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Channel Tunnel Rail Link

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 3rd June 1998.

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Photo of John Prescott John Prescott Deputy Prime Minister, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Environment, Transport and the Regions, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee 3:31 pm, 3rd June 1998

My hon. Friend is absolutely right about that. Perhaps I should have told the House that one of the difficulties with the rolling stock is that it has not yet got its safety case, which is important to operation, because the electronics cause difficulties with the existing signalling system, which clearly creates problems from a safety point of view. I have asked them to look urgently at that matter.

I have been looking at the sort of stock provided for the channel tunnel service, and at the sleeper stock, for which the taxpayers now have to fork out £100 million because it cannot be used. The way in which the engineers designed it meant that the power demands were greater than could be provided for the train, and that has now cost us £100 million in compensation. It is important to try to get the rolling stock working. I am doing all I can, and perhaps I shall be able by the end of the year to give a more appropriate and informed answer than I can give today.