Public Accounts Committee

Thameslink Programme inquiry

Inquiry status: open - accepting written submissions

The Public Accounts Committee will examine the Thameslink programme on Wednesday 6 December 2017.

Scope of the inquiry

The Thameslink Programme is a major project to extend Thameslink Rail services to 100 new stations and increase capacity on trains into central London, as well as updating rolling stock.

The programme, sponsored by the Department for Transport, is worth £7 billion. It includes infrastructure works in central London managed by Network Rail, and acquiring 115 new trains.

A recent report from the National Audit Office found that Network Rail had remained within its current infrastructure budget and introduced measures to better monitor the project’s finances. However, acquiring the new trains is behind schedule, and the UK’s wider rail network cannot yet support the new Thameslink services reliably. For example, between July 2015 and March 2017 13% of all cancellations and delays over 30 minutes have been due to track or signalling failures. As a result, the Department for Transport has elected to introduce services more slowly, with full rollout in December 2019, a year later than planned.

The Public Accounts Committee will take evidence from the Department for Transport and Network Rail to ask about the Programme’s progress and how problems with the rail network can be addressed. The Committee will also seek assurances that the programme can be delivered without further delays, and avoiding cost increases.

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