asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether recent announcements about delays in upgrading the track on the West Coast Main Line represent any dilution of their long-term commitment to the West Coast Main Line being an integral core component of the United Kingdom rail network.
The Government remain committed to providing a revitalised rail network and the West Coast Main Line upgrade is an integral part of that commitment. It is clear from our discussions with the Strategic Rail Authority, the Railway Administrator and Virgin that the project is facing problems in terms of cost increases and uncertainty about the timetable for delivery. Railtrack and Virgin have presented a number of options for taking the project forward.
We are in discussion with the SRA, the Railway Administrator and Virgin to ensure that we have a common understanding of the issues involved and the options. We are working to confirm a project which is value for money and can be delivered to a clear timetable, subject to the need to obtain any planning consents.