Britain’s Railways - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:20 pm on 24th May 2021.

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Photo of Lord Faulkner of Worcester Lord Faulkner of Worcester Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords) 6:20 pm, 24th May 2021

My Lords, I remind the House of my railway interests as declared in the register. I am happy to share the optimism of the noble Baroness for the future of the railway, not least because of the involvement of both Andrew Haines and Sir Peter Hendy in Great British Railways. I have the highest confidence in both, and I believe they will work well to deliver what could be a very successful railway.

I would like to ask the Minister one specific question about the reference in section 4, on page 33 of the White Paper, to a “national brand and identity”. Does this mean that train operators will have to repaint all their rolling stock in new standard Great British Railway colours? Not even British Rail had a common identity for all its passenger trains. The Government may find some resistance to making companies abandon their established, and in many cases attractive, liveries.

May I also ask about the reference to electrification, which I asked about last Tuesday, particularly the references to Oxford, Sheffield and Swansea on page 14? An announcement is promised “shortly” on page 88. How shortly is “shortly”?