Rail Franchising

Part of NHS Winter Crisis – in the House of Commons at 6:07 pm on 10th January 2018.

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Photo of Lee Rowley Lee Rowley Conservative, North East Derbyshire 6:07 pm, 10th January 2018

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Time after time, I sit in the Chamber and listen to Opposition Members who really do not understand economics and where the money comes from and do not get how we can pay for the railways and all the sweeties and goodies that they seek to give out.

If we consider the Midland Mainline franchise in 1996, a couple of years after franchising occurred, there were 14 trains a day between London and Sheffield and the average journey time was two hours and 26 minutes, with the fastest journeys taking two hours and 10 minutes. We now have more than double the number of trains on the midland main line between London and Sheffield and the average time is quicker than the fastest time was 20 years ago.

I do not want to claim that everything is perfect. Many things could be better about the midland main line and East Midlands Trains, but what I have heard today from the Opposition is, as the Secretary of State said, complete nonsense. We should recognise that much progress has been made in the past 20 years. There is much to do, but I will not sit here and listen to the sort of nonsense that has been expressed.