question is the forecast period that one deals with when addressing questions of growth. Tell us about the 15 years that you advocate?

(Mr Reed) The Committee has already heard information from Greenwich about the need to look further than just the year of opening. That comes from the Institution of Highways and Transportation and is used widely by authorities and developers to look at the implications a number of years after opening. We believe that that should be undertaken at Maidenhead to give indications on growth and the impact that could have on Maidenhead.

12453. On that 15-year horizon, have you contacted Crossrail to find out whether they have any information on the 15 years but, also, perhaps opening years?

(Mr Reed) We have had discussions with the Royal Borough and with Crossrail on looking at the future assessments. I know Greenwich were provided with some sensitivity tests to 2031, and at a recent meeting I know Crossrail gave their best endeavours to see if they could also provide similar information to us.

12454. Have they?

(Mr Reed) It has not arrived as yet, sir.

12455. You then build the growth figures into the horizons to come up with some conclusions on passenger numbers. Take us through slide 13. Again, regretfully, we are going to have to make certain changes to these figures.

(Mr Reed) Apologies for that.

12456. On the left-hand side, first of all, if one looks at the first two, the Crossrail figures, that is on the 2001 base.

(Mr Reed) That is a 2016 base. So it is assuming year-on-year growth of 1.4 per cent from the 2016 base, which is 2300 boarders.

12457. Then the Royal Borough base is what - 2006?

(Mr Reed) It is 2006, which is our survey base. We have run that forward 25 years.

12458. Take us through each calculation if you can and explain the changes that are necessary.

(Mr Reed) On the table, as we have just indicated, the Crossrail base is 2016 and without any further information we have just taken 1.4 per cent per year on top of 2016, which gives numbers of 3256. You will appreciate that they are the same figures because the bases are the same. What we have then done is just given an example of where growth could be starting from the Royal Borough survey base, and the first figure for 1.4 pr cent growth to 2031 should read 3340. We have then taken growth at 3.1 per cent per year from 2006 to 2031, and that figure is 4841. Again, the Royal Borough, we used growth experienced to date, which was 4.5 per cent, between 2001 and 2016 and just provided that forward. That is 6994.

12459. And the 5.9 per cent?

(Mr Reed) That should be 4.5 per cent.

12460. That gives us an indication of forecast of growth in passenger numbers. Turn then to slide 14, if you can, because what you do here is you try and assess the design capacity of the railway station comparing it to the forecasted passenger numbers and reach a conclusion as to when it is at capacity and when it exceeds capacity. Just take us through that exercise, if you can.

(Mr Reed) In the information that we have so far in the design statements for Maidenhead station we have not been able to ascertain what the design passenger movements are for the station. We have made an assumption of a 20 per cent increase over base as a design capacity for the station.

12461. Has that been mentioned at all in discussions?

(Mr Reed) I think we have asked for an indication of what the station would have been designed at. That gives a figure of 2760 - that is just boarders - and alighters of 1140. We wanted to put that in context, so the survey that was done in May showed 2327 boarders and 1771 alighters. We have taken a median growth range of 3.1 per cent and run that forward six or seven years, and that takes you to 2796 in the boarders column and 1941 in the alighters column. All that was indicating was that if growth continues at 3.1 per cent from current levels it would potentially be above the Crossrail design level by 2012. If we receive revised information from Crossrail about the design capacities for Maidenhead, we will quite happily sit down with them and look at those figures again.

12462. Just so one takes that in context, what were you being told about the possible build dates for the station?

(Mr Reed) Our understanding is that the station could be built any time between 2009 and 2013. I am not exactly sure of the timetables, and obviously the timetables move depending on construction programmes elsewhere. On that basis, at some point, the capacity of the railway station could be already exceeded.

12463. If we use 2008/09 it could be at capacity and exceeding capacity within four or five years.

(Mr Reed) Potentially.

12464. Is that satisfactory?

(Mr Reed) I would not have thought so.

12465. When it is at and exceeds capacity and disbenefits flow from that, and Crossrail have done their work and moved on, whose responsibility is it then to try and deal with these problems?

(Mr Reed) A lot of the problems on the station would be left with the train operating company to handle, and obviously outside the station, the way it has been put at the moment is that anything offside the rail side has to be dealt with by the local authority

12466. Let us look at the implications of that level of burden on the Royal Borough in due course. Slide 15 deals with the information in respect of forecasting by way of a summary. Just take us through that, and then we will go to car parking.

(Mr Reed) The Royal Borough's contends that the forecast provided by Crossrail are not sufficiently accurate for the assessment of the impact of Crossrail at Maidenhead; that the Crossrail forecast underestimates the amount of boarders in the peak hours, given that the current passenger surveys are higher than Crossrail's predictions in 2016. The Crossrail forecasting does not take account of passenger growth beyond 2016 and that the new Crossrail station design would not have sufficient capacity to deal with even modest growth.

12467. If you turn to slide 16 and modal split issues. The relevance of this is, is it, that in order to generate, for instance, car parking demand you have to find out in respect of those who use the trains what mode of transport they use?

(Mr Reed) That is correct.

12468. Therefore, you have to reach a judgment on what is called modal split.

(Mr Reed) That is correct.

12469. Looking through these modal split figures, first of all, what are we looking at here in this table?

(Mr Reed) These are the modal splits of boarders between 7 o'clock in the morning and 10 o'clock in the morning - so the peak three-hour period. The first line, which says CLRL 2001 Base, was provided in the Transport Impact Assessment of the modal split of arrivals at Maidenhead station. The second row is what was surveyed and deduced from the questionnaires that were undertaken in May this year by the Royal Borough. What you can see is that there is a difference between the two rows. The notable ones we have pulled out are the other category in the Royal Borough survey, which is shown as 5 per cent, which seems to come mainly from rail interchange in Maidenhead which was not big enough to be reported (?) and the other issue was the bus use increase to 7 per cent in the Royal Borough's survey, but also the car use is reduced for car drivers from 29 per cent to 20 per cent.

12470. Picking those out, are we looking now at all journeys here?

(Mr Reed) We are looking at all journeys, so this will be all passengers arriving at Maidenhead and the destinations that they are going to each way, so the destinations westwards and eastwards, so it is all journeys to all destinations.

12471. Going then through to slide 17, can you address the question of whether one should look at all journeys and be more specific? Just take us through slide 17.

(Mr Reed) I think there is an over-simplification in the work that has been done on those particular issues. What we have looked at is that Crossrail from Maidenhead is an eastbound service. When you are comparing Crossrail with Maidenhead you really ought to be comparing like with like, so the modal split for people currently going eastbound with the modal splits under Crossrail. We have requested but have not received that modal split eastbound for the Maidenhead eastbound Crossrail so we deduced the eastbound modal splits from the survey information that was undertaken by the Royal Borough and we believe that that is a better comparison than taking all journeys.

12472. Just so we are clear, on the previous slide those figures are all journeys. You think that within that there are modal splits going east and modal splits going west. You have asked for that but you have not got that information?

(Mr Reed) That is correct.

12473. You have done the work. Slide number 18 shows, as I understand, the modal split for eastbound.

(Mr Reed) That is correct.

12474. And you have broken it down to eastbound all destinations to the east and eastbound London passengers only.

(Mr Reed) That is correct.

12475. If we could just pick out the characteristics of those two classes, eastbound all destinations first of all, just pick out if you can what we should be looking at in respect of their use, starting with bus at ten per cent, which seems a high figure.

(Mr Reed) These destinations will be journeys from Maidenhead to Burnham, Taplow, Slough and all destinations into London from there. What we have found is that the people who make those types of journeys have a much higher bus use, ten per cent, and they have a higher walk use. They also have lower car driver and lower car passenger levels. They also use taxis more and also "Other" is four per cent which is again rail interchanging. There are passengers who get on at Maidenhead that have eastbound London only destinations, so, of course, that is Paddington and then further into London. You can see the main issue here is that there is significantly higher car driver use.

12476. Thirty-nine per cent.

(Mr Reed) Thirty-nine per cent, and car passenger use at 28 per cent, and almost two per cent bus use. Those are the types of passengers we believe are going to be much more attracted to Crossrail . Crossrail is much more attractive to the London destinations and therefore is attractive to those people that predominantly use their car.

12477. Just pick out in terms of those destinations, first of all eastbound all destinations, if you are designing a railway station and you ask the question, "Should you have regard to bus interchange?", looking at those figures what is your conclusion?

(Mr eed) Absolutely. We believe that Maidenhead serves a number of different journey purposes. It serves passengers into central London and it serves passengers that go to the intervening stations. Without getting into social demographics, a lot of people that are using the bus are travelling to central London and travelling to Slough, et cetera. The people who are using central London are using their cars. Therefore, you need to cater for both types of journey, so the bus interchanging and also the car use.

12478. Turning to car park spaces provided for that site: car parking spaces should be adjacent to the railway station, in policy terms is there anything wrong with that?

(Mr Reed) No, there is not. The parking policy for Maidenhead town centre is in respect of long-term parking within the town itself. It does not really relate to rail station parking. Since the parking strategy was produced the Regional Transport Strategy by the Government Office of the South East was published last year and that recognises that rail station parking can be acceptable for encouraging rail use, so in the wider context long-term parking for rail use can be acceptable.

12479. Slide 19 summarises those matters.

(Mr Reed) From the work that we have done so far we believe that Crossrail's assumptions for growth basically are wrong, that the assumed modal split for Crossrail use is incorrect, so you are using a simplified model to basically push down the car use and the car parking demand will be or can be significantly higher than that predicted under Crossrail.

12480. You then turn to another factor that might underpin growth, that is, the question of rail heading, slide 20. Tell us what rail heading is.

(Mr Reed) We could not find a rail heading definition but we have defined rail heading as the use of a more distant rail station to the start of the journey in preference to nearer rail services to access more frequent or faster rail services. We believe that rail heading can also occur where passengers make use of the benefits of accessing the rail network very close to its starting point. This provides a perceived benefit of getting a seat on a crowded commuter line, and I am sure we have all done that, but may also be for cost or other convenience or standards of service factors, like the need to reduce interchanging. We do not believe there is any information within the Crossrail documentation which discusses the potential for rail heading at Maidenhead and we believe their modelling relies purely on a comparison of journey times and the train service factors.

12481. Slide 21 - you asked about this particular characteristic in your survey.

(Mr Reed) We did. What we asked people to indicate was could they use a rail station closer to their starting point and the rail stations we asked them about were Bourne End or Furze Platt or Cookham, et cetera. What we found was that around 20 per cent of the rail station boarders could have used a rail station closer to their point of origin but instead they chose to go to Maidenhead. Of that sample around a quarter were rail headers into London.

12482. Slide 22. You say 73 per cent of rail headers are going to London and then we have the reasons from the questionnaire as to what they were doing. Take us through that.

(Mr Reed) What we found was that of those people who were rail heading, especially into London, the majority were using their car to do that. We do accept that as you start to break the pieces down the sample gets smaller and smaller but what we were trying to indicate was that these things are occurring. What we found was that the reasons people were giving for rail heading were the access to more rail services at 64 per cent, to avoid changing trains, and also the availability of parking at the rail station.

12483. Going to slide 23, you see some of these other rail stations they could have used but they chose to come to Maidenhead, and they are listed on the left hand side with the percentage coming to Maidenhead, so rail heading.

(Mr Reed) That is right. Obviously, it was no good asking people if they were rail heading from Reading and things like that. We asked them, "Which stations could you have used?", and we have indicated there Twyford, Marlow, Bourne End, Cookham and Furze Platt, and Marlow, Bourne End, Cookham and Furze Platt are on the branch line. You can see that a reasonable percentage of people are choosing to use Maidenhead instead of their own service. Bourne End is at ten per cent. Because, again, it is at the head of the line they are probably coming from Bourne End into Maidenhead simply because it is another head of the line and you know that there are two fast trains from Bourne End and you can go there specifically for those trains to go straight into London.

12484. Slide 24 - just pick out if you can the Bourne End-Marlow branch line figures in there.

(Mr Reed) There are currently two through services from Bourne End to Marlow in the morning. In 2001 the survey was undertaken under LATS which is mentioned in there, and that registered 172 boarding passengers at Cookham and 155 boarding passengers at Furze Platt. Unfortunately, we do not have figures for Bourne End and Marlow because they are in Buckinghamshire County council area and we had only asked for the Maidenhead area figures. Our concern and the borough's concern is that with no through services proposed from those branches, only connecting services into Maidenhead, people will say, "No, that is not acceptable. We are going to jump in our cars and drive to Maidenhead", and we believe that if you add into that figures for Marlow and Bourne End, even if you took 50 per cent of those figures that is another 150 cars coming into Maidenhead to gain access to the rail network at a convenient point.

12485. Slide 25 is about some of the journey time consequences and how that might underpin rail heading.

(Mr Reed) We do not have access to the same level of modelling information that the Promoter has, but just to give you a comparable route, there is a line from Reading to Waterloo that goes through Wokingham, Bracknell and Martins Heron, et cetera. The journey times from those stations, from Wokingham --- perhaps I could ask counsel to bring up map number RBWM NP1, tab G; it is in the supporting evidence.

12486. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Tab G, document A136.

(Mr Reed) That is the Great Western there, and this is the Reading to Waterloo line. That is Wokingham station, that is Bracknell station and that is Martins Heron, and journey times from these stations on this line for the fastest train are 68 minutes, 62 minutes, and 59 minutes from Martins Heron. If you live in those areas there, which people do, with Maidenhead here, you are being offered 42 minutes into Paddington and then direct connections to the City. On this line you have to go to Waterloo and change and get the underground to get into the City and that obviously adds to your journey time. On here the direct service into the City is around 55 minutes. On this line you are starting to get up into the 90 minutes' journey times. We believe that that is an additional fact, that people in these areas will start drifting across to Maidenhead because they are getting the benefit of extra time with less interchanging. People do not perceive the time they take in the car. If they have to drive from these areas to get to these areas it is the same. Also, with Maidenhead the station is on the southern side of Maidenhead and therefore it lends itself to being able to be accessed from this side.

12487. Thank you for that. You indicate at the end of 25 that that will lead to rail heading and also, of course, we have got the cars coming in that have to be parked, so you then turn to the car parking demand on slide 26. You first set out what one has actually got there at the moment. One has got the forecourt with some 80 spaces and Shoppenhangers with some 172, so 252 total spaces there for the rail user. Silco Drive is 407 metres' walking distance away.

(Mr Reed) Yes, from the pedestrian access point to the entrance to the station.

12488. And then Stafferton Way - is that meant to be a rail parking facility?

(Mr Reed) No. It is a long-stay car park that serves Maidenhead town centre.

12489. So that is really the town centre provision of a car park. That is what is there at the moment. Just to give us a feel, Silco Drive is 407 metres away. At present do you see that as a convenient distance to walk when one is accessing a railway station?

(Mr Reed) No, we do not believe so. The surveys that were undertaken show that Silco Drive is never used all the time full; it is probably 75 per cent full. In the TIA undertaken by Crossrail Silco Drive is not even mentioned. They only mention the forecourt and Shoppenhangers.

12490. SIR PETER SOULSBY: These are distances from the entrance?

(Mr Reed) These are from the pedestrian entrance/exit. There are some photographs.

12491. Some of the car parks are quite long.

(Mr Reed) Yes, that is right. These are from effectively where you come out of the pedestrian gate to the actual entrance. I have not included the distances to walk from the car park.

12492. MR STOKER: It may be convenient if one could look at the supporting documents.

(Mr Reed) You can do. In the supporting documents at A136 there is MP2.

