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2006-01-27 GNE-001
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GNER statement on proposal by Office of Rail Regulation


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GNER

GNER statement on proposal by Office of Rail Regulation
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date
27 January 2006
source GNER
type Press release



GNER today said it was genuinely surprised and disappointed at the announcement by the Office of Rail Regulation that it is minded to reject GNER’s application to run more Leeds-London services.

The East Coast operator’s franchise contract with Government includes a commitment to increase services between Leeds and London from 53 to 65 per weekday by December 2007 or earlier, subject to ORR approval.

The ORR today said that it would have approved GNER’s application but it had concerns about the capacity of the line between Leeds and Doncaster.

GNER fundamentally disagrees with the draft conclusions and considers that capacity for its additional services could be created.

GNER believes the ORR’s analysis and draft conclusions contain inconsistencies and demonstrate a lack of joined-up thinking in the railway industry.

GNER spokesman Richard Allan said: “We are extremely puzzled at the ORR’s decision. It is astonishing that the ORR has rejected GNER’s additional Leeds-London services as that is what the Government, in awarding the East Coast franchise, contracted GNER to deliver.

“The ORR’s own economic analysis concluded that the highest level of economic benefits was delivered by GNER’s proposed services.

“GNER is reviewing all its options.”

The increase in Leeds-London services has been discussed since 1997 and public money has been spent to make it happen.

The £240m redevelopment of Leeds station and the £12m Allington Chord scheme were justified partly on the basis that they would permit this proposed increase in GNER services between Leeds and London.

The Leeds-London route is the biggest and fastest-growing long-distance rail market in Britain, yet has fewer trains than comparable routes to major conurbations.

There are 68 trains per day between Greater Manchester and London (Manchester Piccadilly station-London Euston) and 61 per day between the Tyne-Wear region and London (Newcastle Central station-London King’s Cross), providing a service every half-hour in each direction for passengers in those regions.

The ORR decision means that the Leeds-London route will be restricted to 53 services per day.

GNER’s plans would have benefited passengers in the southern half of the East Coast Main Line because Leeds-London trains call at stations including Wakefield, Doncaster, Newark, Grantham, Peterborough and Stevenage.

The ORR decision also means GNER could be forced to abandon plans to further increase Leeds-London services from 65 to 80 per weekday by electrifying 15 miles of track between Neville Hill, east of Leeds, to Hambleton Junction, between York and Doncaster on the East Coast Main Line.

The project could have acted as a catalyst for other electrification schemes between Leeds and York, and between Leeds and Selby, and would have acted as an important diversionary route for Anglo-Scottish services.

GNER’s franchise contract includes investing at least £125m in better trains and stations and paying a premium of £1.3bn to Government over the ten-year franchise.

ENDS

Visit the GNER Press Centre at www.gner.co.uk for an image library and press release archive.


Railhub Archive ::: 2006-01-27 GNE-001





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