asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether the proposals in Network Rail's strategy for the east coast main line satisfy the aspirations of the successful franchise bid and reflect the likely rise in the cost of oil and the need to meet climate change objectives.
The service pattern proposed in the successful franchise bid is subject to the emerging recommendations of the east coast main line route utilisation strategy (RUS). Once the RUS is established by the Office of Rail Regulation, the franchisee will work towards securing the necessary train paths to operate a timetable that reflects the bid proposition.
Route utilisation strategies are prepared by Network Rail in accordance with guidance issued by the Office of Rail Regulation. They make use of HM Government's economic forecasting data, which take account of the cost of oil, and, although the ORR's guidance does not include explicit climate change objectives, the east coast main line strategy proposes to accommodate significant levels of growth in passenger and freight traffic by rail rather than by less environmentally friendly modes.