Engineering Projects: Christmas and New Year

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 28th January 2016.

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Photo of Iain Stewart Iain Stewart Conservative, Milton Keynes South 9:30 am, 28th January 2016

What assessment he has made of the performance of Network Rail in delivering engineering projects during Christmas and new year 2015-16.

Photo of Patrick McLoughlin Patrick McLoughlin The Secretary of State for Transport

I pay tribute to Network Rail and its hard-working orange army of more than 20,000 staff who successfully delivered £150 million of essential improvements to the network over the holiday period, as part of our record programme of investment in the railways. Planning for Easter is well advanced, and the good practice demonstrated over Christmas is being embedded in the planning process for Easter and beyond.

Photo of Iain Stewart Iain Stewart Conservative, Milton Keynes South

Network Rail is rightly criticised when it fails to deliver, but given its unsung success in delivering many complex projects on time and on budget, will my right hon. Friend join me in congratulating the orange army on a job well done?

Photo of Patrick McLoughlin Patrick McLoughlin The Secretary of State for Transport

I am more than happy to do that. It is difficult to do these works. We tend to do them over bank holidays, when there is not so much usage on the network. I realise it inconveniences people who want to travel by train, but it is all part of a major and vital upgrade of our rail network.