12493. Could you just point out to the Committee the journey one would take?

(Mr Reed) This is Maidenhead station, as you know, and that is the forecourt as it is at the moment. That is Shoppenhangers Road and that yellow square there is Silco Drive as it is at the moment. This multi-storey here is Stafferton Way. The blue area is the goods yard and, to be fair, we coloured that whole because it is easier to do that than it is to try and indicate --- part of that site is where the additional car parking has been offered. The pedestrian exit is about there on Silco Drive and you have to go down under the railway to Grenfell Road, along Grenfell Road, and there is a little alleyway between a new commercial building and one that is being built at the moment. There is a narrow alleyway there, I think it is called Grenfell Walk, and a narrow alleyway there, and that brings you up by the side of the cycle sheds and then you can turn and go into the forecourt. That distance is 407 metres from door to door. The entrance into the car park here, the goods yard, on that same route, is 450 metres and we estimate that the car park that is being provided is somewhere in the region of 100-130 metres long, so the total distance you travel is something in the region of 450 metres if you are lucky and park there first thing, and getting on for 600 metres if you have to park right at the back, which is over half a kilometre. With regard to the distance from Shoppenhanger, you come out on to the main road, down to the forecourt which is just under 200 metres, and Stafferton Way, across the road into the station forecourt, is 300 metres.

12494. Could you just give a flavour from a few photographs in appendix A?

(Mr Reed) Yes, document A136, appendix A.

12495. Start with photos 1 and 2. Just take us very quickly through those.

(Mr Reed) Photograph 1 is a view from the goods entrance, so the blue area. I was stood on the entrance into the goods yard looking down and that shows you the car park at Silco Drive you can just see on the right, and the rail over-bridge is single-way working, so that is why there is a traffic signal there, so that you have to go through the traffic signals to get into Silco Drive. The second photograph shows the pedestrian access from the current Silco Drive car park and that is the measurement point effectively, so where that barrier is on the side you go down the walkway and along there. If we can change to photograph 3, there is a footpath on the right hand side that goes underneath the bridge and along the road, and on photograph 4 that is a view backwards which shows the steepness of the ramp coming out of the pedestrian route from Silco Drive.

12496. SIR PETER SOULSBY: I think we are going to have to take your word for it.

(Mr Reed) Yes. I think we can skip the next few photographs. If we could go to photograph 7, you have to travel along the road basically. You get to a point which I believe is called Grenfell Walk and what you have got is a narrow footway. On the left hand side is a commercial building and on the right hand side there is a commercial building being built, so from what I can see from where the columns are on the building that footway is not going to be significantly improved. It is quite narrow and obviously at the moment there is lots of sky but once that is built that alleyway will become quite overbearing. It is quite dark. Then on the next plate, photograph 8, at this point here, effectively out of shot, the footway does a 90-degree bend and then continues along the side of this commercial building and at this point, just up here, there are the cycle sheds and you turn and go into the forecourt. One of the issues, if you go to photograph 9, which is part way along this road here, which is on the next page, is that there is a recessed emergency exit from the building which is part way along that walking route, so early morning and late at night there is no CCTV camera footage on there at the moment. Clearly, under future proposals that might be added but at the moment that is the route you have to take.

12497. Back to slide 27. Tell us about what your views are about the filling up of these car parks.

(Mr Reed) What was reported in the transport assessment was that the forecourt itself was full before eight o'clock in the morning and that Shoppenhangers Road car park was full by about ten o'clock, and that was in March 2004. What we found was that the car parks had filled up much earlier two years later. The station forecourt is full by seven o'clock in the morning and Shoppenhangers is full by eight o'clock in the morning. As I say, in the transport assessment Silco Drive was not mentioned by Crossrail's consultants but during the day it is probably only 75 per cent full. The point we are trying to get across here is that in order to get a car parking spot people are travelling earlier to the station. If they want to park at the railway station they are travelling much earlier; we are seeing that trend.

12498. Also, Silco Drive is only 75 per cent full. Where are people parking? If we go to slide 28, this gives us an indication of where people are parking on a percentage basis, looking at all the rail users parking in the peak period of seven till ten. Just take us through this.

(Mr Reed) What we asked people was, "If you drive where do you park?", and we gave them a number of options, as you can see on the left hand side. One of the things that we wanted to do was try to establish how many people were not using the rail car parks to park but were still accessing the rail network. You can see that there are two columns of numbers. One is for effectively all rail users whether you are going east or west, and those in the second column are those percentages of rail users who travel into London. What you can see, effectively borne out by the previous slide about people travelling earlier, is that the popular car parks, the forecourt and Shoppenhangers, have a higher percentage of London-bound people going to those because they travel early and therefore take up the capacity there. The remainder of people have to find other places to park, so they park at Stafferton Way, they park on the street, and there are a number of other locations as well, whether church car parks or other locations. People are ingenious about where they can find to park the car.

12499. Homing in on those on-street and other locations, with 17 per cent going to Paddington and 31 per cent being rail users, do you think that is a satisfactory situation, to have that amount of people parking on the street and at other locations?

(Mr Reed) No, it is not. We all accept that rail use has grown, but other parts of the infrastructure on the rail network have not kept pace. The car parking provision is one of those. The demand to use rail services is over-spilling into other areas. We are finding that the demand for rail service and car parking is already impacting on residents. It is impacting on the long-term parking that has been provided for access into Maidenhead itself and use in Maidenhead.

12500. At slide 29 we are now calculating, in numerical terms, some idea of what the demand might be. Take us through these figures and explain how you calculated it. The 524, I think, should be ...?

(Mr Reed) 480.

12501. How do you derive that? It is obviously modal split times.

(Mr Reed) We looked at the number of people accessing the station, which we found was 2,300. We knew that the demand for car parking at Maidenhead was around 20 per cent from our survey. Therefore, we have taken 20 per cent of that 2,300 boarders, to give us the 480 cars that we estimate want to park in Maidenhead to access rail services.

12502. So 480 is the predicted demand and there are 355 available spaces, so one has over 100 cars parking on the street.

(Mr Reed) Either on the street or at Stafferton Way, in the long-stay provision provided by the Royal Borough.

12503. Then one carries out a prediction on the basis of growth. Take us to that, if you would.

(Mr Reed) We indicated earlier that we had taken a modest growth of about 3.1 per cent. If you run that forward - and that number will be slightly different - we would expect the parking provision for rail use to be exceeded by about 350 spaces in 2016.

12504. If we are looking in 2016 to be providing 600 to 700 spaces.

(Mr Reed) Of that order.

12505. Where would they go?

(Mr Reed) At the moment, there is only provision for 355. The remainder would have to find other locations to park. We know already that cars use on-street parking and the multi-storey car park. We would expect them to find places to park that are not rail service car parks. In the long term, it is the Royal Borough's contention that, as a developer, effectively, Crossrail should consume its own parking. Rail services should consume their parking demand.

12506. At slide 30 we see what is being proposed by Crossrail. One has the maintenance of some car parking on the station forecourt. There is the loss of some, is there not, because of the construction of the new building?

(Mr Reed) That is correct.

12507. The maintenance at Shoppenhangers Road car park is as surface only. The existing Silco Drive has the stabling built over it.

(Mr Reed) It does.

12508. Then there is the new Silco Drive, created at the old goods yard, which you say is half a kilometre away. Do you think that is satisfactory in terms of the proposals for meeting, as it were, the disbenefits that flow from the proposal?

(Mr Reed) No, we do not. We believe that the replacement Silco Drive car park will not be used, where it is situated, in significant numbers that will provide for the demand that could be found for car parking there. For some parts of the district to access the new goods yard car park, you have to drive past existing car parks to get to it. People will not do that. They will go into their nearest car park or use an alternative parking location.

12509. Slide 31 is the Royal Borough's objections to those proposals. The forecourt itself is subject to long-term local plan policies, dealing with a spar to a transport interchange, as in the merging policies.

(Mr Reed) That is correct.

12510. There is a failure to provide for new growth at Shoppenhangers Road. That obviously features as the prime town centre car park.

(Mr Reed) Shoppenhangers is the rail service car park. We have indicated to the Committee that we believe Shoppenhangers is a viable location for a multi-storey car park to deal with rail demand.

12511. If we are going to accommodate the 600 figure we mentioned a moment ago, we would be looking at something built on the existing Shoppenhangers site but with multi levels.

(Mr Reed) Yes.

12512. I am grateful to you. You have dealt with the question of pedestrian access and safety issues. You have taken us through the photographs, and we take those as read. Then one goes to the counterproposals of the Royal Borough at slide 32. Would you take us through those, please.

(Mr Reed) We believe the Royal Borough's contention is that the forecourt should be redesigned as the transport interchange and that the long-term car parking should be moved. We have had those discussions with Crossrail. You can see that there is an increase of bus use to access the rail station, and that is to be encouraged as far as possible. Also, there needs to be improved provision for taxi access and drop-off, waiting areas, kiss-and-ride for dropping off commuters, and improved pedestrian access. The pedestrian routes into the station are very narrow, the car fronts and backs overhang the footway so that they are narrowed even more. Getting the priorities right - that the forecourt should be for interchange modes, basically.

12513. Then you have the postulated multi-storey car park at Shoppenhangers Road. On that basis, one would not need the Silco Drive replacement.

(Mr Reed) Yes. We do not believe that Silco Drive is viable. Purely in highway control terms, if you were looking at this as a planning application it is too far from the rail station entrance, between 450 and 600 metres. People will not walk that distance if there are alternative car parks that are significantly closer. Therefore, if multi-storey car parking was provided at Shoppenhangers, we believe there would be no point in providing the surface car park at Silco Drive - other than for staff parking, which is part of its use.

12514. Turning to slide 33, would you tell us about the policy background briefly.

(Mr Reed) The Royal Borough accept that Crossrail does meet the Government's "green" sustainable transport objectives. This morning you were presented with evidence about the long-term parking strategy from Maidenhead. That was drafted in 2004. The local transport plan which was drafted and submitted to government this year accepts that there is a need for improving long-term parking on the edge of the town to support car commuters to Maidenhead and rail commuters. More importantly, the regional transport strategy, which has been published by the Government Office does accept that long-stay car parking close to rail stations is acceptable in encouraging rail links itself.

12515. Slide 34, the transport interchange aspirations. Tell us what is there, if you can.

(Mr Reed) There are photographs within the evidence. At the moment there are cycle storage facilities on Grenfell Walk, which I am sure you have seen several times. There is some cycle parking directly in front of the forecourt entrance which is barriered off. There are some taxi waiting facilities, but we were advised that Maidenhead Station does form the main taxi waiting drop-off area, so taxis do use that as their main point of pick up and drop off in the town. There are two bus stops on Shoppenhangers Road, but there is only one bus stop underneath the bridge, leaving Maidenhead town centre rather than coming in, so there are no bus facilities within the forecourt. The pedestrian routes from the station forecourt are very narrow and constrained by parked cars as well.

12516. We do have two photographs, photograph 11 and 12 (same shown) and perhaps you would tell us about these as an ideal plan for interchange facilities in front of a railway station.

(Mr Reed) This is the overspill cycle parking directly in front of the station itself. You can see that there are temporary barriers that have been put in to provide for additional cycle parking directly in front of the station entrance. This small area here is where the taxis are allowed to wait. Generally, you will find that taxis continue to queue in front of the long-term parkers on both sides of the entrance into the forecourt area. Photograph 13 would show that in more detail.

12517. Could we go back to slides 35 and 36, and your summary. Would you just take us through your conclusions.

(Mr Reed) To summarise, the Royal Borough contends that Crossrail's forecasting is too simplistic and does not really take account of current commuter levels and behaviours or long-term changes in demographics which a new rail service could bring; that the modal split of London-bound commuters is significantly more car-orientated and that Crossrail will inevitably increase this, as that is more attractive to them; and that the revised car-parking proposals by the Promoter are not acceptable as it is located even further from the station than the current car parks.

12518. Slide 36.

(Mr Reed) The Royal Borough believes that the car parking provision should be significantly increased, with the need for a multi-storey car park on Shoppenhangers Road, catering for around 600 to 700 spaces, for current and future rail commuters; and that this parking should be managed in partnership with the Royal Borough so that you can get that demand management; that the design of the forecourt should be for the provision of interchange modes (bus, taxi, kiss-and-ride) and long-term parking moved to a more suitable sites or subsumed into the Shoppenhangers multi-storey.

12519. MR STOKER: Thank you very much.

12520. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Thank you.

 

Cross-examined by MR TAYLOR

12521. MR TAYLOR: Mr Reed, when were you instructed by the Council?

(Mr Reed) Mouchelparkman were instructed by the Council either in May or June - I think it was May - of 2005.

12522. Have you produced a report for the Borough of your analysis of the Crossrail position?

(Mr Reed) We provided a report to the Borough in June 2005, which was an assessment of all the Crossrail communication at that time.

12523. Have you or the Council provided that report to the Promoter?

(Mr Reed) I do not believe that we had, as it was a summary document really for the understanding of councillors and officers at Maidenhead, but it was a summary of existing Crossrail information.

12524. Thank you. In determining what Crossrail should provide for, would you accept that it is not right that Crossrail should be asked to address transportation problems that would arise even if it were not provided?

(Mr Reed) No, not necessarily. That is why I indicated in my comments that historically the rail industry has been very good at catering and dealing with demand on services but has really lacked the provision of car parking elsewhere and other infrastructure. Therefore, this is really almost a catch-up situation. The car parking demand is already overspilling into the surrounding area and, therefore, with Crossrail coming along - and, as we have outlined, we expected to provide additional growth and demand there - all these issues need to be dealt with in one go.

12525. Imagine if you were in a world where there is no Crossrail being proposed and we have growth into the future of Maidenhead. Who would cure the difficulties in relation to station capacity that might arise? Who would cure the difficulties in relation to car parking that would arise?

(Mr Reed) I think in that world the local authority and the train operating companies and Network Rail would work together, as partners, to look at solving that situation together. I do not think the local authority would necessarily lead on finding additional car parking for rail use without going through that with the train operating companies.

12526. If it were the case that rail growth forecasts were to indicate that those problems in relation to station capacity and car parking were to arise, or are already arising, prior to the introduction of Crossrail, why should it be Crossrail that has to cure those problems and not Network Rail and the council?

(Mr Reed) As we have indicated, without Crossrail we would expect the train operating companies and Network Rail, DfT Rail and the local authority to work together to solve the transport interchange problems at Maidenhead, and that may include additional car parking. We are saying that we believe when Crossrail comes along there will not be any change. You have seen from the evidence they are saying that there will be no change in growth at Maidenhead with and without Crossrail. We contend that will not be the case, and, therefore, under that scenario, the car parking should be provided, but it should be an opportunity to solve the problem not just for Crossrail but for the whole of the rail industry at that point - as would be good practice with any transport interchange discussion between the operators and Network Rail, the Government, and the local authority.

12527. Could we look at your slide 10, please, the prediction of growth rates. Three areas are identified there. The growth rate of 1.4 per cent per year arises from the CLRL forecast from 2001-2016.

(Mr Reed) That is an average growth rate based on the 1900 boys in the 2001 Crossrail information and the 2,003 boarders in 2016 - so, yes.

12528. That is their growth rate without Crossrail.

(Mr Reed) That is a growth rate without Crossrail and with Crossrail.

12529. The next point is on rail growth to and from London from the 2005 London Travel Report: 3.1 per cent per year. That, I think you explained, is an average for London as whole. Is that right?

(Mr Reed) That is my understanding.

