West Coast Main Line

Oral Answers to Questions — National Heritage – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd March 1993.

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Photo of Jane Kennedy Jane Kennedy , Liverpool Broadgreen 12:00 am, 22nd March 1993

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what assessment he has made of the effect on the tourist industry in the north-west of the level of service on the west coast main line.

Photo of Robert Key Robert Key , Salisbury

According to latest available figures, 13 per cent. of visitors to the north-west staying one night or more travelled by train. Improvements to the west coast main line will encourage greater use by everyone, including tourists.

Photo of Jane Kennedy Jane Kennedy , Liverpool Broadgreen

I am grateful to the Minister for that answer, but what plans does he have for talks with his colleague the Secretary of State for Transport to ensure that such improvements actually take place so that day trippers and overseas visitors using the channel tunnel, other forms of transport and the west coast main line can visit exhibitions such as the Beatles exhibition and the Tate of the north in Liverpool?

Photo of Robert Key Robert Key , Salisbury

The hon. Lady is right to say that it is important that the improvements take place. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport has announced, those improvements will take place as soon as resources allow.

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins , Blackpool South

Does my hon. Friend agree that the announcement last week that the main channel tunnel terminus for routes to the north will be at St. Pancras will be of enormous benefit to tourism in the north-west, including my constituency and that of the hon. Member for Liverpool, Broadgreen (Mrs. Kennedy)? That is because the links between the north-west main line into Euston and the line from St. Pancras already exist, as was confirmed to me at a meeting as recently as this morning by the senior manager in charge of InterCity services for the north-west.

Photo of Robert Key Robert Key , Salisbury

I know of no one—apart, perhaps, from my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, North (Mr. Elletson)—who is as well informed about Blackpool as my hon. Friend. He has hit the nail on the head. Of course it is true that a night service will run from Paris and Brussels up the west coast main line to Glasgow. There will also be daytime services from Paris and Brussels to Manchester, and a service between Paris and Birmingham. These trains are due to start towards the end of 1995. I understand that British Rail intends to run a connecting service between Manchester and Waterloo, to begin when regular train services commence from London in mid-1994.