Metropolitan Line

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport, Local Government and the Regions – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 29th January 2002.

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Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Party Chair, Co-operative Party 2:30 pm, 29th January 2002

What action he is taking to improve the performance of the Metropolitan line.

Photo of John Spellar John Spellar Minister of State (Department of Transport, Local Government and Regions) (Transport)

The performance of the Metropolitan line is an operational matter for London Underground, but I recognise that it has been declining in recent years. The significant improvements in performance, which we all want for the tube network, can be secured only through stable, long-term investment. That is what the Government's plans for a publicly run, privately built tube will deliver.

Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Party Chair, Co-operative Party

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. Is he aware of the importance of the Metropolitan line to those living in the west Harrow, north Harrow, Pinner and Rayners Lane parts of my constituency? Although I welcome the news of the announcement which may be made next week, will he ensure that the Met line is targeted for early investment, not least because its rolling stock is the oldest in the network?

Photo of John Spellar John Spellar Minister of State (Department of Transport, Local Government and Regions) (Transport)

I could hardly fail to be aware of the importance of the proposals to my hon. Friend's constituents precisely because he is so assiduous in presenting their case. We recognise that the age of the stock means that newer rolling stock will be required, as is also the case for many of the other lines on the network. That is why we have been exploring these proposals and look forward to the announcement next week.

Photo of John Randall John Randall Conservative, Uxbridge

I am sure that my long-suffering Metropolitan line travellers will be very reassured by the Minister's answer. Will he confirm that even within the current time scale for his botched PPP—whatever that time scale might be—it will take between 10 and 15 years before new signalling and the infrastructure on the Metropolitan line will be modernised?

Photo of John Spellar John Spellar Minister of State (Department of Transport, Local Government and Regions) (Transport)

The programme on all the lines will take effect over a period of time and will include the replacement of signalling where required and, of course, the replacement of rolling stock. There will also be improvements to stations. Detailed proposals will be set out when the announcement about the London Transport decision is made next week. Like the hon. Gentleman, we look forward to the discussion and debate that will follow, but it would be premature to go into detail about the various lines until that announcement has been made.