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Results 41–60 of 6000 for (in the 'Commons debates' OR in the 'Westminster Hall debates' OR in the 'Lords debates' OR in the 'Northern Ireland Assembly debates') speaker:Geoff Hoon

Royal Assent: New Trains (Investment) (12 Feb 2009)

Geoff Hoon: Clearly, my preparations for answering the hon. Lady's questions were longer than they should have been. I emphasise that the jobs are real jobs in the UK. I was interested in the hon. Lady's failure to mention a word that I thought would feature in any spokesperson's observations about a major commercial decision—"competition". Nowhere did she mention the fact that such important...

Royal Assent: New Trains (Investment) (12 Feb 2009)

Geoff Hoon: I am grateful for my right hon. Friend's observations. I am sure that others will have heard his words and will take appropriate note. For the reasons that he mentioned, I am particularly keen to see the electrification of both the Great Western main line and the midland main line, which is something that I announced to the House quite recently. The trains that are being procured as a result...

Royal Assent: New Trains (Investment) (12 Feb 2009)

Geoff Hoon: Normally, the hon. Gentleman urges, encourages and exhorts me to spend more on railways, but I come to the House today with a £7.5 billion announcement on railways and I fail to detect a welcome from him or any sign that he thinks that this is a good thing. However, in the light of his previous observations, I will take it as read that he does think it a good thing. Today's announcement is...

Royal Assent: New Trains (Investment) (12 Feb 2009)

Geoff Hoon: My hon. Friend makes an extremely good point about testing. Providing space on the network for the kind of high-speed running that is required to test new vehicles is an issue when our existing network is so busy, so I will certainly look at his suggestion.

Royal Assent: New Trains (Investment) (12 Feb 2009)

Geoff Hoon: As someone who travels up and down that line very regularly—even more often than the right hon. Gentleman, I expect—I do not think that anyone could accuse me of ignoring it. Although I have promised the House that I will always mention electrification of the great western line before the midland main line, I am nevertheless committed to the electrification of both. Therefore, I think...

Royal Assent: New Trains (Investment) (12 Feb 2009)

Geoff Hoon: I well understand why my hon. Friend would want to speak up on behalf of the benefits of such a major investment going to his constituency, and I would certainly be willing to meet him to discuss the proposals, although not to discuss any specific planning matters that are not part of my responsibility. I assure him that this will be a commercial negotiation conducted by the company. No doubt...

Royal Assent: New Trains (Investment) (12 Feb 2009)

Geoff Hoon: The hon. Gentleman is right to speak up for the interests of his constituents. As the child of a railway family, I probably spent more time than I care to remember sitting on Crewe station. Anyone who has travelled regularly on our railways will appreciate the splendours of that particular place. It is vital that we recognise that the announcement that I have made today will protect and...

Royal Assent: New Trains (Investment) (12 Feb 2009)

Geoff Hoon: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his observations. These are exciting times for the Great Western line and, indeed, for passengers all down the line. We have announced a programme for electrification, and today's announcement will provide for higher speed trains perhaps even going beyond the extent of electrification. The bi-modal nature of the trains—if I may out-geek my hon. Friend for...

Royal Assent: New Trains (Investment) (12 Feb 2009)

Geoff Hoon: I have made it quite clear that capacity constraint is an important part of the work that we need to do to improve our rail network, and there are some significant steps that can be taken. Today's announcement on inter-city trains, which will have greater carriage capacity, will be part of that, as will the continuing work to lengthen platforms. The negotiations between the manufacturer and...

Royal Assent: New Trains (Investment) (12 Feb 2009)

Geoff Hoon: My hon. Friend is probably beginning to exhaust the limits of my technical competence in the details of electrification. I know that there are various kinds of electrification, but as I do not know the arrangements in and around her constituency, I will not tempt fate by either agreeing or disagreeing with her. I will, however, ensure that she is written to and that an explanation is provided.

Royal Assent: New Trains (Investment) (12 Feb 2009)

Geoff Hoon: I have consistently made it clear since getting this job that relieving congestion and improving capacity on our network is of paramount importance. Bringing into service the platform at Waterloo is part of that process, and the investment that I announced today is part of a much wider £20 billion investment in new rail capacity.

Royal Assent: New Trains (Investment) (12 Feb 2009)

Geoff Hoon: Certainly, my emphasis has not been on speed itself, as I made clear in response to an earlier question. This is not simply about increasing the maximum speed; it is about improving reliability and efficiency and, crucially, about improving the experience of passengers in higher-quality vehicles. I therefore agree with, and welcome, my hon. Friend's observation.

Royal Assent: New Trains (Investment) (12 Feb 2009)

Geoff Hoon: Well, I cannot remember what it was like in 1927, but I can remember what it was like under the previous Conservative Government. As someone who has always been a strong and consistent supporter of investment in the railways—I am delighted that I have the opportunity today not only to talk about it, but to provide it—I am determined to ensure that we improve the quality of our railways...

Royal Assent: New Trains (Investment) (12 Feb 2009)

Geoff Hoon: Knowing the excellence of manufacturing experience in the city of Sheffield, I made it clear that it is one of the places being looked at very closely by the consortium for the location of a manufacturing plant. It will be keen to take advantage of the significant skills available in the Sheffield area, not least because the plant will be designed to bring advanced railway technology into the...

Royal Assent: New Trains (Investment) (12 Feb 2009)

Geoff Hoon: I am always grateful for help from the hon. Lady, who has always been an enthusiastic supporter of the European Union and has argued that case from her days as a Member of the European Parliament. She seems to have been rather quieter on the subject of Europe in recent times— [Interruption.] The relevance of Europe comes from the importance of having rail manufacturing facilities in the UK...

Royal Assent: New Trains (Investment) (12 Feb 2009)

Geoff Hoon: I am most grateful for my hon. Friend's observations. Clearly, the train operating companies, which are ultimately responsible for paying for the trains, will want to use them to the maximum advantage. That will not only mean shorter journey times, but should allow more frequent services to destinations such as Edinburgh and others along that route.

Royal Assent: New Trains (Investment) (12 Feb 2009)

Geoff Hoon: That was the whole point of the announcement, which provides not only more rolling stock on the network but the means of constructing it, by providing for the United Kingdom extra train-making capability.

Royal Assent: New Trains (Investment) (12 Feb 2009)

Geoff Hoon: I return the compliment. I found the conversation about services to Northampton very interesting and I rather think that I gave a promise to visit and see the services there. Investing, not in the particular Northampton line, but in other lines across the country, will clearly have knock-on effects for capacity in the UK. We need more investment in railways; I accept the observations that...

Royal Assent: New Trains (Investment) (12 Feb 2009)

Geoff Hoon: I regard it as the responsibility of any Minister to meet right hon. and hon. Members to discuss their issues of concern. I do not recall ever having turned down a meeting, and I will ensure that one is arranged for the hon. Gentleman.

Royal Assent: New Trains (Investment) (12 Feb 2009)

Geoff Hoon: There is a constant programme of upgrading our rolling stock. I would not accept for a moment, however, that any of that rolling stock is unsafe.


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