Transport Select Committee

Transport Select Committee calls for evidence on investment in the railway

The Transport Select Committee has called for evidence with regards to investment into the present railway. Readers will be very interested to note reference to the rolling stock strategy and proposals beyond 2019.

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Building on the Committee’s January 2013 Rail 2020 report, the inquiry will scrutinise the impact and deliverability of Network Rail’s £38 billion investment programme over the next five years and identify priorities for investment after 2019.

Questions to be explored

The Committee would like to explore the following questions:

  • What are the main features of the rail investment plan for 2014-19 (Control Period 5)? How will the railway be different in 2019 following delivery of the plan?
  • What is expected to happen to passenger satisfaction over this period? Is the rail industry measuring passenger satisfaction in the right way?
  • Is Network Rail confident that it can deliver its planned investments and meet its targets for efficiency and punctuality? How should train operators assist in ensuring that Network Rail delivers? How will the Office for Rail Regulation ensure that planned investments represent value for money?
  • Has Network Rail prioritised the right schemes for the purpose of improving the railway’s resilience?
  • How might reclassification of Network Rail as a central government body in September 2014 affect rail investment?
  • Is the balance between passenger and freight investment right? What additional demand for freight movements might be released with a different balance of investment?
  • What will be the railway’s demand for new rolling stock over the next decade and how will this demand be met?
  • How will electrification affect the passenger experience of the railway, rolling stock requirements and rail freight?
  • What should be the priorities for investment after 2019 (Control Period 6), particularly in relation to connecting the classic railway with High Speed 2?

 The Committee asks for submissions by Friday 13 June 2014.

Chair’s comments

Making this announcement, Louise Ellman, Chair of the House of Commons Transport Committee, said:

“Much debate has taken place recently about HS2. We now want to focus on investment in the existing classic line, including how services can be improved and how efficiency in the railway can be increased, improving passenger satisfaction.”

Transport Select Committee calls for better coordination

The Transport Select Committee has called for better coordination between various transport modes following the publication of two reports. The TSC has published reports into improving the strategic road network, which is currently being reformed by government and the National Policy Statement into National Networks, which is currently out for consultation in a draft form.

In the National Policy Statement into National Networks, the Transport Select Committee recommended that more types of transport schemes should be specified  by the Government, which it thinks are needed–such as enhancements to the rail network to promote east-west connectivity; better road and rail connections to ports and airports and to parts of the country which are currently not well served by those networks; and schemes to promote regional economic development.

In addition, the TSC also called for the statement to make explicit reference of the desirability of connecting HS2 to the classic rail network, so that people from around the UK can benefit from the new high speed rail line.

Both reports expressed a desire that the DfT should commission integrated passenger and freight plans for strategic transport routes, rather looking at one mode of transport in isolation.

Transport Committee invites ideas for future inquiries

The Transport Committee today (16th January) invites the public to suggest subjects for inquiries to take place later in the year. The deadline for submissions is Friday 31 March.

Topics should relate to the work of the Department for Transport or one of its related bodies, such as the Highways Agency, Maritime and Coastguard Agency or Network Rail.

The Committee Chair, Louise Ellman MP, has said:

“If you have an issue which you think we should look at we would like to hear from you. Please write to us, email or Twitter.

“Your suggestions will be important in shaping our future work programme. Once we have decided on which inquiries to hold we will publish all of the suggestions we received and what we decided in relation to each of them”.

“That said, I must also emphasise that the Committee does not take up individual cases and will not look at local transport issues or specific transport projects unless they raise issues of national significance.”

The Committee last invited the public to suggest inquiry ideas in March 2013. The suggestions received and the Committee’s decisions about its programme were published in June 2013.