Latest Rail News

20.06.16

DfT assessing financial impact of new ECML services on Virgin, but not other factors

The DfT is carrying out an assessment of the impact of the decision to approve new services on the East Coast Main Line (ECML), but not of the impact of other factors.

In response to written questions by Lord Bradshaw, Lord Ahmad, parliamentary under-secretary to the DfT, said that the government is assessing the financial impact of the decision to allow additional Virgin and First Trains services on the ECML on the existing Virgin East Coast franchise.

However, when Lord Bradshaw raised other areas of concern, Lord Ahmad said the DfT had not specifically assessed these factors, and doing so would be the responsibility of Network Rail and train operators, under the supervision of the ORR.

Lord Bradshaw asked whether it would be possible to meet ORR estimated targets for the ECML, given infrastructure problems raised in the 2011 Network Rail Initial Industry Plan.

The ORR has estimated that it will be possible to run 7.5 long distance trains an hour on the ECML by 2021.

He also raised concerns about the impact of ECML trains having to share track with 24-hour Thameslink services near London, and whether services would meet the needs of passengers at stations south of Doncaster, such as Grantham, Newark and Lincoln.

Lord Ahmad has previously said that the DfT expressed concern about the decision to allow additional services before it was made.

(Image c. Michael Day from Virgin)

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