Rail Franchises: Govia Thameslink - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:01 pm on 16th January 2018.

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Photo of Baroness Sugg Baroness Sugg Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport) 3:01 pm, 16th January 2018

My Lords, the department did take National Rail’s views on feasibility into account. As part of the evaluation of the bids for this franchise, and indeed all franchises, we look at National Rail’s concerns. It had concerns about all of the bidders’ timetables propositions in this instance, although Govia’s proposition had a lower risk rating than other bidders. Network Rail said that the proposed timetable needed more development at the beginning of the franchise, and we agreed with that. The Thameslink timetable was some years off, and the project, as the noble Lord knows, was a complex one. We always accepted that more work would need to be done, and we have been working with Network Rail to finalise the timetable. I agree with the noble Lord that we need to work more closely with Network Rail to make sure that the timetables can be delivered in the future.