29 February 2016: Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to encourage new or reopened rail lines to be cost-effective
during the Question.....
Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Lab): My Lords, the Minister is absolutely right to draw attention to the success of the community rail partnerships. They have contributed to growth well above the growth on regional railways generally and have attracted some 3,200 volunteers to help improve stations and to work generally on the railway alongside full-time railway staff. This is a great success story and it is important that the Northern Rail franchise embraces that.
But does the Minister not agree that for that strategy to succeed, it will be necessary for Network Rail to look realistically at cost levels and get them down where it can, because those have been a bar to opening lines until now?
I declare an interest as chairman of the Great Western Railway advisory board and, indeed, the author of a book which deals extensively with this subject.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: I am sure noble Lords will be lining up outside the Chamber for a signed copy.