12530. When we are looking at growth forecasts on the rail network, what is it that drives growth?

(Mr Reed) There will be a number of issues that drive growth: population, employment, and there could be changes in service pattern, improvements in capacity - any number of factors.

12531. Let us start with change in population. You, as I understand it, are advocating a growth rate of greater than 1.4 per cent would be experienced over the years to 2016. As a result, passenger usage at Maidenhead Station would be greater than is forecast by CLRL. What population information have you produced to the Committee to demonstrate that the population would continue to grow in Maidenhead?

(Mr Reed) We have not provided any population information to the Committee to show that would go to 3.1 per cent.

12532. Could we have a look at the exhibit E-001. This is an extract table from a document entitled Population in Berkshire Report - 2001 Review (Joint Strategic Planning Unit).

(Mr Reed) That is correct.

12533. We can see, if we look at the population forecasts in the second column, that from 2001 there is a total population of 136,863 identified. If we look at 2016 we can see 135,107.

(Mr Reed) Yes.

12534. That indicates, does it not, that in Windsor and Maidenhead the population has fallen over time, if not remained static.

(Mr Reed) That is what those figures represent, sir, yes.

12535. If we look at the right-hand side of the page, we see average household size in 2001, of 2.44 people in each household, falling to 2.25.

(Mr Reed) That is what the figures show, sir, yes.

12536. We can see a trend, can we not, of household size decreasing at the time, which would indicate that additional dwellings are being provided not to deal with increases in population but to deal with the fact that average household sizes are increasing into the future.

(Mr Reed) You could draw that assumption from that information.

12537. That indicates, does it not, that, into the future, the population that we are concerned with in relation to Maidenhead Station is likely to be static or falling, notwithstanding that there might be the provision of additional housing?

(Mr Reed) Again, I think this comes back to the point, Mr Chairman, that this is a very simplistic view. Population itself, the numbers of people, yes, that is one factor that is taken account of within the forecasting which is provided. What is not taken account of is how the people within that 135,000 might change, how their journey patterns might change and how their access into Central London might change under Crossrail. Just simply taking the numbers and running them forward is not all the picture. The picture is that people will change their journey habits within that demographic and that is the point we were trying to get across to Crossrail. The population might go down, but people might make different journey choices. They come into an area simply because of: "Right, I have a fast access into Central London now," therefore it becomes a nicer place to live. Some people move out, some people move in. The journey patterns are different. The overall numbers might go down but the journey pattern within that will change.

12538. Let us stick with population for a moment. When we are having regard to 3.9 per cent per year, figures for London as a whole, we need to take into account, do we not, that there are substantial changes in population forecasts for areas such as the London gateway area, the M11 corridor?

(Mr Reed) Yes. But the 3.1 per cent is a measured growth. It is not what is predicted into the future; it is what has been measured in the last four or five years.

12539. Right. We need to bear in mind, do we not, that measures of percentage growth in London will reflect the population changes in and around London as a whole? Those are not necessarily representative of population changes in and around Maidenhead. That must be right, must it not?

(Mr Reed) Could you repeat the question, please, sir.

12540. Yes. The population changes for London as a whole will be different from the population changes into the future of the area around Maidenhead.

(Mr Reed) Possibly. They will be, but I think the issue here is that under the London plan the Mayor is predicting - and I know it has been reviewed - 600,000 new employment positions and 800,000 new residences. The issue is that those 600,000 new jobs are not necessarily filled by 800,000 new people. The jobs could be filled by anyone travelling in and out of London. Although there is grown in London, the employment opportunities that may arise in London could still be serviced by people out in Maidenhead, especially if the opportunities for journey differences are better.

12541. Where is the major expansion in population in Maidenhead going to occur?

(Mr Reed) There are only a number of locations. Maidenhead is constrained by the Green Belt.

12542. It is surrounded by the Green Belt entirely.

(Mr Reed) Under the South East Plan my understanding is 5,000 dwellings are to be built and they will generally be in the areas surrounding Maidenhead town centre, the urban areas and Windsor.

12543. MR TAYLOR: But, as we have seen, increases in total dwelling numbers des not necessarily lead to an increase in population.

12544. SIR PETER SOULSBY: I think the Committee is getting the point that there are different ways of predicting the population in this particular part of Windsor and Maidenhead. I do not think you need labour it.

12545. MR TAYLOR: I apologise if I was. Can we turn back to A137 and slide number ten, and the third aspect of growth that you have identified there for your forecasts. That is the growth between 2001 and 2006 in boarders at around, I think it is now, 4.5 per cent?

(Mr Reed) Yes.

12546. As I understand it, that figure is derived from comparing the LATS survey carried out in 2001 and the survey that you conducted.

(Mr Reed) That was conducted on behalf of the Royal Borough, that is correct.

12547. Over how many days was the survey conducted on behalf of the Royal Borough?

(Mr Reed) It was conducted over one neutral day, which was a Tuesday in May which was taken as a neutral time. Over one day.

12548. Just one day?

(Mr Reed) That is standard. There is no reason to believe that is unacceptable.

12549. Are there fluctuations in daily flows from stations?

(Mr Reed) There could be, which is why we tend to take a neutral day like a Tuesday, which is not a Monday or a Friday, and we take a neutral month, which tends to be March, April, May or September, October, so we are getting a neutral period to take out those ambiguities.

12550. What is the degree of fluctuation on a daily basis at Maidenhead?

(Mr Reed) I am afraid I could not tell you.

12551. You have not investigated that?

(Mr Reed) Within the constraints of time we had, we have not gone back and done further survey work. In the information that has been provided within the TIA we have not been given any fluctuations on daily information, we were just given one figure, so it was comparable like-for-like.

12552. Have you asked for information about daily fluctuations?

(Mr Reed) We have not, sir. It would be helpful to receive that.

12553. The figures that were identified in the survey on the single day that was conducted for the council of boarders, you said the figure needed to be reduced to 2,327.

(Mr Reed) Yes, 2,327.

12554. So there is a 200 difference?

(Mr Reed) Yes, apologies. I checked with the survey company this morning and they had identified that they had mis-put a number into the spreadsheet. They put in the number of 347 and it should have been 147.

12555. Does the 2,327 include boarders who are undergoing train-to-train interchange?

(Mr Reed) Only if they cross between platforms 4 and 5a and platforms 2 and 3 because they are counted at the top of the stairs going down into Maidenhead.

12556. So there is potential double-counting even in the 2,327 number?

(Mr Reed) Potentially, but it is very small.

12557. Do you know how large?

(Mr Reed) I do not know how large but we could estimate it. Effectively you are talking about a difference of 400 between the 1,900 and 2,327. I would say 50 or 60 or 50 to 100. It would be a small amount.

12558. I have to put it to you, Mr Reed, that the use of a growth figure derived on the basis of a survey carried out on a single day which includes double-counting, without any investigation into seasonal or daily fluctuation, is not a sensible basis for forecasting growth to 2016 or 2021.

(Mr Reed) Absolutely, sir, and you will appreciate what we did do was give a range of growths between 1.4, 3.1 and 4.5. We have reported on all of them but we have said 3.1 would be a more realistic figure to take forward.

12559. In respect of these growth figures that we can see in front of us on the screen it is right to say, is it not, that there is no differential effect as a result of Crossrail. Whichever percentage you use Crossrail is not making a difference in terms of what the figure would be at 2016.

(Mr Reed) No, it is not.

12560. So any problems that are identified as a result of applying any of these percentages would occur whether or not Crossrail comes forward.

(Mr Reed) I think the point is we were not using the percentages as a definition of what is occurring in 2016 without Crossrail. What we wanted to identify was there is growth and in 2016 with or without Crossrail for there to be no indicated growth we felt that was unreasonable because there is growth on the network anyway.

12561. So if we turn to A137 and slide 14 where you set out your findings in relation to station capacity. As I understand it, what you have done there is to assume that the capacity of the station is the 2016 CLRL forecast plus 20 per cent, yes?

(Mr Reed) Without any other information we have taken that as a proxy but, as we said in evidence-in-chief, we would be happy to receive what Crossrail has used as a design standard.

12562. I will come back to that later, if I may. If we look at the bottom row, 2006 at 3.1 per cent per annum for three years. That is the growth rate from the London average that we have seen before which is unrelated to whether or not Crossrail comes forward. As I understand it, you have identified that on your assumption Crossrail would fail to meet existing capacity at 2012, but the fact is what you are demonstrating is that without Crossrail, on the basis of your assumption, the station would not meet capacity at 2012.

(Mr Reed) No. I think what we were using this information to demonstrate was that without any other information the design of the Crossrail station could be at or over capacity already once it is opened under existing growth scenarios. We know the existing station already has problems but we were trying to demonstrate that in planning for the future the Crossrail station already could be, under the assumptions we had made or the information we had, already at capacity as soon as it is opened.

12563. So far as your assumption about capacity is concerned, the Crossrail forecast plus 20 per cent, what work have you done to determine that assumption is correct?

(Mr Reed) Recently we met with Crossrail and the Royal Borough and as part of those discussions the figure of 20 per cent was discussed as what is normally used as a design uplift. We have used that as our assumption. Clearly without knowing what the exact figures are we have had to make that assumption.

12564. So you have not been able to identify whether it is the gates that could cause a constraint in the future or whether it is the platform sizes or the stairwells?

(Mr Reed) I think within the design statements the stairwells and entrance areas on to the platforms were identified, but I am not an expert in that area so we would have to be guided by Crossrail and others as to where the actual point on the station at capacity would be the pinch point.

12565. So your assumption is just that, an assumption without any work to support whether or not that is a correct assumption?

(Mr Reed) That is correct but, again, I would say what we are trying to find out from the Promoters is are those assumptions correct and within the short timescales of receiving the information we had to make assumptions as to what could be the growth as we continue discussions with Crossrail to find out exactly what the design of the station is.

12566. Let us deal with the sparks effect, slide number 11 of A137. You give an example with Thameslink opening and a growth of eight to ten per cent per annum as a result of the immediate abstraction of passengers from parallel routes with inferior services. Where is the parallel route with an inferior service here?

(Mr Reed) We have indicated that the Reading to Waterloo service has very long journey times on that and that was provided at slide 25. In that slide we have tried to indicate that during the time of the last survey, which was in 2001, bullet point two, the journey time of the fastest commuter service on the Reading to Waterloo service had increased by seven minutes. In actual fact, the journey times from those outer areas, and as we show on the map the hinterlands around them could abut the Royal Borough, have continued to decrease over time. What we have found is that it is actually faster for people to go from Wokingham to London Paddington via Reading for comparable times.

12567. In terms of the comparable times between Wokingham, Bracknell and Martins Heron at present and a journey time from Maidenhead at present, which is the quickest?

(Mr Reed) Depending on what service you use, Maidenhead into Paddington.

12568. So to the extent that Maidenhead is already providing a quicker service then people will already be driving to Maidenhead to take advantage of that service, will they not?

(Mr Reed) Not necessarily, because what you are indicating is that it is just the journey time basis but clearly the benefit Crossrail brings is not the need to interchange at Paddington. If you add on the journey times from Maidenhead and the interchanging penalties at Paddington you will probably get terrible times, but the difference that Crossrail will bring is that you can go to Maidenhead and direct into the City, therefore the overall journey time comes down. That is our belief.

12569. But I thought you said that the quickest journey from the Wokingham, Bracknell and Martin Herons direction is via Reading and into Paddington already.

(Mr Reed) If people choose to do that but then you have got the interchanging penalty as well.

12570. Back to slide 11 of A137 for the next point on the Thameslink which you rely on: incremental growth and increasing understanding of journey opportunities. The Great Western Corridor has been in existence in terms of providing journey opportunities for a considerable period of time, Mr Reed.

(Mr Reed) Correct.

12571. What greater understanding would there be to be derived in the future with Crossrail?

(Mr Reed) I think in terms of that slide it is our understanding that obviously when Thameslink opened that provided through routes under London and our understanding from discussions with managers in that area at that time was over time people became more aware and had a better understanding of the journey opportunities. I think it is the only other comparable service in respect of Crossrail. As you said yourself, at the moment you have to go into Paddington and change but under Crossrail you will not need to change if you have got destinations within the City and West End. That is the information that Crossrail provided to us as a benefit in time for those passengers. What will happen over time is that people will become more aware of those journey patterns. They will not necessarily go as soon as Crossrail opens but over time people will become more aware of those opportunities. I have no doubt that you will see estate agents' fliers saying Maidenhead is a good place to live because you can get direct access into London in the same way that schools in Maidenhead are very good and that is another reason for coming to Maidenhead. People will become more aware of it. Also, as I am sure you will appreciate, when Crossrail opens it will open with a fanfare, there will be a lot of publicity, a lot of benefits shown why Crossrail was built and people will pick up on that and say, "There is another journey opportunity". Word goes around in offices. People will work that out for themselves over time. We will not necessarily see it immediately but we think it will happen over time as people become more aware of the services.

12572. Let us move on to changes in journey patterns. The train to London already provides a quicker means into London than the private car.

(Mr Reed) Yes, certainly.

12573. A much quicker journey into London than the private car.

(Mr Reed) Yes.

12574. You have explained in your evidence that Crossrail will provide a comparable service into London.

(Mr Reed) No, Mr Anderson's evidence this morning indicated that Crossrail would provide a comparable service into Paddington and London compared to the base now, and we have repeated that in evidence today.

12575. Given that the service will remain comparable to the current level of service, if that is the intention, it is unlikely that Crossrail will be attractive to those currently driving to work from the Maidenhead area, because they are already using the train.

(Mr Reed) I am not quite sure what point you are trying to get at here, counsel. We have not, in our evidence, indicated that we would be trying to draw people off the M4 or other routes who drive into Maidenhead. What we are saying is that people will see Crossrail as offering them benefits locally in access to London Paddington and services to stations within London, and therefore they will chose to drive to Maidenhead, but I do not think we have contended that people will come off the motorway.

12576. So far as rail heading is concerned, you have analysed the results of your survey. As I understand it, there are two branch lines in the vicinity of Maidenhead: there is a branch line to Henley and a branch line to Marlow. Is that right?

(Mr Reed) Yes, there is a branch line from Henley that runs into Twyford, which is the next station west of Maidenhead, and there is the Marlow and Bourne End branch that goes into Maidenhead.

12577. In your analysis of rail heading, you have not identified any rail heading from the Henley branch. Is that right?

(Mr Reed) No, we have not.

12578. So far as the Marlow branch is concerned, you explained on slide 24 of A137 that with Crossrail there is no through service proposed on that branch.

(Mr Reed) As far as I understand, sir, there is no through service from the Bourne End branch directly into London Paddington, but there would need to be a change at Maidenhead.

12579. Let me bring up D30 of the Promoter's evidence and just deal with that point briefly, if I may: the Marlow branch timetable summary. Here we have the times of various trains on the Marlow branch and we have got the current timetable in table 1, which shows two London services, 7.13 and 7.53. Underneath that we have table 2, the Crossrail working timetable, which has one through London service. Do you see that?

(Mr Reed) Is that the 7.18?

12580. It is indeed. That will get somebody from Marlow to Paddington in 46 minutes, compared with the through service on the current timetable of 62 minutes and 65 minutes. A considerably quicker journey.

(Mr Reed) Yes, sir.

12581. Given that if we compare these timetables we can see that currently the Marlow branch has five trains in the peak period, two through to Paddington and with Crossrail there are five trains in the peak period with one through to Paddington. Yes

(Mr Reed) Yes

12582. The journey times will obviously change, but I understood your evidence to be that journey times would change only marginally. Indeed, if we look at these tables, I would suggest there is generally a one or two minute increase in the trip from Marlow to Maidenhead.

