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Railhub Archive
1998-04-03 ORR-001
Office of the Rail Regulator


Rail Regulator to approve West Coast Main Line upgrade subject to major future improvements for passengers and freight users

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Virgin Trains

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Office of the Rail Regulator

Rail Regulator to approve West Coast Main Line upgrade subject to major future improvements for passengers and freight users

related documents

Periodic review of Railtrack's access charges: provisional conclusions on revenue requirements (ORR, 1999)

1999-12-15 Response to provisional determination (Railtrack plc)


3 April 1998
source Office of the Rail Regulator
type Press release

summary Proposals for PUG2 (Passenger Upgrade 2) on the West Coast Main Line
note ORR/98/12

The Rail Regulator, John Swift QC, today set out the terms on which he proposes to approve the agreement between Virgin Trains and Railtrack to upgrade services on the West Coast Main Line between London, the West Midlands, North West England and Scotland.

Mr Swift's proposed terms include a new package of measures designed further to improve services to passengers, to provide for freight growth, to protect other users of the route and to require Railtrack to develop additional plans to meet the needs of customers and funding bodies.

Announcing his draft conclusions, Mr Swift said: "The renewal and upgrade of the West Coast Main Line is long overdue, but I have always made clear that proposals must be sensitive to the needs of the railway as a whole.

I believe that my provisional conclusions provide a framework in which Railtrack and Virgin can begin work on the new West Coast Main Line, with strong safeguards in place for other stakeholders.

I hope that the work to achieve a railway of which Britain can be proud can now start".

"Under the terms of my proposed conclusions, I want to see further improvements to services to Glasgow and Edinburgh and a significant improvement to services to North Wales.

I have been particularly concerned to provide for growth in the future - especially in freight traffic, but also to meet the needs of local services in the West Midlands.

Railtrack has made significant commitments to provide additional capacity for freight and passenger operators and I expect it to meet those commitments.

"In addition, I am asking Railtrack to report on what further action is needed to meet the requirements of freight,other passenger-operators and funding bodies.

I would expect these reviews to result in action plans which will be the basis of enforceable commitments under the terms of Railtrack's Network Licence and be included in the 1999 Network Management Statement .

" Other points in the Regulator's proposed decision are:

o He has said that be is minded to give Virgin Trains some protection from competition. But in the case of services from North Wales to London he has said that this should be backed up by a formal commitment to improve existing services significantly.

o Before agreeing to allow Virgin Trains to operate new services to Edinburgh, he has said that this must be backed up by a guarantee of additional improvement to the frequency of services to Glasgow.

o He proposes to agree the innovative revenue sharing deal proposed by Virgin and Railtrack, but warned Railtrack that he would take strong action if this caused Railtrack to discriminate against other operators.

o He proposes a number of other changes to the proposed agreement to protect the interests of other operators.

o He welcomes Railtrack's commitment to full consultation with all train operators to plan the massive engineering work on the route so as to minimise disruption to services.

The views of user representatives, local authorities and the Franchising Director - all of whom were extensively consulted by the Regulator - played an important role in these conclusions.

The Regulator is now seeking responses from Train Operators, Railtrack and funding bodies by 16 April prior to a final decision.

Railhub Archive ::: 1998-04-03 ORR-001


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