To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the Office for Rail and Road’s decision not to authorise any more Intercity Express Programme Class 800/801 for the London and North Eastern Railway until safety issues have been addressed on the introduction of the fleet into traffic in December 2018.
It is not uncommon when introducing new trains that rigorous test programmes raise issues that must be resolved before passenger service begins. The rail industry’s utmost priorities are the safe introduction of services and to ensure passengers on the East Coast route receive the planned benefits of the new Intercity Express Programme.
The Department is working closely with the Office for Rail and Road (ORR), Hitachi Rail Europe (HRE), London North Eastern Railway (LNER) and Network Rail (NR) to address the concerns raised by the ORR and bring the fleet into passenger service as soon as possible.
The full benefits of the Government-led Intercity Express Programme, including increased capacity, improved reliability and more frequent services for passengers on the East Coast route, will be delivered once the full fleet is in service in 2020. But in the meantime each and every train that is introduced will itself improve journeys for LNER customers.