Railways: Franchises

Department for Transport written question – answered at on 13 September 2016.

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Photo of Henry Smith Henry Smith Conservative, Crawley

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the size of (a) rail franchises and (b) the Govia Thameslink rail franchise on the efficient delivery of rail services.

Photo of Paul Maynard Paul Maynard Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

We take a very large number of factors into account when determining the most appropriate way forward when franchises are due for renewal. We undertook just such an assessment when considering options for the most appropriate approach to providing passenger rail services during the delivery of the Thameslink Programme infrastructure and the introduction of new rolling stock. This included balancing the size of the franchise against the need to ensure effective coordination of all the services on the lines affected by Thameslink during the construction period. We of course always take into account lessons learned from practice when looking at similar decisions in the future.

Regarding the size of the Govia Thameslink Railway franchise, as I made clear at the Transport Select Committee, it is unlikely the Department will wish to let such a franchise in the future. The size of the franchise is a factor in this assessment. However, I believe that with the measures recently announced this franchise should deliver a better passenger experience in the future.

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