Transport Infrastructure - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:44 pm on 11th February 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Vere of Norbiton Baroness Vere of Norbiton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport) 3:44 pm, 11th February 2020

The right reverend Prelate refers to an issue that is raised fairly frequently. I think that we can all agree that phase 1 will go ahead straightaway because enabling works have already taken place. Part of the integrated plan for rail will look at ways of getting the benefits of this new railway more quickly, and it may be—I am not prejudging this at all—that construction starts in several places at once, as well as at different points, in order that it can join up. To me that seems quite sensible, but I am sure that someone technical will tell me that it is not. However, it is our ambition to get the benefits more quickly and to keep the costs as low as possible. We will certainly look at all the eventualities when it comes to that part of the railway.

On the construction of the rolling stock, this does not need to be considered for some time yet. Of course it would be very good if the trains were built in Britain, but I happen to know that the HS1 trains were built in Japan and that they function very well. But, again, we cannot prejudge that and it will be some time before that contract is awarded.