Commons Gate

Future of Aviation (HC 499-v)

Transport Committee 8 Jul 2009

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Evidence given by: Eurostar: Tony Deighan, Director of Strategic Projects; UK Ultraspeed: Dr Alan James, Chief Executive; Network Rail Richard Eccles, Head of Route Planning; High Speed TwoSir David Rowlands, Chairman.

Q445 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): Are you really saying that the possibility of actually going faster on the West Coast Mainline ---

Sir David Rowlands: No, no, perhaps I have misled you. Because particularly for a strategic environmental appraisal you have to work through at a sensible level of detail all of the options, that is not just a high speed or a conventional new alignment to the West Midlands, but if you did not want either of those what could you do with the west coast, that would not be higher speed. Remember where all this started; it was a view taken by Government and Network Rail back last year and at the start of this year that the West Coast Main Line will be full to capacity again south of London by 2010 or thereabouts. So looking again at the west coast and further up it is about capacity and not speed.

Q446 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): They are both the same thing. The Pendolino will do 140 miles an hour.

Sir David Rowlands: Not on the existing network.

Q447 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): If you had the proper signalling in place, if you have block signalling, it will do 140.

Sir David Rowlands: The division of labour is for the Department to look at the west coast. That may encompass higher speed but, again, they would have to put the costs in for that.

Q448 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): Which would give you extra capacity. Block signalling will give you extra capacity anyway.

Sir David Rowlands: Yes. I do not yet know of any railway system that is using block signalling successfully on such a complicated railway as the west coast railway.

Q449 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): It is a pity that Railtrack did not realise that.

Sir David Rowlands: Or London Transport on the Jubilee Line extension.

This is an uncorrected transcript of evidence taken in public and reported to the House. The transcript has been placed on the internet on the authority of the Committee. Neither witnesses nor Members have had the opportunity to correct the record. The transcript is not yet an approved formal record of these proceedings.

The full transcript may be read here.

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On behalf of Eric Martlew, 3 Chatsworth Square Carlisle Cumbria CA1 1HB