Department for Transport Director of Rail Network Services Brian Etherington refused to commit to making the future rail enhancements pipeline publicly visible.
At the Transport Select Committee’s final hearing into rail infrastructure investment on April 30, TSC Chairman Lilian Greenwood asked Etherington and Rail Minister Jo Johnson whether there will be public knowledge of what was in the pipeline, and of the status of projects.
Johnson replied: “This is one of the changes. We’re going to be committed only to announcing funding for individual schemes along a spec timescale that’s appropriate to that scheme, rather than announcing all schemes at the start of a Control Period.”
Greenwood then asked: “Will the whole pipeline be visible to the public?”
Johnson said: “I think it’s something we’re giving some thought to at the moment. We want to deliver on the strategic vision for rail. Level of transparency will be consistent with the strategic vision as outlined by the Secretary of State.”
Greenwood continued to press Johnson and Etherington, asking how businesses could expect to know what work is likely to be coming forward if the enhancements pipeline was not made public.
Etherington said that Network Rail and key contractors discuss future investment, adding: “I would find it surprising if key contractors don’t have visibility about what’s coming forward.”
- For FULL coverage of the Transport Select Committee hearing on April 30, read RAIL 852, published on May 9, and available digitally on Android/iPad from May 5.