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South Norfolk
  'One' payouts make rail improvements unlikely, says MP


Norfolk Police Headquarters
One Railways paid the government
£55.6 million in 2005-06

South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon has expressed concern that train company One Railway is not making improvements to its services because of multi-million pound †premium payments which the firm is making to the government.†

Mr Bacon requested the information during a Commons public accounts committee enquiry into the West Coast Main Line in January this year. 

One, which is not expected to introduce new rolling stock for the lifetime of its current franchise, paid the Exchequer £55.6 million pounds in 2005-06.

Mr Bacon said: “It is worrying that these payments appear to be making improvements for Norfolk’s rail passengers less likely.  However, One signed up to this deal and it needs to be honest with Norfolk’s travelling public about how it intends to invest in new trains, rather than second hand locomotives and carriages”.

A Network Rail report earlier this year showed that One trains arriving at London Liverpool Street between 8am and 9am are at 110 per cent capacity, and that new larger capacity trains would actually yield One an extra £150 million a year in revenue. 

The only train operating company paying more than One is GNER, which paid the government £68.8 million pounds in 2005-06.  GNER’s East Coast rail franchise collapsed in December 2006 when it could no longer afford to make its premium payments and the firm is now operating on a temporary contract until the summer. 

14 June 2007

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