East Coast Railway Line

Transport written question – answered on 14th October 2013.

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Photo of Christopher Pincher Christopher Pincher Conservative, Tamworth

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the contribution of open-access operators on the East Coast Main Line in support of the franchised operator.

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport

The impacts of open access operation have been assessed against three criteria: (a) performance; (b) network utilisation; and (c) revenue of the InterCity East Coast franchise.

(a) Open access operators on the east coast route have typically delivered lower levels of performance than the franchised operator, in part because one of them operates relatively old diesel trains;

(b) Open access operation has had no material adverse impact on network utilisation, although the constraints on platform occupancy at Kings Cross, in particular, and Doncaster, to a lesser extent, have complicated operations at those two stations;

(c) Open access operators have generally tended to abstract revenue from the franchised operator. Furthermore, where bidders in the forthcoming InterCity East Coast franchise competition perceive a risk of additional open access competition causing further abstraction, they are likely to offer lower bids.

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