(Mr Reed) Yes

12583. In terms of people interchanging from the Marlow branch at Maidenhead, the only material change is the loss of one through service to London.

(Mr Reed) There is a loss of one service but, also, currently trains that come into Maidenhead from Bourne End and Marlow come into platform 5A and 5B which is immediately adjacent to the London-bound platform 4. Under the Crossrail proposals the trains from the branch line will come into a separate platform and there rail passengers from the branch line will have to go underneath and change, physically come off the platforms, go under the subway and come back up again, to get to platform 4. So there is an increased interchange time at Maidenhead station itself.

12584. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Mr Taylor, fascinating though these timetables are, I think we are beginning to lose sight of the bigger picture.

12585. MR TAYLOR: I am intending to come back to the bigger picture in submissions.

12586. SIR PETER SOULSBY: I hope you will soon come back to the bigger picture.

12587. MR TAYLOR: If rail heading is to occur, Mr Reed, people have to have somewhere to park at Maidenhead.

(Mr Reed) Yes, they do.

12588. If a parking constraint is imposed in and around the station and the number of parking spaces limited, they will not be able to railhead because there will be nowhere for them to park.

(Mr Reed) That is not necessarily correct, sir. What we have found is that commuters who would choose to railhead can travel earlier to the station and, therefore, use the car parking earlier, and then they can overspill into on-street parking or other long-term parking.

12589. In terms of on-street parking, that can be controlled by the introduction of a controlled parking zone.

(Mr Reed) It could be, sir, but then you would have to find car parking available for those people to go into, if you displace them from on-street.

12590. So you have to meet the demand for car parking wherever it arises, do you?

(Mr Reed) I think the regional transport strategy recognises that there is a benefit in providing car parking at stations.

12591. Is not the benefit of providing car parking at stations to ensure that people take the train for long distance travel and commuting rather than driving their cars?

(Mr Reed) That is correct.

12592. You have already accepted in cross-examination, Mr Reed, that people currently are unlikely to be driving from Maidenhead into London because the train service is so much better.

(Mr Reed) I have, but I think what I indicated was that that will not stop people driving to Maidenhead station to access the rail services, and that would increase with Crossrail.

12593. MR TAYLOR: Thank you very much.

 

Re-examined by MR STOKER

 

12594. MR STOKER: Just very briefly if I may. Slides 10 and 11. There was agreement with my learned friend on a span of examples of general growth of 1.4 to 4.5 per cent. Why should Crossrail not enjoy similar growth? Why should it be a special case and not see any growth?

(Mr Reed) We do not believe it will not get any growth. We believe that, from what we have seen, there will be real growth, but what we have seen is that it will open up a number of opportunities that people will start to take advantage of and, therefore, we will see growth.

12595. Slide 11, on the short point of the understanding of journey opportunities, just to take stock with Crossrail. New stations, new services. The underlying concept of Crossrail. What about that?

(Mr Reed) The underlying concept is, obviously, to provide for additional growth in that area. If you would not mind bringing up policy paper A6, and if we could go, initially, to bullet point 2.1, obviously, part of the underlying promotion of Crossrail is the third bullet point in 2.1 which is providing capacity for growth outside London. Halfway through that paragraph it says: "Crossrail is identified in the strategy as a priority for achieving this continued economic growth by providing additional capacity on the Great Western Main Line and by improving connections between London and the important regional centre of Slough."

12596. MR BINLEY: May I ask a question, Mr Chairman? I think there is a general view that, of course, there will be a need for more car parking. Very crudely and very generally that seems to be agreed. Can I therefore ask, if you were in a position, whether you could advise the Royal Borough and the Promoters to get together on this issue?

(Mr Reed) I think we have several times discussed this with the Promoters and I think there is a continued need for these negotiations on car parking demand at Maidenhead.

12597. MR BINLEY: Given that situation, are we not premature with regard to the evidence we are now putting forward? Why can there not be some sort of agreement on that basis? Can I ask both of you?

12598. MR STOKER: I am certainly in a position to answer on our side, which is that we have come up with a figure and we see a need which should be met. It has been rejected.

12599. SIR PETER SOULSBY: I think, perhaps, looking at the time, if you just finish with re-examination and then, clearly, we are going to come back to this and make some remarks before we finish this afternoon.

12600. MR STOKER: A very simple point: just looking at understanding of journey opportunities, having looked at that and realised the new service, the new stations and the concept of Crossrail, how good a candidate is it for an increased understanding of journey opportunities?

(Mr Reed) I think there needs to be some more thought involved in looking at the journey opportunities and what that might mean on the forecasting. If we could just go to the next points, which are 5.17 and 5.18, I made a note here that Maidenhead would be the first station on the Great Western Main Line where Crossrail would attract a significant number of passengers. I appreciate that is "attract" and not necessarily "generate", which is I am sure what counsel will point out. I think the other point here is that in 5.18 there is a statement that Crossrail will increase capacity between London and the western policy area, so a significant increase in capacity between London and parts of the western policy area. Perhaps if I could, in the time we have left, just draw a parallel with the M25? Every time we add an extra lane to the M25 the amount of car traffic goes up. If you add a new rail service with 10 trains and lots of capacity, I think it would be unrealistic to expect that there would be no growth beyond with and without Crossrail, and certainly over a period of time that that would occur.

12601. Just one factual point. Mouchel are exceedingly experienced in taking these surveys. Is there anything unusual about the one you have just undertaken, in the light of your experience?

(Mr Reed) No. There is no indication within the Crossrail transport assessment - their assessments were done in one day.

12602. MR STOKER: That is all I have.

12603. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Thank you very much, indeed, Mr Reed.

 

The witness withdrew

 

12604. SIR PETER SOULSBY: It is very clear that we are coming towards the end of our session. The continuation of the consideration of the Petition of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead will need to be heard later in our programme. It is obviously not possible, for a number of reasons, to continue it this week. I say that with some regret, but clearly it is the fact of the situation.

12605. If I can just summarise and build on the point that Mr Binley was making, there is clearly a difference of perception between the Petitioners and the Promoters about the likely predicted growth in usage of the station and, indeed, in car parking and to what extent such growth might or might not be attributable to Crossrail. It is also clearly the case that there is a difference of opinion about whether the proposals for the station design and the car parking have adequately addressed the levels of usage and demand that might result from Crossrail. It seems to me, and I expect to other Members of the Committee, it might be helpful if there might be some other discussions on these matters before the Petition comes before the Committee at whatever later date it comes back. I will say no more at this stage. It may be that the matter will be clearer when we come back to the Committee.

12606. That concludes our session for this afternoon. We do return for the consideration of other Petitions at 6 pm, so the Committee stands adjourned until that time.

 

Adjourned until 6pm

 

In the absence of the Chairman, Sir Peter Soulsby was called to the Chair.

Ordered: that Counsel and Parties be called in.

12607. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Mr Mould, would you like to set the scene for us for this evening's Petitioners?

 

The Petition of Thames Reach Residents' Association.

 

MRS PAT FAIRBAIRN appeared on behalf of the Petitioner.

12608. MR MOULD: Sir, what I will do, if you will allow me, is I will set the scene for the Thames Reach Residents' Association, who I think are first up this evening, by simply reminding the Committee that I opened in some detail this morning in relation to Maidenhead and the Guards Club Park in particular, and I believe that the issues that those Petitioners are going to raise are very much to do with the use of the park as a worksite. Given that I am sure you want to make progress, I was not proposing to repeat that, if that is convenient, and just hand over to the Petitioners straightaway.

12609. SIR PETER SOULSBY: We did have a very full presentation this morning about the general issues so we do understand what they are.

12610. MR MOULD: Ms Lieven is going to take over from me and she will deal with the other Petitioners this evening.

12611. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Thank you very much indeed.

12612. MR MOULD: Mrs Patricia Fairbairn.

12613. MRS FAIRBAIRN: I am aware that you have spent some considerable time today already with regard to this but the Residents' Association were very keen that we should actually present our case as, if you like, the general public and people who live very near the park. I have organised what I want to say so I promise I will not waste your time at all.

12614. My name is Pat Fairbairn and I represent the Thames Reach Residents' Association. This is approximately 200 houses surrounding Guards Club Park or in close proximity to it. Of course, Guards Club Park is a public park and so it is obviously important to people who generally live in Maidenhead, not just the residents.

12615. The park is tiny. If I could just show you a slide that I know you have seen already, it shows very well how small the park is. That is very useful, thank you very much. And it illustrates also, understandably, why Crossrail should see this area of land as the easiest and most convenient way to carry out the electrification of the central columns of the Brunel Bridge. I do not know whether the Select Committee have had the opportunity to visit the site, if you have please bear with me whilst I show you only a few photographs. If you have not visited the site, I think you might find it helpful. I know you will have seen some but this gives you a picture of the park, particularly its size. It is a very beautiful park. The park is so small that the whole of it can be seen from wherever one is standing - at either of the two gates or within the park. Residents' houses overlook and come right up to the edge of the park.

12616. If you could go through, there are just eight photographs I want to look at, please. This one, first of all, shows the road called Oldacres and you can hardly see where the park gates are. There is a chap on his bike and then there are some brick pillars and that takes you straight into the park, so you can see the residents' houses go straight into the park. Thank you. The next one is the car park and you are looking across to the other side of the park near where the house is, the other gates, and the photograph limits you but you can see the whole park. Thank you. You are standing in the middle of the park, a little pagoda there, and the next one please. That is the listed Edwardian footbridge that there has been a lot of discussion about and the River Thames and, again, you are in about the middle of the park there. Thank you. This is a particularly good one of the footbridge and you can see Maidenhead Bridge just on the left-hand side there. Thank you. This one shows the path beside the river which I would like to come back to later on. Thank you. That one (Indicating) is the Brunel Bridge and it shows where you will get on to the footbridge to the left there just at the bottom of the picture. Thank you. This is looking to the area that Crossrail are looking to actually use for the portacabin site offices and storage of material.

12617. SIR PETER SOULSBY: I guess those are the posts that we are told will need to be removed temporarily during the construction phase?

12618. MRS FAIRBAIRN: Absolutely, yes. When this petition was submitted we were aware that 50 per cent of the park was within the Bill's limits. In the latest information to us from Crossrail last week we do note that there has been a considerable move to reassure the local authority and us that in fact Crossrail is now prepared to undertake to limit the worksite to ten per cent of the park. That is excluding the use of the footbridge and the island. However, because the park is so tiny, any worksite portacabins and storage materials would be highly visible and intrusive for people visiting and spending time in the park. The Residents' Association and Maidenhead Civic Society met with Crossrail a year ago in June and put forward a suggestion that Crossrail might like to look into using the river, ie using barges, for transporting equipment and as a site office. If this could be effected then there would be no need to use Oldacres which is very much a family estate road or to gain access to the island via Guards Club Park and that listed footbridge.

12619. However, in the latest information from Crossrail received this month Crossrail say that they do not consider the use of the river an appropriate option because there is "a relatively small amount of construction activity over a relatively short duration of time." If there is a relatively small amount of activity over a relatively short duration of time perhaps one could argue that it is even more feasible to use the river.

12620. If I could go on to the next photograph please. In the final analysis, if it is deemed necessary to use land on the Guards Club side of the bridge there is a large area of land beyond this fence that you can see on the photograph which belongs to Network Rail. This photograph shows the fence, the perimeter of the park at the car park end where Crossrail wish to position their site offices, et cetera. This land belonging to Network Rail stretches right down to the river and it is possible to just make out, if you are lucky, the arches of the Brunel Bridge on the bit that is on land. It is a sizable area. We believe that it may be sufficient land for the "small amount of storage" and the "small quantity of site accommodation" required. Those are Crossrail's words. This would mean the Guards Club Park would not need to be used for these purposes.

12621. If I could return to photograph 7 please. This shows the path beside the river in the park. The far end of the park is right next to Network Rail's own land so they would have easy access on to their path. If it is deemed that the river cannot be used for access to the island, access would still be needed along Oldacres for lorry traffic. Crossrail assures us that there will only be a small amount of lorry traffic which we can only believe "a very small amount" means different things to different people, and the people living on that road do have concerns.

12622. Also access to the island along the path that we see by the river and via the footbridge would be needed. The footbridge on the photograph, as I said, could easily be accessed from Network Rail's own land just by the bridge there.

12623. Finally, if the Select Committee decide Crossrail should be allowed to use the park, we would really like to be assured that the site will be cleared immediately the work is finished and returned to its original state within six months and not kept as a convenient, useful site for Crossrail to continue to use when it moves further along the line towards Maidenhead Station. 13 months is the latest estimate from Crossrail for the Brunel Bridge work and that is taking into account the nesting season on the island, which we are pleased to see acknowledged. Normally there are gates at either end of the footbridge from the end of January until the end of June so that is a considerable length of time. During that time these site offices would be sitting in the Guards Club Park - just sitting not used very much presumably. Work invariably takes longer than estimated and we are worried that occupation of that site should just go on and on.

12624. So, in summary, we would ask the Select Committee to consider: if this small and beautiful park should be used at all for this project; if serious consideration should be given to the use of the river for the purposes that have already been mentioned; and if the river is not judged to be a viable option then that Network Rail's own land beside the park should be used for site offices and storage materials, not Guards Club Park. Thank you for listening to me.

12625. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Thank you very much indeed. Mr Mould?

12626. MR MOULD: I wonder if we could put up 04A002. Sir, whilst that is being put up, all I want to say really in response is this: as the Petitioner has fairly pointed out, we have given an undertaking that we will limit the use of the park as a work compound to ten per cent of the total area. We have explained to you through Mr Berryman's evidence this morning why we do not consider that river access by using a barge is an acceptable alternative to the works compound to serve the west side of the Maidenhead Bridge. I do not propose to repeat that now. That point has been made.

12627. So far as the second suggested alternative, which is the Network Rail land in the area immediately to the southern boundary of the park, the position is that we have looked at that area and the minimum requirements for the works compound that we propose in the south-western corner of the Guards Club Park, and I put up again for the Committee's convenience the layout that I explained to the Committee this morning, those facilities, small and limited as they are, we have looked at the Network Rail site and there simply is not enough space within that area of Network Rail land to accommodate the facilities that we require. So that is not, I regret to say, a suitable alternative.

12628. Turning to the final point that was made by the Petitioner, I can certainly give an undertaking to the Committee that once that first phase of work to prepare the Brunel Bridge for overhead line electrification has been completed (and you will recall I mentioned there were two phases and the first phase involved creating foundations) the site will then be cleared and it certainly will not be used, as it were, as a site in later stages of the Crossrail programme to serve other remote works within the Crossrail project. I can give that undertaking.

12629. As to the more detailed merits of the points that I have just outlined to you, the Committee will be aware that we have dealt with some of those points this morning. We are going to be returning to the issue of Guards Club Park in more detail when the Committee hears the resumption of the petition of the Royal Borough, and I think Mr Stoker indicated that that would be the second issue on which he would be calling evidence. We will come back to the points in more detail in response to that petition but in the meantime we have, as the Petitioner indicated, written recently to explain in a little more detail what our proposals are for this works compound and for the works on the river. What I can tell the Committee is this: I shall make sure that we write further to the Petitioners because we have got some further details that we can provide in relation to what is proposed and we will do that to give them some more details about our proposed arrangements for the operation of the worksite and environmental mitigation and so on and so forth, if that is convenient to the Committee.

12630. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Do you have at this stage a plan from which we can see the relative position and size of the Network Rail land?

12631. MR MOULD: Do I have a photograph of that?

12632. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Either a photograph or a plan. If you do not obviously we could return to that when we come to the other Petitioner. I think it would be very helpful for us to see just how big that site is and quite where it is in relation to this.

