Rail Services (Portsmouth Harbour)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:31 pm on 11th November 2014.

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Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport) 4:31 pm, 11th November 2014

Absolutely. When refranchising takes place, not only financial considerations, but other non-financial considerations such as those suggested by my hon. Friend, will be made. Towards the end of my remarks I will mention the rolling stock that is being used and the discomfort that some passengers may feel.

I understand that plans for more capacity in years to come are of little comfort to passengers who are experiencing delays and crowding today. That is why we have continued to invest in today’s railway to increase capacity where possible within existing constraints. I am pleased that the Government have pledged more than £38 billion of support for the rail industry up to 2019, improving the capacity and quality of a network that is experiencing vast growth in demand. My hon. Friend will be happy to hear that that includes significant investment on the South West Trains network.

In early September this year my colleague, the Under-Secretary of State for Transport, my hon. Friend the Member for Devizes, who has just joined us in the Chamber, joined with South West Trains to announce the latest capacity enhancement to be contracted. Some 150 new vehicles are being manufactured by Siemens to be put into passenger use on South West Trains by the start of 2018.