HS125 Train

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th March 1983.

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Photo of Mr Frank Hooley Mr Frank Hooley , Sheffield, Heeley 12:00 am, 16th March 1983

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what proposals he has received from British Rail regarding the financing of the development of an electric version of the HS125 train.

Photo of Mr Reginald Eyre Mr Reginald Eyre , Birmingham, Hall Green

None, Sir, but I understand that the British Railways Board is considering various options for the next generation of high speed electric trains.

Photo of Mr Frank Hooley Mr Frank Hooley , Sheffield, Heeley

Will the Minister discourage British Rail from going ahead with its land-based Concorde—the APT—and ask it instead to concentrate its mind on developing the proven and highly successful HS125 and coverting it to electric traction?

Photo of Mr Reginald Eyre Mr Reginald Eyre , Birmingham, Hall Green

It is for the British Railways Board to decide on the next generation of high-speed electric trains. I understand that British Rail is working on three possibilities—the APT, to which the hon. Gentleman referred and for which some important design changes have been proposed; the class 89 locomotive; and the electric version of the high-speed train, to which the hon. Gentleman also referred.

Photo of Mr Eric Cockeram Mr Eric Cockeram , Ludlow

In the twilight of Sir Peter Parker's reign at British Rail, will the Minister ensure that this costly and foolish project is buried? Will he assure the House that the next chairman of British Rail will be given a brief to take the fare-paying passenger for a ride on clean trains that run on time rather thantake the taxpayer for a ride, as has happened in the past?

Photo of Mr Reginald Eyre Mr Reginald Eyre , Birmingham, Hall Green

I note my hon. Friend's general comments, but I must emphasise that technical decisions on the next generation of locomotives are for British Rail.

Photo of Mr Phillip Whitehead Mr Phillip Whitehead , Derby North

Surely the point is that British Rail should be encouraged to move towards further electrification, without which the electric version of the HST and the successful APT will not be possible?

Photo of Mr Reginald Eyre Mr Reginald Eyre , Birmingham, Hall Green

I am sorry, but I was unable to catch the last part of the hon. Gentleman's question.

Photo of Mr Phillip Whitehead Mr Phillip Whitehead , Derby North

Surely the point is that we should encourage British Rail to move towards further electrification, without which the HS125 and the APT—successful though they may be—will be impossible?

Photo of Mr Reginald Eyre Mr Reginald Eyre , Birmingham, Hall Green

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has made it clear that the east coast main line electrification proposal is dependent upon British Rail's review of the inter-city financial position. The 10-year programme is also part of the long-term debate about the future of the railways.