12633. MR MOULD: I do not think I have a plan that will give you any great assistance. 04A001: the area of land in question is - and I will be corrected if I am wrong - this area here (Indicating). It is an embankment and it has a substantial amount of tree coverage and it is an area that for the reasons that I have given is simply not suitable and available to accommodate the works compound that we need.

12634. What I propose to do is to provide the Committee with a better scaled plan to be able to compare the alternative locations that have been put before it for consideration and provide that to the Committee as soon as possible and also provide a copy of the plan to the Petitioners.

12635. SIR PETER SOULSBY: I think that will be very helpful. Obviously the Committee, as has been remarked, has heard considerable evidence about the difficulties and possibilities of using barges earlier in the day. What we did not hear was any evidence about this particular site, and whether this was perhaps an alternative. I think it would be very helpful for us to see some detailed plans of that when we return to that issue and perhaps some photographs of what is on that site and what might in whole or in part be an alternative to the proposal you have got at the moment.

12636. MR MOULD: I can tell the Committee that on my reading of the Royal Borough's presentation, the material we have from them, that is a site that they will raise as well so we can come back to that point.

12637. MR BINLEY: Through you, Chairman, could I ask looking at this area of land it seems to extend under the line and on to the other side. Is that so?

12638. MR MOULD: It is difficult for me, Mr Binley, to see precisely where you are talking about.

12639. MR BINLEY: If you look at the area of land you are talking about and then you look at the railway line and then you cast your eye down a bit you will see another similar piece on the other side of the railway line. Is that okay? Are we together now?

12640. MR MOULD: We are always together.

12641. MR BINLEY: I am delighted, Mr Mould, that is excellent! Does it go underneath or are there arches or whatever?

12642. MR MOULD: There are, indeed.

12643. MR BINLEY: Secondly, does the land extend down towards that side? You see there is a strip of land on either side extending down by the railway line. You did mention embankment, but I wondered if all of that is embankment?

12644. MR MOULD: I am told that the land to the west is private land.

12645. BRIAN BINLEY: Okay, that is that.

12646. MR MOULD: Just allow me a minute.

12647. SIR PETER SOULSBY: At this stage all we need to say is that the Committee would clearly benefit from having some further illustration of the ownership and topography and possibilities of the alternative sites and then have a rather better-informed discussion than is possible this evening.

12648. MR MOULD: When I get beyond here I am beyond what I know but I will certainly make sure we write.

12649. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Fortunately, this is an issue that we will be able to return to when we return to the other petition we are considering this evening.

12650. MR MOULD: I undertake that we will certainly write to the Committee. I had intended to write to the Petitioner anyway because we wanted to explain more of our thinking on this issue, so I will do that.

12651. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Thank you very much. That is probably as far as we need take that petition this evening unless you wish to come back.

12652. MRS FAIRBAIRN: No thank you.

12653. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Thank you very much indeed. In which case we can move on to the two remaining petitions in front of us this evening and Ms Lieven I think you are next.

12654. MS LIEVEN: If it is Westbourne Park Villa Residents it is me; if it is Joann Bainton, I do not know if she is here ---

12655. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Is Joann Bainton with us this evening? From that silence we can guess she is not, in which case it is you Ms Lieven.

 

The Petition of Westbourne Park Villas Residents' Association.

 

LADY MARGOT BRIGHT appeared on behalf of the Petitioner.

12656. MS LIEVEN: Thank you very much. Sir, as is our usual form I start with a short opening. Sir, the issues that the Westbourne Park Villas Residents' Association have were touched on in some detail last week with Westminster City Council, so I am going to try not to repeat myself too much, although I am conscious that some members of the Committee were not here last week.

12657. If I can have up our plan 001 relevant to this petition and use that as a way of orientating the Committee. Westbourne Park Villas - and Dame Margot will tell me if I am wrong - is this street here (Indicating) and we walked along it on the site visit, some members of the Committee will remember. These are the existing railway lines, including the mainlines going to Paddington. Paddington is over here (Indicating) and obviously this is the mainline going out west. So Westbourne Park Villas is a street adjoining the existing railway line. There is a wall on the north side of the road between the road and the tracks. As I understand it - and obviously Lady Margot will tell you more - the Residents' Association's primary concern is about the noise from the project. There are two primary aspects of that, although I am sure there are more that Lady Margot will go into in more detail. As I understand it, the two primary issues are, first of all, the noise from the Crossrail trains, which Mr Taylor will deal with, and, secondly, the slightly more complicated issue of the concrete batching plant at Paddington New Yard, which is here (Indicating) which those Members who came on the site visit will remember we went into New Yard and saw the batching plant.

12658. It is the batching plant I am just going to focus on for a brief moment because there are quite complicated issues around the batching plant which I did explain last week, if I can give the Committee the reference. It was in my opening on Westminster on 21 June at paragraph 11532. I do not intend to repeat all of that because I set out there in some detail our position on the batching plant.

12659. In essence, the existing concrete batching plant is a rail-served facility leased to Tarmac who bring in aggregates by train, unload them on the site and turn them into concrete and then the concrete is taken, I cannot quite remember, anyway the concrete is taken out by road to central London construction sites. I made the same mistake last week and I promised myself I would remember and then I have got confused again! Anyway, the aggregates come in by train and go out by HGV on the road network to construction sites in central London.

12660. Crossrail, the project, needs to remove the batching plant, for two reasons. If we can put up the next plan so we can see properly the Crossrail proposal. The batching plant is being removed for two reasons. One is that we need sidings here (Indicating) to turn around Crossrail trains that are terminating at Paddington so that they can terminate at Paddington, get the passengers off, come in here, turn back, and then go back to the central section. So it is an essential part of the Crossrail operational proposal.

12661. We also need the site of New Yard for a construction site during the construction period because the Committee will recall that the portal for the tunnel is down here (Indicating), it is a little to the east, and this is a major construction site for the portal and what is going on there into the main central tunnel. So we need to take the concrete batching plant out.

12662. However, there is a strong planning policy imperative that I went through last week for replacing a rail-served batching plant or similar facility at this location because the Committee can see easily that if we take out a rail-served batching plant then the central London construction sites will need to get their concrete probably from further away and possibly from a non rail-served facility, so the London Plan and also the regional policy are very strongly in favour of not removing rail-served facilities such as this. That policy imperative, as I understand it and I asked Mr King from Westminster Council questions about this last week, is accepted by the Council.

12663. In those circumstances, it is part of the Bill scheme that a concrete batching plant is replaced at Paddington New Yard. It needs to be slightly differently configured. The Committee will remember from the first plan that effectively the existing batching plant is squarer and is there (Indicating) and in order to fit this one in next to the sidings it has to be longer and thinner so it is a different shape and the power to do that is contained in the Bill. There are quite technical complications here because in the Additional Provisions 2 we have extended the sidings so that the trains that Tarmac need to serve the facility can get in. In the original Bill, according to Tarmac, the sidings were too short so the sidings have been extended in AP2.

12664. It is also proposed by the Promoter that planning permission for this facility will be granted by the Bill. There will be a deemed planning permission in the Bill because this is an integral part of the scheme and in AP3 we will seek power to impose conditions on that planning permission so that the entire planning process can be dealt with through the Bill process. We went through that in a little detail at the last hearing on this matter. As I told the Committee, and as I think Mr King from Westminster agreed, we are very close to agreement on the terms of those conditions. Obviously the intention is that the conditions make the operation of the batching plant environmentally acceptable. The batching plant that is there at the moment was built under a 1982 planning permission and I understand - and Mr Taylor will give evidence on this if the Committee wants to know - that there is great scope to improve the environmental impact of the batching plant by making it a more modern facility with more closure around it rather than open hoppers and the noise associated. Both noise levels from the batching plant and hours of HGVs coming and going will be dealt with by conditions which will be set by the Secretary of State but which Westminster and the residents will be consulted upon.

12665. There is one final point I should just outline in opening which is so far as the trains on sidings coming into the batching plant are concerned - and if we need to we can explain the movement of trains in more detail - that will take place on what is largely existing railway operational land and which under the Bill, the small part which is not existing, will become railway operational land, and in those circumstances the movements of the aggregates trains will not be limited by conditions. The Committee may be aware that Network Rail train operations on railway operational land are never constrained by planning conditions. They are part of general development and to do so would significantly constrain the railway industry. So there is a distinction between the plant itself for these purposes and the sidings. I hope that is all I need to say at this stage. I appreciate that some members of the Committee are already completely up to speed on this and others have not been through this once before, so if there is anything more I can help the Committee with at this stage, I am more than happy do so.

12666. SIR PETER SOULSBY: I think we can go straight on to Lady Margot.

12667. LADY BRIGHT: Firstly, I should introduce myself: Margot Bright, Lady Bright. I do not know how I got to be Lady Margot, it somehow happened, if you know what I mean, so I am here under false pretences on that score but I represent the Westbourne Park Villas Residents' Association and we have letters of support from the rest of the Westbourne Conservation Area, those streets that are behind us. We are the frontier against the railway, as it were.

12668. We are not against this railway or the principle of the Bill, far from it, however we do think that we are going to bear the brunt of it in noise terms in particular, and we do have grave concerns about the level of protection and mitigation that Crossrail, the Promoters, are so far suggesting.

12669. We are speaking tonight rather than last week because we were not given correct information from Crossrail about this rather complicated series of issues that Ms Lieven has been talking about. Chairman, your alternate, as it were, was kind enough to say we could come back this week, having discussed the matter with residents, who were pretty knocked back, frankly.

12670. Now I have heard this morning that the acoustic barrier that Crossrail offered us alongside that brand new 350-metre siding, is no longer on offer. They have not sent me an alternative proposition. I do not know what they might be offering instead but they did just talk to Network Rail, probably last night, who said, "You can't do it. There is no room for it. There are health and safety issues." So we are once again in disarray and here I am once again representing residents without being able to inform them first of what is actually proposed for them. So I hope you will forgive me for doing this in a slightly muddled fashion. It is not, I know, the first time you have heard complaints about consultation and information and I am afraid you will even hear a few more from me.

12671. If it is alright with you, because the concrete batching plant and the various issues are fresh in everybody's mind, I shall go straight to dealing with that and then, if I may if there is time, revert to a bit more general noise context and, as it were, noise talk. We are all noise experts in that street but not in the technical sense, if you see what I mean, not in the decibel sense.

12672. There were two ministerial statements, one on the 14th and one on the 15th of June which we think - and I will say it straightaway - mean that the turn-back facility, far from being an essential part of Crossrail's operational proposal, is a complete nonsense in that site. The first notice is that the depot for the Crossrail trains, rather than being a very expensive and contentious £80 million one from Romford, is going to go one mile down the track to Old Oak Common. I do not think anybody has ever met anybody in the railway business who could explain a turn-back facility so close to the depot. It does not appear to make any sense in railway terms. If the depot was at Romford, yes, that is a different matter, but this does not seem to be justified in operational terms.

12673. I am not setting myself up as an expert here. Lord Berkeley, who was in here a bit earlier, has made it public for years ever since this proposal was made that he thought it was potty to have a turn-back facility right there. Now that the Old Oak Common site is to be the depot, surely it must be even pottier?

12674. I know that Crossrail has not discussed or considered in any detail the possibility of going and turning the trains round at the depot. I did last week have a brief conversation with one of the Crossrail engineers who was trying something on the back of an envelope and he did say that he could not prove it was impossible, but that is rather Crossrail speak for, "Oh dear, we had not thought of that, " is it not. We are glad to hear that Crossrail and Network Rail have been having much more dialogue recently. I think that is where this ministerial statement came from and why the turnback facility could be moved and why the depot could be moved down there. If it is a bit technically tricky they do have an extra £80 million to play with.

12675. This is our proposition, if we take the turn-back facility out of that very congested patch there. Congestion is a very dangerous theme on the Great Western Railway. We had the (?) question not much further down the line which did involve freight and passenger trains and we all saw the level of road traffic. So let us try and get it a bit less congested, shall we?

12676. What about that concrete batching plant and its siding? Well, the siding was going to have this 3.6 metre concrete barrier we were told (and there seems to be some confusion about where exactly 3.6 metre barrier was going to be) and it was going to be an acoustic barrier. When we had our meeting with Crossrail they were desperately keen to persuade us to accept without any specification that this would solve our problems of the very, very noisy freight train delivery of aggregates which went on, not only affecting everybody in Westbourne Park Villas but people on the other side of the railway in Maida Vale and immediately where the batching plant is, the little roads, because they have to put up with the trucks as well. We were not actually playing that game, which is just as well, and I would like to put it on record that we would have been offered something supposedly to protect us and we would have been very badly let down because this morning I was rung to say they had finally discussed it with Network Rail who said there was no room for it. There would not be, with the turn-back facility and the batching plant and everything else.

12677. You will not be surprised to hear that we do not believe that there should be a concrete plant in this location at all. We also believe that the Committee has been somewhat misled about the need for having one as close to central London as this. This is the closest one and much is always made of that by the company that operates it, Tarmac. Tarmac have, as you will recall from reading their petition, been trying to drive a very hard bargain indeed with Crossrail. We do take the view that for them it is a very good deal to have that batching plant but we do not see why public money should be used to provide a giant corporation with a 350-metre siding, at very considerable cost in terms of the disturbance to people in a very densely populated residential area, where, quite frankly, if that plant were not there purely as a hangover from 1971 planning operations, there is no chance that it would be built now.

12678. I say that despite what Ms Lieven said about Westminster City Council's position on planning. Westminster have, I understand, reserved their position on a lot of these related issues for later. They are talking about "keeping their powder dry". They are putting in a very difficult squeeze by a kind of card game on planning imperatives. I believe the London Plan trumps local plans basically, and the London Plan says that we do not want to lose batching plants on a rail link because we want to move freight by rail as much as possible. However, this is where I think you have been a bit misled. It also says that we want to move freight sustainable by rail, and the word "sustainable" these days does not mean just going on doing something, it does imply sustainable development; that is allowing cohabitation between different species, humans and trains in this case.

12679. The other factor which is very important in terms of misleading is that I think you have been told that concrete goes off in half an hour. That is the central London plant business. It actually does not. Even the British Standard says you have got two hours. I do not know quite why this half an hour figure came into things but I notice that the petition from Hanson, and I have not read the other manufacturers' petitions, also claims it goes off within half an hour and therefore you have got to be within five miles of your customers. Remember the British Standard says you have two hours and if you add a retardant that makes the concrete stronger and harder and it can be extended to four hours.

12680. The only thing I can think of, since I did try and check this out with the British Cement Association because it sounded so implausible, is the PR officer said "Ah, gosh, that really stretches credibility. There is only one sort of concrete that this might be true of and that is a specially made one for airport runways which has to be very, very hard and has to be ready very, very quickly but this is not for the generality of building projects." So we have a concrete plant there which we believe should not be there. I do have expert papers on concrete hardening if you want me to send them to you at any stage. That is important because of the distance. There are quite a few plants rail-served not very far away. There are three at King's Cross, for example. Crossrail initially said they were not going to put in a temporary concrete batching plant when they had to close this one down. They said they were going to put it out to tender and other suppliers nearby such as the three at King's Cross could obviously try to get this very lucrative and important government contract. I thought that they were already obliged to do under the rules on tendering for government contracts, however, it turned out last week that they are going to put in a temporary plant and Tarmac have done the design for it because I got a copy of it from Tarmac, I rang Crossrail and they said, "Oops, it's out, is it? I do not the detail but I just mention it to you. Deals are being done.

