John Stevenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will include a requirement to upgrade Carlisle station in the next invitation to tender for the West Coast Mainline franchise.
Claire Perry: Prior to the publication of the Intercity West Coast Invitation to Tender there will be a consultation on the specification of the next franchise. This consultation exercise will help to inform the development of the Invitation to Tender and I would welcome my Hon Friend to submit his ideas for Carlisle station.
John Stevenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what timescale he has planned for the completion of the feasibility study of the upgrading of the A69.
Andrew Jones: The Department, working with Highways England, is in the process of procuring consultants to undertake the Northern Trans-Pennine Strategic Study, which includes consideration of the A69. It is anticipated that this will report by the end of 2016. I have recently written to MPs and council leaders whose constituencies or local authorities are directly affected by the strategic studies informing them of the studies’ imminent formal commencement.
John Stevenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of transport infrastructure in Cumbria; and if he will conduct a feasibility study on upgrading the A595 from Carlisle to Whitehaven.
Andrew Jones: The Government and the rail industry work closely with local stakeholders to assess the adequacy of infrastructure and determine investment priorities for each five year Rail Investment Strategy for England and Wales. Work is currently underway to inform decisions on the Strategy for 2019-2024
In April 2015 Highways England published its Route Strategies, which included an assessment of the main issues, challenges and investment priorities for the sections of the Strategic Road Network in Cumbria, including the A590, A595, A66 and M6.
The Infrastructure Act 2015 requires Highways England to maintain an appropriate evidence base on the state and performance of the Strategic Road Network, which will inform the setting of future Road Investment Strategies. Plans for reviewing the current Route Strategies, including those covering Cumbria, will be announced later this year.
It remains the responsibility of Cumbria County Council, in consultation with Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, to consider the case for upgrading the stretches of the A595 that fall under its authority and to consider how any feasibility studies or upgrades might be funded.