COMMONS

Transparency over completion of Thameslink programme essential

05 June 2013

Louise Ellman, Chair of the Transport Committee comments on the NAO review of progress in the Thameslink programme.

Commenting on the NAO’s review, Louise Ellman, Chair of Transport Committee said today:

We called for an independent review of the Thameslink  procurement programme in December 2011 after ministers selected Siemens rather than Bombardier as the preferred bidder for the new rolling stock.

“I remain concerned the NAO finds the Department underestimated the scale of work, time, skills and capacity it required to negotiate such a complex PFI deal which asked one supplier to design, build, finance and maintain the new trains.

“The Department must now as a matter of urgency not only sign the contract, but also publish a clear programme setting out when the entire project will be concluded and showing whether new trains will indeed be delivered by 2018 and whether plans for electrification in the North - where refurbished Thameslink trains are due to be deployed - will be affected.

“Transparency on this scale is essential to restore confidence. Nothing less will demonstrate that ministers have learned key lessons on the skills and capacity their Department requires to manage rail franchising.”

Further information

Committee Membership is as follows:

Mrs Louise Ellman (Labour/Co-operative, Liverpool Riverside) (Chair); Steve Baker (Conservative, Wycombe); Sarah Champion (Labour, Rotherham); Jim Dobbin (Labour/Co-operative, Heywood and Middleton);  Kwasi Kwarteng (Conservative, Spelthorne); Karen Lumley (Conservative, Redditch); Karl McCartney (Conservative, Lincoln); Lucy Powell (Labour / Co-operative, Manchester Central); Adrian Sanders (Lib Dem, Torbay); Iain Stewart (Conservative, Milton Keynes South); Graham Stringer (Labour, Blackley and Broughton).

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