12681. We are looking at three concrete plants. We are looking at the old one we have got now, the temporary one that is going to be squeezed in the top left-hand corner of the drawing there, and which Tarmac's Area Operations Manager thinks gives rise to considerable dangers with vehicle turning movements because it is very small, and then we will get this much larger plant which has a much bigger footprint than the current plant. That will be slipped in, so to speak, under the false pretences of concrete setting time and distance issues through to what I take to be the slight misrepresentation of the London Plan, and it will add considerably - and I am steering clear at this point of the noise and pollution considerations - to the congestion at that point where there will not, you remember, even be room for an acoustic barrier against the freight trains.

12682. Just to give you an idea, leaving aside for the moment pollution and the dangers to the children in the school who are going to be right next door, of what noise problems residents have here, the aggregates freight trains, which as you know can only travel at night or in the small hours when the passenger trains are not running, are the only freight trains that come down our way as close to Paddington as that. There is a massive great track to the west but most of it stops at Old Oak Common. These trains come in the small hours and the noise they make peaks at 100.8 decibels in the small hours, as measured by Crossrail's own engineers for the Environmental Statement. That is like having a pneumatic drill a metre from your ear. That measurement was taken outside number 93 Westbourne Park Villas, which is a little group of houses on the other side of the road that is virtually sitting on the tracks.

12683. Other residents and I have been down - and Tarmac have been quite open about their operations - and spent the better part of a night observing that congested business there with the old dilapidated plant that is still going and the freight deliveries, and I can only say it is a terrifying sight. It is jammed in against the Westbourne Park bus garage, which we have not even mentioned yet, which will be tucked up there in a rather clever plan that is going to go on two levels. It is very expensive and because of all this other stuff going on in front of it they are having to do this with piling, causing people to write letters and exchange correspondence in the engineering press. It is going to have The Westway as the roof as its upper tier and then underneath will be the second lot. That is at the moment just a wrap really and not enough space for the 150 buses they are going to have to accommodate. That all has to squeeze in there with the concrete plant.

12684. There have been fatal accidents already. Buses are forever slipping their brakes backwards down that ramp. A bus company employee was killed. You probably heard about the fire at the Westbourne bus garage in January or saw the smoke that lay over London for two days. Noxious smoke of course. A young local teenager has been charged, I know, with torching those places. The scariest one of all has not been reported and it happened in November. A bus slipped its brakes again, slid down the ramp and stopped that far (Indicating) from the fuel tanks belonging to the old concrete plant. It was just held by the fence that just did not give way. That would have been a real disaster.

12685. If Crossrail is delayed as we believe, most people believe (everybody believes?) it will be, and certainly our local MP believes it will not even begin until after the Olympics, we shall be stuck with that very old concrete batching plant which the Operations Manager knows he cannot keep going for that long. It is just falling apart. It is already in breach of certain rules. They can just about get away with it and they do what they can to patch it up and bring it in line with modern standards. This is a nonsense. Nobody is going to get out of this in a sensible way. I know for a fact that the Metropolitan Police, the SO13 Anti-Terrorist Branch, have not been consulted on this and I also know they have given a presentation at the King's Cross batching plants to say how frightened they are having a cement mixer under a flyover, next to a school, just down the road from Paddington Green Police Station where terrorist suspects are held, and a hop and a skip away from where pretty much all the suspects arrested after the 21 July London bombings live. It is a big issue for them and we do think that that one should be put into the pot as well.

12686. I am not sure that you want to hear a lecture from me about how awful concrete batching plants are for children's health because I think you can probably work that one out for yourselves. I am sure you all know David Lammy, the Culture Minister, had a massive campaign in his constituency on this subject. Let me know if you want to hear about it but you can see that it is a major issue. In addition, by the way, all this is going to pinch a playing field from the new school which is nearly finished. So you have a school with a concrete plant alongside it. Okay, with conditions to be an all-singing all-dancing modern one but still noxious and all the other objections. And guess what is just one mile down the road, with a rail head? Old Oak Common. Old Oak Common is an extensive site. The turn-back facility is small obviously. The concrete batching plant is bigger but guess what else is down the road at Old Oak Common? EWS, the freight movers, the biggest of the freight companies, which is the one whose wagons wake us up and shake our houses to bits in the middle of the night. They are being moved as of next year to North Pole depot which is on this side (Indicating) and Old Oak Common is the big patch of land above it. We do not seem to have a picture of that, unfortunately, but it is only a mile down the way. I see absolutely no reason why, bearing in mind that it will be positively dangerous and very difficult for us all to avoid a disaster if Crossrail is delayed and this old plant has to stay on, I see no reason why it should not be considered as an over-site development down there where I am quite sure there will be less of a conflict in planning terms because it is not a residential area, it is a large area of railway land and there is an adjacent brown field site which the Minister mentioned in his statement last week.

12687. I am sure it will cost something. I know that Tarmac can get around to some extent the problem of bringing lorries by road. It is not very far. We will still get it. It will not be much advantage to us because it will have to come on The Westway, the A40, but at least that is better than having great big concrete mixer lorries - I am having the same problems - going through the little streets in Alfred Road between the school and the block of flats, I would have thought because it is a main road. Also I know that there are technical ways of dealing with having to have large shipments of cement on the road. They do have much bigger cement mixers on the Continent and we can get hold of those. We do not have to have 100 little ones, if you see what I mean. I have gone on a little bit about that. The residents really do feel very strongly about it. If we could get clearer that whole congested area it would be safer for everybody.

12688. It would match up to what our local authority, Westminster, made very clear. There has been huge change of use in that site which once upon a long time ago, yes, was an old railway yard with freight sidings but which for long years now have been artists' studios and small businesses. Now that land is needed for the very fast-growing population of young children with the nursery and the Westminster Academy, which is going to be three new schools in that estate, and there is a tremendous pressure for residential amenity in the form of green space. To lose a playing field on a school site like that which is very tight indeed --- I do not like the idea that the London Plan somehow trumps national policy on children, exercise and obesity, for example, but it seems perhaps it does. There is your concrete batching plant, I hope, transferred down to Old Oak Common.

12689. Perhaps if you have not seen it, it would be alright if I read you a brief statement under the heading "Sustainable Distribution Fund" from the Transport Minister last week. This was a separate statement from the one about making the depot at Old Oak Common. Here is my favourite word "sustainable" again.

12690. SIR PETER SOULSBY: If you would like to put it on the overhead projector.

12691. LADY BRIGHT: Whenever anybody suggests changing anything everybody always says it costs too much and is the money available in this statement? Is it readable?

12692. SIR PETER SOULSBY: I do not think you need read it out. We note it is the Minister of State making the statement on the Sustainable Distribution Fund.

12693. LADY BRIGHT: Obviously the important thing about it is that it is a fund set up to deal with precisely what we are talking about to secure the benefits of reduced pollution and congestion on the railways, and we are talking freight here, sustainable distribution. It seems to me that it really is all there.

12694. SIR PETER SOULSBY: I think we understand the point entirely but thank you.

12695. LADY BRIGHT: I do not know if anybody wants to come back on this.

12696. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Thank you very much Lady Bright. Ms Lieven?

12697. MS LIEVEN: I do not know if that is all of Lady Bright's points or she was just concentrating on the concrete batching plant.

12698. LADY BRIGHT: I wanted to take them first but I am sorry I am not good at procedure.

12699. SIR PETER SOULSBY: In which case we will wait and take the remainder of your points, Lady Bright, and then we will come to Ms Lieven.

12700. LADY BRIGHT: Thank you very much. I just did feel those things needed to be tackled first while everybody had it fresh in their minds. Is it possible to put up that picture of the site? It is actually quite green, not that it looks it there. You can see exactly where we are along the railway but we are probably the most exposed site in the whole Cross Rail project, we think.

12701. The other residents' associations are supporting us because the noise comes off The Westway and off the various railways and through into everybody's gardens and back green bits and really it is not just us, though we obviously have locus standi, it is really rather a large population and a very mixed one at that, this whole huge Brunel Estate who are, we feel, not able to have our legal right to peaceful enjoyment of our property. We do feel it is already being infringed by the noise levels from the overhead road and various railways and we do feel that if Crossrail comes along and tells us, as it appears to be telling us, that it can run 48 trains an hour on top of what we have already got and we will not notice it, is not very plausible where the noise levels are as high as they are there. Remember in the small hours it goes up to 104 at peak. I am not claiming at all that it is the norm, but you get these peaks with trains that come along during the day.

12702. We rather look to the Committee to find some way of redressing the balance between these two cohabiting species that I was telling you about, humans and trains. If we were bats or crested newts we would have a lot more protection, I can assure you of that.

12703. We also believe that this project ought to be taking account of the European Union Environmental Noise Directive of 2002. It will very soon begin to bite and the UK is very much behind on it. Everybody else is a bit ahead and we are going to get into trouble if we do not catch up. The one bit that I know has been completed is the noise level map, which Mr Taylor was involved in doing, and the result, you probably will not surprised to hear, shows that we are pretty noisy. I can put it on the projector if anybody wants to see that. An interesting thing about this noise map ---

12704. SIR PETER SOULSBY: For the record, the picture we just had is A142 and this will be A143.

12705. LADY BRIGHT: This map has been produced, as similar maps have been produced all over the European Union, to show noise hotspots. The Directive is particularly targeted at preventing and reducing environmental noise in larger conurbations and adjacent to major railways, roads and airports. Certainly all our European neighbours expect them to include mitigation of railway noise. This map shows as you can see, along that corridor, the A40 Great Western mainline corridor, it is pretty much as noisy as it can get, the red and pink. The orange and the brown is normal inner city noise really but it is that bit that is high. The interesting thing about this is that apparently it only measures road noise. It has not even got the railway noise superimposed upon it. Mr Taylor might be able to explain how that was done. I cannot imagine how you could just get The Westway noise and not get the railway noise. We are talking about an area that badly needs tackling.

12706. Just also to put some context on the residents' complaints, we cannot blame Crossrail for everything that is there already, that is not the point. We are simply saying that the Crossrail project should have been conceived in the same spirit, say, as the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation's Westrail project in Hong Kong which was also going through inner city areas where everybody is living cheek by jowl, very similar, only they said at the outset, "We want to make this the quietest railway in the world," and they found ways of doing it because that was what they set out to do. We believe in the Crossrail project the noise is an add-on, and just about meets the lowest standards that we can because noise costs and our main priority is to do this project without costing too much money.

12707. I have one example just to show how powerless residents are in this situation. I could have brought all the piles of letters which have been written to the chairmen, PR directors and environmental directors, or whatever they all called themselves at the time of Network Rail, Railtrack, British Rail, the guardians of our national rail structure. 1998 and 2000 letters to the two chairmen at that time, got lovely responses "Oh, yes, we want to be good neighbours" and then absolutely nothing in response to the particular points raised. One neighbour, Adrian Cole, who is an experienced builder, had to wait six years almost before a misaligned rail was put back into alignment. That may not sound like much but it meant that this builder who had put the highest specification acoustic glass into his house, which is one of the houses that is close to the railway line, it was completely vitiated by the effect of this rail which in normal maintenance should have been mended. He wrote to them every year because every year they said "We have other priorities: safety, congestion, et cetera, but we will do it next year" and then it did not happen so he had to write again and it did not happen and he had to write again. Meanwhile every time a train went past - and there are an awful lot of trains going past on the Great Western Railway Main Line - the house shook. It is an awful lot of shaking of an house when you think about it.

12708. I would like to just point out that we are not on any old London clay but pure London clay, nothing else. These were clay pits where Westbourne Park Villas lie. They dug them out and used the clay to build the bricks to make the houses.

12709. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Lady Bright, I do not want to cut you short entirely but I think perhaps if we just stick to the particulars of your concerns about Crossrail it might be helpful.

12710. LADY BRIGHT: Sorry. I beg your pardon, you are quite right. The clay pits point is important because the clay does carry the noise and vibration further. It does accentuate the effects of the freight trains going by and that vibration has implications, obviously, for settlement but this is not the place to deal with the settlement issues.

12711. We would like to close here on the noise point because we realise we can reserve our position on some of the others for later. Can we say, please, where the Committee is able to do so can it try to resolve some of these conflicts between imperatives for the different species, the trains and human beings. Thank you.

12712. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Thank you very much indeed, Ms Leiven.

12713. MS LEIVEN: Thank you very much, Sir. I think the best thing is if I call very briefly Mr Walters to deal with one or two of the engineering points, in particular turn-back facility and then Mr Taylor will call Mr Taylor on noise because I will get the figures wrong. I think that is probably the best way to deal with it.

12714. SIR PETER SOULSBY: That is fine.

12715. MS LEIVEN: If I can ask Mr Walters to go forward. While he is doing so can I just explain one point, Sir. Lady Bright referred to EWS going to Northpole Road next year. Now that is a surprise to us because we are in negotiations with EWS about a number of sites and I can assure the Committee there is no agreement at this stage they will go to Northpole Road.

12716. LADY BRIGHT: It was mentioned in the ministerial statement.

12717. MS LEIVEN: There are discussions going on but at this stage I can absolutely assure the Committee there is no certainty on that move. EWS are coming next week or the week after so if there are any concerns we can pick it up with them.

12718. SIR PETER SOULSBY: We will have an opportunity then to explore that issue. Can I just say, Lady Bright, that after Ms Leiven has finished questioning Mr Walters you will have an opportunity to question him as well.

12719. LADY BRIGHT: Is it possible to call a witness myself?

12720. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Yes, it is, but we need to do that first.

12721. LADY BRIGHT: I am so sorry.

12722. SIR PETER SOULSBY: I am sorry, I should perhaps have asked you whether you wanted to call a witness. If you do, let us go back and do that and enable you to call your witness.

12723. LADY BRIGHT: I am so sorry.

12724. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Can you stand down for a little while, Mr Walters, and allow Lady Bright to call her witness. I do not think we were aware of this so it may be we need to swear your witness in.

12725. LADY BRIGHT: Yes. It may sound a bit irregular because the witness is my husband but he has got much more relevant expertise than I have as a former Chairman of London Transport. This is not a criminal case, is it, so presumably it is all right.

12726. SIR PETER SOULSBY: I am sure it is.

 

SIR KEITH BRIGHT, sworn

Examined by Lady Bright

12727. LADY BRIGHT: Perhaps you could introduce yourself.

(Sir Keith Bright) I am apparently required to tell you my qualifications and experience so I will do that very quickly. I have a degree in physics, maths and chemistry, followed by another bachelors degree in honours chemistry, followed by a doctorate in surface science. My experience is as one of a merchant banker in Hill Samuel a long time ago; two, I ran a giant company in the Far East called Sime Darby; three, running London Transport as Chairman for seven years and, finally, running Chelsea and Westminster Health Care NHS Trust as founder chairman for another seven years. I have spent most of my time between the public and private sectors.

12728. LADY BRIGHT: Residents are very keen to have a noise barrier across the wall which Crossrail have told us they do not want to give us, a permanent noise barrier to be introduced before the works begin. Could you perhaps explain why you disagree with Crossrail's view that it cannot be done?

(Sir Keith Bright) There are a number of aspects to this. First of all a noise barrier depends on the height, the surface and the type of materials that are used before it can work effectively. At the moment we have a wall between Westbourne Park Villas and the railway. It is a slightly curved wall in as much as it is not quite vertical on one side, it is pretty vertical on the other side. There is a rule of thumb which says if you cannot see the origin of the noise you cannot hear it. It is a very trivial thing because it is clearly nonsense because you can obviously hear lots of noise which you cannot see the origin of. It is a first approximation. The other thing is that if you want to live at the top of a house and you are looking down at a railway, essentially if you cannot see where the noise is coming from then it is not a factor that will be taken much into consideration by a wall between you and the sound. If you want to prevent the sound from reaching you, the rule of thumb says you need a very high wall so you cannot see where the sound is coming from essentially. From where we are the wall would have to be increased vertically to an enormous height, almost to the height of the house itself. That is actually nonsense because you can get curve barriers which are parabolic or in an arc in the circle which can actually increase the effective height of the wall. The other thing is to say that I think nothing has been done at all at any time since the railway was built to constrain the noise coming from the railway. We have tried very hard to get attention drawn to this but to no avail at all. The second thing is the type of surface that is used is just common bricks so all sorts of absorbent surfaces can be used to minimise the noise. The point also about noise is it is not just the ambient noise that worries anybody very much it is the peak noise, as Lady Bright said. It is all very well, you can live in Dartmoor, if you like, and be very quiet but when the Express goes by at 3.30 in the morning it makes your hair stand on end and jumps you out of bed, that is the point I think we want to make. It also been said by Crossrail that the trains that they will supply will be very, very quiet indeed, and I am sure they will. They will be on continuously welded rail, unlike the rail we have at the moment, and I am sure the rolling stock will be modern and pretty quiet. However they will make noise, it is nonsense to think they will not make noise and it will add to the noise we have already which is quite high. 48 trains an hour is rather a lot of trains to add to the peaks of the noise we get and the more trains there are the more likelihood of peaks being heard.

12729. LADY BRIGHT: Do you think there are any specific noise reduction measures which can be taken?

(Sir Keith Bright) There are a lot of noise reduction measures that can be made on all railway lines but very few are used. If you can attack the noise at source then you do not need barriers at all. If you have the noise at source from trains essentially it is the noise between the wheels and the rail. When you get above a certain speed I am told by an expert the engine noise tends to be very low and the noise between the wheel and the rail is very high. You can have small barriers which will impede the line of vision, if you like, between the eye and the wheels, it need be no more than three or four feet high but when it is the right material it would impede the noise greatly.

12730. LADY BRIGHT: Is there anything else of that sort?

(Sir Keith Bright) Yes, there is a company called Corus, I am sure everyone in business will know about Corus, they are a steel company, they have been working on noise reduction measures. They have developed a product which can be attached to the rails which kills enough sound to be the equivalent of something like six decibels. If you remember the noise levels double, each three decibels. These particular products they have developed which are now in situ in Holland and Sweden and are now being used in Germany will reduce the noise enormously from the rail itself and the vibration from the rail which of course stops the transmittent noise under the ground as well as overground. That is something I have not heard from anybody dealing with the project at all. Perhaps I can just add to this one that in California they spend one million dollars a mile on sound insulation; in Europe they average 600,000 euros per kilometre which is roughly the same amount and here in Paddington they do not spend a bean. We feel it is a very good point to use and if I understand it £80 million is saved moving from one place to another, from Romford to Old Oak Park. A good deal of that would be very useful to insulate the sound in the area that we are talking about.

12731. LADY BRIGHT: Is there anything you are burning to suggest which may work well?

(Sir Keith Bright) Just one thing, I do not know whether this project will go ahead or not, I have heard various views about it and I read the submission by Mr Michael Schabas which I was deeply impressed by. If this project at all falls by the wayside might I suggest that everybody goes back to the report of Mr Schabas and re-reads it and looks up this whole project from scratch again because I do believe it is a wrong route in the wrong way. I think Crossrail is an extremely good thing to have and I think we need more than one Crossrail in London but I do believe that we have got so far down the line now that this project should not stop but I do not think it is the most optimal one you will find. One final thing is this turn round discussion. I think two-thirds of the train will go to Paddington and be turned around and go back again, out of the remaining one-third, one-sixth I think will go to Maidenhead and one-sixth will go to Heathrow. One wonders why you need Crossrail at all. There is a perfectly good scheme there already in the Heathrow Express which is running at fairly low capacity at the moment. That could be increased enormously, they have a train every quarter of an hour but it could be doubled. It would carry all the people you need to carry and if the Crossrail project were to stop at Paddington, you could whiz up by escalator on to the Heathrow Express and then you would not need to extend it to Heathrow or Maidenhead and you will save an awful lot of money. These are rather technical points, I know. Earth has to be removed from the tunnels and you need a way in for that. Finally, when we talked about the steady state of Crossrail once it is finished, say 48 trains an hour, what I have not mentioned is the immense engineering project to make it. That will be terribly noisy and it will be dusty. I think that is something we have to look at very much from the point of view of noise and we want noise barriers whilst it is going on. Since the noise barriers we hope will be put up while the work is going on they might as well remain permanent noise barriers to make the life of people who live locally much more civilised than has been. Thank you.

12732. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Sorry, Ms Leiven, did you want to cross-examine.

12733. MS LEIVEN: No, I think the sensible way forward is for me to call Mr Walters and then Mr Taylor.

 

The witness withdrew

12734. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Just let me double check: Lady Bright, you do not have any other witnesses do you?

12735. LADY BRIGHT: No.

12736. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Back to Mr Walters.

12737. MS LEIVEN: Sir, can I explain, I do not think the Committee has heard from Mr Walters before, in the excitement of introducing a new witness to the Committee I did not mention that Mr Walters is the chief engineer for Cross London Rail Links Limited. He has many, many years' experience, 30 years in the design and construction of major civil engineering infrastructure; examples such as Channel Tunnel, Docklands Light Railway to Bank, Channel Tunnel Rail Link and various Metro schemes in the Far East. He works with Mr Berryman on the engineering and we thought it would be fun for the Committee to have a new face tonight as well as fun for Mr Walters to give evidence.

MR ANTHONY WALTERS, Sworn

Examined by MS LEIVEN

12738. MS LEIVEN: Fortunately there is very little I want to ask Mr Walters. The principal point is that of why we are having a turn back facility at Paddington given the change in the depot strategy from sending the trains on to Old Oak Common. Can you just explain the thought process behind that, please?

(Mr Walters) First, if I can just explain what the turn back facility does and then go on to the reason for its location. As has been outlined by previous witnesses we have 24 trains an hour in the peak going through the tunnels in each direction and ten of those continue on to destinations such as Heathrow, Slough and Maidenhead. We have to turn 14 of them back close to Paddington. The turn round facility, in order to operate efficiently, needs two through lines and we have chosen to take those lines round the north and the south of the facility and then the two sidings where the trains stop and are checked before they go back into service are in the centre. The turn back facility needs to be wide enough to accommodate four tracks and for the platforms for people to be de-trained if they go beyond Paddington for the drivers to inspect the train, walk through the train and so on. We had to find a location that was wide enough for the four tracks and the platforms and we also wanted it to be close to Paddington because the idea was to turn the trains around at Paddington not half way down towards Heathrow. We did look at Old Oak Common and indeed the new depot strategy, as you know, has increased our use of the land at Old Oak Common. We looked again when we revised the depot strategy to see whether we could come up with a different solution. Old Oak Common is some two kilometres beyond the Westbourne Park turn round facility so should anybody be unfortunate not to get off the train at Paddington they would be whistled away to Old Oak Common should we use that. Perhaps more importantly to get into Old Oak Common without having conflicting moves is for the trains coming from the West into London having to either wait or for the trains going into the depot from Paddington having to wait to go across the lines, we would have to build quite a substantial dive under to take either the main lines for Crossrail underneath the tracks going into Old Oak Common or vice versa. There would be quite a considerable expenditure to construct a dive under at the throat of Old Oak Common depot which of course is operational at the moment and will continue to be operational while they are constructing Crossrail. We really reconfirm our view that we have the width at Westbourne Park to provide the turn round facility there.

12739. MS LEIVEN: You mentioned the dive under to get to Old Oak Common, how easy would that be to construct.

(Mr Walters) I think it would be very difficult because, as I say, Old Oak Common is an operational depot at the moment. It is quite constrained on the entry and exit anyway. A dive under would have to start before the entry to the depot and then come up in the depot. We will be looking at constructing part of that under operational tracks similar to the sort of arguments that we have rehearsed here about constructing tunnels underneath the throat at Paddington Station. Constructing underneath switches and crossings is a much more sensitive activity than constructing under straight main line track such as we might have done at Romford for the Romford depot.

12740. MS LEIVEN: Okay. I think that deals with that and then the only other thing I wanted to ask you, so you can confirm the position, Lady Bright referred to us taking a playing field on the Westminster Academy site which the Members who were here last week - which I think is everyone now except for Sir Peter - heard about. The Westminster Academy site is shown on this plan. It lies on the other side of the Westway, the A40, from the batching plant and it is a tiny slither of land along the edge of the railway which is being taken but are we taking a playing field off the Academy or making a playing field unusable for the Academy?

(Mr Walters) Certainly from the discussions we have had with the Academy that is not the case. As is shown there under our additional provision, we are moving their retaining wall back over a length of some 140 metres, moving it back to take the triangular site and it really is a slither of land there, maximum of 20 metres wide, 140 metres long.

12741. MS LEIVEN: Thank you very much, Mr Walters. Those are all my questions. Lady Bright may well have questions for you. I am going to ask Mr Taylor questions about acoustic barriers and so on.

12742. SIR PETER SOULSBY: I noticed we still have that one to come.

12743. MS LEIVEN: Yes, I have that in hand but I will ask Mr Taylor.

12744. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Okay. Thank you. Lady Bright, would you like to cross-examine.

Cross-examined by LADY BRIGHT

12745. LADY BRIGHT: Yes. The turn back facility, let us just deal with the cost of that dive under first. Would you like to put a price on it?

(Mr Walters) It would be very much an estimate at the moment. I would think it would be £50 million.

12746. LADY BRIGHT: Comfortably within the 80 so that is a good thing. I know nothing about the cost of these things. It is good to know there is some spare in the back pocket. It is interesting also about the width available to you at Westbourne Park. That is a very congested corner. Why would the bus garage have to be built on stilts like that if there was space for the concrete bund and the turn back facility? You did tell us that we were going to have an acoustic barrier which there now is not room for.

(Mr Walters) I believe we have talked about the changed operations for the batching plant in that rather than having a moveable conveyor the new batching plant would have a fixed conveyor and a fixed hopper and the train would move over that. We have said that that hopper will have noise insulation. It is very abnormal, in fact I do not think it happens, to provide noise insulation to Network Rail sidings. We would never have talked about that.

12747. MS LEIVEN: Might it be helpful if I clarified this? I have plans which show an acoustic barrier for the temporary construction phase and that has always been proposed and continues to be proposed. It has never been part of the Crossrail project to have an acoustic barrier in relation to operational railway land. There is intended to be much more acoustic housing around the permanent batching plant. That is not the kind of acoustic barrier which I believe Lady Bright is referring to but it may be that there is confusion because there are these different things going on. So far as my instructions are concerned, the acoustic barrier along the side has always been related only to the temporary construction phase. Mr Taylor can explain the reasons for that when he gives evidence.

12748. LADY BRIGHT: That was not at all what we understood. It has to be our mistake but we did not understand it.

12749. SIR PETER SOULSBY: That is fine. It is certainly clear what is being proposed now.

12750. LADY BRIGHT: Yes. I would say Old Oak Common is not really half way to Heathrow, Mr Walters, would you?

(Mr Walters) No. It is two kilometres down the line.

12751. LADY BRIGHT: On the playing field, we are talking about 2,800 square metres being temporarily taken and nearly 800 square metres permanently I think. It is a 65 metre strip, it is a lot. Other people's maths not mine.

(Mr Walters) We are taking the same amount of land both temporarily and permanently. We will be building a revised retaining wall which is shown in red. That will go in as the permanent structure. We are taking a little bit more temporarily I guess for the works site and for safety in the Academy which will be the shaded bit above that but that is purely to enable the wall to be constructed and then we move back out and down to the lower level of the depot.

12752. LADY BRIGHT: This is different from what was proposed in AP2. It looks different to me, it must have changed.

(Mr Walters) I think that will be the same with LLAUs and LADs as AP2.

12753. LADY BRIGHT: I beg your pardon.

(Mr Walters) Sorry. I think the red line will be the limit of deviation for the permanent works and the shaded upper portion will be within limits of land to be acquired and used purely for construction purposes.

12754. LADY BRIGHT: Fine. I do not think I can go further on the detail of that because it does keep changing. Thank you.

12755. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Thank you. Ms Leiven, did you want to re-examine.

 

Re-examined by MS LEIVEN

12756. MS LEIVEN: Just one point to make clear, Mr Walters. The plan that is now before the Committee, is your understand that that is the AP amended provisions plan 2?

(Mr Walters) That is my understanding.

12757. MS LEIVEN: I will leave it there, Sir.

 

The witness withdraw

12758. MS LEIVEN: We will call Mr Taylor now and Mr Taylor is going to ask Mr Taylor the questions on the basis that I cannot be trusted with noise.

 

Mr Rupert Thornley-Taylor, recalled

Examined by MR TAYLOR

12759. MR TAYLOR: Mr Thornley-Taylor is obviously well known to the Committee and is the noise consultant to the project. I think we are going to need to refer to the noise technical report in a number of places, Mr Thornley-Taylor.

(Mr Thornley-Taylor) Yes, that would be helpful.

12760. MR TAYLOR: Let us start with base line noise levels if we may. Lady Bright referred to various peak noise levels and the noise monitoring that has been carried out in the vicinity of the area of London we are concerned with here is set out in table 7.1 in volume 2 of the noise technical report.

(Mr Thornley-Taylor) Yes, it is. There is a plan, I do not know whether we can have that on the screen, which shows the location of the noise monitoring points as well which might be helpful.

12761. MR TAYLOR: We will come to the plan after we look at the table first. Table 7.1 in volume 2. Mr Thornley-Taylor can I take the copy that you have there in front of you from you and we will put it on the overhead projector. We need to focus on the top row, the site is WE01 93 Westbourne Park Villas.

(Mr Thornley-Taylor) Yes. This is the terrace of houses in Westbourne Park Villas that is very close to the railway. There are two rows of houses as we have seen on previous plans. WEO1 is very close indeed to the railway. Among that mass of numbers, I will try and simplify it a little bit, we are looking at the first line, the first five columns are giving us numbers in terms of the index which I explained on Day 8 - a long time ago - called Leq, that is the energy average, the daytime and night time periods. It is quite noisy there, the daytime Leq is 74 to 75 and at night time, if you take the normal night time period, it is 68 to 69 for noise insulation eligibility purposes. There is a shorter night time period used which is why there is a midnight to 0600 column, and the figure there is 66. If we then move further across the page we get some additional information about what went on during the survey. We can ignore the next three columns. The interesting ones are towards the right, the wider columns, which are headed - it is quite hard to see - LA max F for fast. These are the highest values that occurred momentarily, they need only have occurred for one-eighth of a second during the whole of the measurement period concerned and the night time measurement period is there, eight hours. Indeed it got up for a moment to 100.8 during the night and 106.4 during the day. That is by no means unique to Westbourne Park Villas and I do not think I need trouble the Committee by looking at other pages for sites along the Great Western Railway, but that is quite a common thing to find. All sorts of things cause high LA max values in locations where noise is made but the thing which is very obvious about facades which immediately overlook the Great Western is the high noise levels from high speed trains and high speed diesels.

12762. If we put up the plan, we can see the measurement location and that might assist the Committee.

(Mr Thornley-Taylor) The measurement location is, as I mentioned earlier, the façade very close indeed to the railway, WEO 1 there. I believe I am right in saying the Brights live about there but I am sure they will correct me if I am wrong.

12763. So when we see those very high peak measurements which are indicated during the night time period, Lady Bright said those were caused by the batching plant. What is your view about that?

(Mr Thornley-Taylor) A batching plant is certainly a noise source and I am sure, having met Lady Bright on more than one occasion and had it described to me, I am sure it is a significant noise source, but one does notice, as I mentioned a moment ago, further along this railway similar LA max levels remote from the batching plant.

12764. Let us deal with the matter of the hoarding, and if we can use the particular plan we have on the overhead it is taken from the Noise Technical Report and indicates what is proposed during construction. It is quite difficult to see on the screen. What is your understanding about the position for hoarding the worksite during the construction period?

(Mr Thornley-Taylor) It is intended there will be a 3.6 metre high hoarding starting there and running all the way along to the eastern end of the worksite.

12765. Let us turn on and look at the operational impact of Crossrail. Is that a matter you considered in relation to the properties in Westbourne Park Villas?

(Mr Thornley-Taylor) Yes, indeed, in the process of preparing the environmental statement normal predictions of railway noise were made. Because the Crossrail lines are on the far side of the many operational lines of the existing railways, the effect of adding Crossrail noise to the existing railway noise environment is quite small. By day the increase is just a fraction less than 1 dBA and by night it is just a fraction more than 1 dBA increase using the LA increase scale.

12766. What effect will that have on somebody in the vicinity of the turnaround for Crossrail in terms of their perception of the noise environment before and after Crossrail?

(Mr Thornley-Taylor) It is too small an increase to be classified as, and certainly not, a significant increase and in pure noise terms it is a barely noticeable increase.

12767. Bearing in mind that answer, we have had the suggestion that a curved wall should be provided as I understand it along the length of Westbourne Park Villas curving over the Great Western Railway in order to mitigate, I believe it was, existing ambient noise rather than the noise associated with Crossrail. What is your view of the necessity for that in the light of the answer you have just given?

(Mr Thornley-Taylor) The question related I think to the existing noise climate and it is noisy, as we have seen from the figures, and if it were a practical proposition to do the variety of measures that Lady Bright and Sir Keith have referred to for all the railway lines running out of Paddington there may be some opportunity to reduce the total railway noise, but doing something to Crossrail on its own could only reduce noise by the very small amount I have mentioned that represents the contribution of Crossrail to the total noise environment at that location, even if it were practicable.

12768. Mention was made of the use of a particular kind of rail manufactured by Corus, are you familiar with that particular product?

(Mr Thornley-Taylor) Yes, I am. The first thing to be clear about is that noise from electric trains comes in equal measure from the wheels and the rails, and going back again to my generic presentation on Day 8, taking one of two equal noise sources away only drops the noise level by 3, so however good the rail was it would not be possible to reduce the train noise by more than 3. Sitting here as a Crossrail witness and unable to speak for Network Rail, we can only discuss doing that to Crossrail track. The reduction again would be even less than that 3, it could never be more than 1 or so which Crossrail will contribute to the whole railway noise environment.

12769. Let us turn to deal with the batching plant. You have heard mention of the proposal to bring forward planning conditions to control the operation of the batching plant, what can you say to the Committee about conditions that might control the noise impact of the batching plant operation?

(Mr Thornley-Taylor) It is proposed to include a noise condition of the same kind that you would find on a planning permission through the conventional planning process. I understood from Mr King that the condition as he would expect to see it, in fact to recommend to the Committee, is based on the normal approach to limiting noise from a new industrial site which affects residential areas. Numbers have been proposed for the condition which would fully accord with the British Standard approach to predicting the acceptability of noise from industry affecting residential areas and accord with the advice in Planning Policy Guidance PPG 24 on noise. Although it would mean a substantial amount of noise reduction work to be included in the new batching plant, there would have to be an acoustic enclosure for the conveyor that is proposed, for the silos which are proposed, storing the materials, in order to achieve the noise levels required, and it would fully comply with normal modern practice in the control of noise from new industrial development in residential areas.

12770. With those sort of conditions in place, what sort of impact would there be on local residents if the operation of the batching plant was reconfigured?

(Mr Thornley-Taylor) Noise from the batching plant would not have an impact on them at all.

12771. Those are all the questions I have.

 

Cross-examined by LADY BRIGHT

12772. LADY BRIGHT: Mr Thornley-Taylor, the peaks are the peaks of noise you referred to from the environmental statement. I know they are not being caused by Crossrail, but they are very disturbing, would you not accept?

(Mr Thornley-Taylor) I have no doubt in accepting the railway noise along Westbourne Park Villas is currently disturbing.

12773. I quite understand why you are preserving Crossrail's very, very, very narrow vision of this - it is not our decibel, it is somebody else's decibel - but do you not think having read the Ambient Noise Strategy which is specifically for London and also specifically mentions Crossrail as an opportunity to make positive adjustments to the noise climate in line with that policy, do you not think some of these possibilities like the barrier we are talking about are worth doing?

(Mr Thornley-Taylor) The possibilities would be worth doing for all the railways affecting Westbourne Park Villas. If we were able to do things for all those lines - and they would have to be quite dramatic things because the main noise source is on top of the diesel locomotives pulling the high speed trains and it is a considerable height above the railway - if we could do something to all the railways coming out of Paddington to reduce noise, there would be less noise for Westbourne Park Villas.

12774. Are you familiar with legal actions being prepared by Kensington & Chelsea under the Environmental Protection Act to get London Underground to put in noise mitigation for some of its tube lines? Do you think perhaps the Heathrow Express would be a good candidate for that sort of treatment?

(Mr Thornley-Taylor) There have been a number of legal actions brought by local authorities, or sought to be brought - they have not always succeeded because of course underground railways operate under powers granted by an Act of Parliament - but there have been in many parts of London pressure put on London Underground to do things to reduce noise and where there has been something which could be done, such as grinding rails to reduce roughness, that has been done and it has been beneficial. Where there is something particularly of that nature and maintenance work can be done to reduce noise, then of course it should be brought about by whatever pressure can be put on the operators of the railway.

12775. I wonder if it is possible to suggest or see if you could suggest a reliable mechanism, because we clearly do not have one now, and you have worked for a representative of all the railways in your time as a noise expert and the freight companies and everybody else, can you think of a suitable mechanism you could suggest to the Committee for ensuring that that maintenance is undertaken?

12776. SIR PETER SOULSBY: I think, Lady Bright, that is going beyond the matter in front of the Committee, which is of course the Crossrail Bill rather than the very real problem you clearly have with noise from railways more generally.

12777. LADY BRIGHT: Under the Ambient Noise Strategy in the EU Directive we thought perhaps ----

12778. SIR PETER SOULSBY: I am afraid not.

12779. LADY BRIGHT: Just one final question about the hoardings. I know this is going to sound silly because you are going to specify, I am sure, it is a hoarding coated with the right kind of material to absorb and reflect noise, but we did have a problem in the street with advertising hoardings which were wooden and actually reflected noise and increased it very dramatically. Have you thought about the specifications for them?

(Mr Thornley-Taylor) The essential thing not to lose sight of is that this will all be part of the process which on previous occasions I have explained applies to all worksites, which is to seek consent from Westminster which will cover everything including the design of the hoarding. They can require in that consent anything which is reasonably practicable to reduce noise and if that includes putting some sort of face on the railway side of the barrier, and they can demonstrate it is practicable to do that, they have the power to require it through the procedures of section 61 of the Control of Pollution Act.

12780. LADY BRIGHT: Thank you, that is very helpful.

12781. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Do you want to re-examine, Mr Taylor?

12782. MR TAYLOR: I have no questions, thank you very much.

 

Examined by THE COMMITTEE

12783. KELVIN HOPKINS: The noise in the area is considerable but it is from the existing railway, Network Rail, GWR, and it arises because of very noisy 125 diesel sets and jointed track?

(Mr Thornley-Taylor) There is some jointed track. A substantial part of the mainline is continuous welded rail. There have been times in the past when there have been rail roughness problems in that area which have been rectified and they may occur again, but the jointed track tends to be in the sidings.

12784. At that point they are clearly accelerating out of Paddington as well, which means they are even more noisy?

(Mr Thornley-Taylor) Yes.

12785. The noise from electric trains - and I travel on them every day - is negligible by comparison, you have suggested?

(Mr Thornley-Taylor) Yes, the high speed diesels predominate without any doubt.

12786. And the residents would have a very strong case in my view against Network Rail and the train operators to mitigate noise emanating from existing trains but it would not be a case to try to mitigate that noise against Crossrail because it is not Crossrail's responsibility?

(Mr Thornley-Taylor) Indeed, Crossrail has no powers, no opportunity, to go to work on Network Rail's noise sources.

12787. The noise I recall from electric trains is traction motors making a noise when they are high torque, low speed, accelerating; when they are slowing down; braking noise to an extent, and there is a generator noise I think - when they are static they make a generator noise, I think largely generating batteries. Those are the noises which come from electric trains and they are the noises one would expect?

(Mr Thornley-Taylor) They are in general. The modern approaches to the procurement of new trains put noise limits both on the train accelerating from rest as well as passing at stated speeds. The noise you referred to which you do hear from existing types, particularly Networkers on the Southern Railway, will in future train designs probably be less through more prescriptive specification of noise levels when procuring new trains.

12788. Would there be any other serious noises from the track? I am not suggesting there should be but would there be a case for floating slab track or something like that?

(Mr Thornley-Taylor) Floating slab track is beneficial for reducing noise transmitted through the ground and via the ground into buildings, it actually increases noise radiated directly from the track and would not be beneficial here.

12789. Is it the case that noise has always been historically loud from there, even before diesels? When they had steam trains the noise was considerable?

(Mr Thornley-Taylor) Yes, this has been a very noisy railway location since Brunel's time.

12790. Could we not then simply suggest to the residents, and even help them, to persuade Network Rail to electrify Paddington and change the whole environment?

(Mr Thornley-Taylor) I am sure pressure of that kind would be something they would think was a good idea.

12791. But Crossrail is already doing its bit in a sense by having electric trains not diesels?

(Mr Thornley-Taylor) Crossrail will certainly be running trains in the quietest manner it is possible to run trains.

12792. I think you have made the point but the big noise is not to do with Crossrail, it is to do with other operators and they have a very strong case against them but not a very strong case against you, is that fair?

(Mr Thornley-Taylor) I am not the person to talk about the opportunities that people have to bring actions against existing railways; they are very limited indeed. But, as has already been said, pressure was put on London Underground to do some things to reduce noise from their railway and certainly when there are things which can be done by railway operators, particularly in the form of maintenance, pressure can sometimes bring that about.

12793. I think I have made my points. Thank you.

12794. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Thank you very much.

 

(The witness withdrew)

 

12795. SIR PETER SOULSBY: That brings to a conclusion the Committee's deliberations of the Westbourne Park Villas Residents' Association petitions. There is an opportunity for closing submissions which I hope will be quite brief at this time of night.

12796. MS LIEVEN: Yes, it will be brief, Sir. I am going to take the opportunity because otherwise there is nothing on the transcript for your colleagues when you come to make the determination. I will try and keep it to three minutes; that is my aim.

12797. Dealing first with the concrete batching plant, I am putting a document up which I will come to in a second. Lady Bright emphasised the existing problems with the plant, I cannot emphasise too much whether those points are correct or incorrect the existing operation of the plant has nothing to do with Crossrail and there is nothing we can do about it until the Crossrail construction starts. Tarmac are coming next week and if the Committee have concerns about existing operations then, with great respect, I can only suggest that Tarmac is asked about them.

12798. So far as the proposal for the replacement of the batching plant is concerned, because obviously Lady Bright would prefer it was not in place, I put up the policy which I put up last week just so Sir Peter can see it. The policy is completely clear. This is from the London Plan and the penultimate bullet point says, "UDP policy should protect existing railhead capacity to handle and process aggregates", and that is what we are seeking to do by replacing the batching plant.

12799. Lady Bright referred to sustainability. Sustainability is one of those phrases which means lots of things to different people, but one thing it clearly means is not losing a rail-served facility so that more aggregates have to go by road. On anybody's analysis that is an unsustainable situation.

12800. The replacement plant will be both quieter, less dusty and if there are any safety issues on the existing plant, which I do not in any sense accept but which I am not in a position to comment on in any detail, then the new plant by the very fact it is new will be safer. So, Sir, the position for replacing the plant is overwhelming.

12801. As far as Old Oak Common is concerned, and therefore not having the turn-back facility, first of all, as Mr Walters explained, it involves crossing the relief lines to get there, which would be massively expensive and difficult to construct, and also involves taking trains further away to turn them around which is much less efficient.

12802. Can I put in a plea now on the record, it is completely the wrong approach for the Committee to think, "Oh well, Crossrail saved £80 million-odd by relocating the depot, therefore we have it to chuck at some other problem." As we emphasised very strongly on the Woolwich issue, the Secretary of State is very keen to push down the costs of what is already a very, very expensive project. So I do urge the Committee not to take the view that there is £80 million in some slush fund to be thrown around.

12803. So far as impact on the Academy is concerned, the impact on the Academy from putting back the batching plant is really very, very slight. In terms of dust and noise the Academy is on the other side of the West Way so the impact is likely to be minimal. So far as the land-take is concerned, we simply are not removing any sports facility from the Academy. If we were, doubtless Westminster and Mr King would have made that extremely clear. So that is simply not correct.

12804. As far as noise is concerned, and you have just heard the evidence, this is an extremely noisy environment, as Mr Taylor took you through, and has been - I am glad Mr Hopkins made the point because I was going to make it as well - a very noisy environment for well over 150 years. Every resident there knows this is a noisy environment when they come there. The Crossrail trains will make no perceptible increase in noise at these locations, just above or below 1 dB. The very noisy environment is coming from the fast trains and, in terms of the background, probably even the West Way, not from Crossrail trains.

12805. So far as the acoustic barrier is concerned, we have never suggested it would be appropriate to put up an acoustic barrier for the operational phase, the noise just does not justify it. If one was going to try and put up a noise barrier to deal with the entirety of the noise problem at that location, ie that from fast trains which is really the problem, it would have to be enormously high and completely unrealistic. So it is both not necessary for Crossrail and completely unacceptable.

12806. So far as the batching plant is concerned, the evidence is entirely clear, that the noise coming from the operation of the batching plant itself will be less from the new batching plant because it will be a newly constructed facility with increased hoarding and therefore more containment of the noise.

12807. It is brief, Sir, but I hope that summarises the main points.

12808. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Thank you, Ms Lieven.

12809. LADY BRIGHT: The old plant, which we are going to get stuck with, we are genuinely worried about being stuck with for years. It is not appropriate. We think the local authority would be also very glad if you could make some observation on that and get them out of a hole.

12810. You would not be losing railhead capacity at all in aggregate batching if you moved the concrete plant down to Old Oak Common where it would be rail-served. I think they have got that one slightly wrong.

12811. Mr King did make it clear in Westminster's petition against the additional provisions that there was loss of playing fields. Maybe I have that wrong but I was under the impression that was there.

12812. The fact you move into a nuisance does not mean it is not a nuisance and you lose all your rights against it if it gets worse.

12813. The final point is that I do not want us to get mesmerised by the noise emanating from a modern highly conditioned concrete plate which I am almost certain will never be built and ignoring the freight trains which, as Ms Lieven said earlier, can go as loud as they like, as late as they like and anywhere they like without let or hindrance.

12814. Thank you very much.

12815. SIR PETER SOULSBY: Thank you very much indeed. That does bring the Committee's consideration of that petition to a conclusion.