Examination of Witnesses (Questions 10260
10260. Tell me, when are you going to let the
contract for Crossrail, if you achieve Royal Assent?
(Mr Berryman) For the construction?
(Mr Berryman) It will not be a contract; it will be a whole
series of contracts. If we can achieve that suite of agreements
which are needed by the end of this year, as you have just described,
we would be expecting to let the contracts towards the end of
2009 with work to start in 2010.
10262. Now, if you are going to be finalising
the contracts in 2009 you are going to have to reach a decision
pretty quickly, are you not, as to whether you are going to be
including the Heathrow access, that 170 million or so, or not?
Decisions have got to be made very fast, have they not?
(Mr Berryman) They have. In the case of the Heathrow access
which is particularly relevant, the suite of agreements that I
talked about includes an agreement for Crossrail to use the Heathrow
Express track work and for a financial contribution to be made
by BAA, so we would expect that that would be one of those agreements
which is made later this year, and once that agreement is made
then, yes, we would be letting a contract for construction of
these works. I think it might be worth just mentioning that the
intention is that Network Rail, who are the infrastructure manager
already on the Great Western and the Great Eastern would actually
take responsibility for the management of those contracts on our
10263. I am not concerned at the present moment
with management: I am sure EWS will be concerned about who is
managing but that is not my point. This flexibility which has
been dangled before the Committee as a reason for not giving us
our undertakings is a flexibility which is only going to remain
for a very short while, because someone has to decide what is
to be in the project so that there can be the necessary competitive
tendering and so forth for the contract, is that not right?
(Mr Berryman) Yes, certainly in that case it is absolutely
right. In some of the other cases, of course, the works are much
more modest. But I put it to you the other way round. Would there
be any point in us building the Heathrow flyover if we could only
get consent to run no trains, or two trains an hour perhaps, down
the Heathrow branch, and two trains an hour would be the same
as the existing Heathrow Connect service? Clearly, until we have
made that agreement there is no point committing to build something.
What I can tell you is if we do make that agreement we will be
building the Heathrow access flyover or something very similar,
subject to detailed design.
10264. But BAA are not even here petitioning
on that matter; you are working on a consensual basis with them.
(Mr Berryman) We are in negotiation with them about that
matter, as to use of their track work.
10265. I am grateful, Mr Berryman. I know others
have questions but I am not going to trespass any longer on their
Cross-examined by LORD
10266. LORD BERKELEY: Thank you, my Lord
Chairman, for allowing me to come back. Mr Berryman, can we look
first at the cost sheet we have been given? Looking at the four
what you might call cheaper schemes, Chadwell Heath, West Ealing,
Hanwell Bridge and West Drayton, total cost £145 million,
it is my understanding these are basically single or double pieces
of track with sets of points at each end, is that correct?
(Mr Berryman) Not
quite. Certainly that is the case at Chadwell Heath. Also, it
is a single piece of track with points at both ends, about 750m
long with overhead electrification and some culverts and such
like which need to be remedied in that area. West Ealing is a
single branch with just a single end and a new platform refurbishment
and so on, and West Drayton is a combination of those things.
I think you are aware, as you are a civil engineer yourself, I
know, Lord Berkeley, that the works particularly on railways are
made much more complicated and expensive by the stageworks which
have to be done. In other words, you have to move a bit from here
to here before you can do something over there, and that is what
brings the costs into some of these relatively simple works.
10267. Can I invite you to compare these costs
with a cost estimate with Network Rail that the rail freight industry
did a few months ago to create a very similar loop up near Daventry
to mitigate the effect of West Coast Main Line perturbations which
came out at £4 million. You are not going to paint these
rails out of gold or anything, are you? It does seem very expensive.
(Mr Berryman) One of the features of projects in the United
Kingdom over the last 30 or so years has been that they have significant
cost overruns, and one reason for that is frequently the budget
costs are too low. I spent my formative years in Hong Kong where
we brought everything in on budget and I noticed that one of the
features of the Hong Kong system was that adequate budgets were
set in the first place, so we have regarded itI regard
it personally and the company regards itas very important
to set adequate budgets for the works. The £15 million we
put there, as I said, includes electrification, the signalling
of the loop, some relatively minor infrastructure as well as the
trackwork and so on.
10268. As does Daventry, of course. You mentioned
the problem of stageworking. If these works did not get built
as part of the main contracts that you have just described, how
much more expensive would they be to put in later?
(Mr Berryman) That is a very difficult question to answer
off the top of the head. If you take the Chadwell Heath loop it
would not really make any difference; you could do it later or
at the same time with very little difference in cost. If you think
about the Hanwell Bridge sidings, the stageworks there are incredibly
complicated. You have to keep moving the tracks over one and putting
some new points and crossings in and so on, and I think it would
be sensible to do that at the same time as the rest of the Crossrail
works are done simply because you could make use of the same possessions;
you could make use of the same methods of doing the work. But
to answer your point in general is very difficult because on a
case-by-case basis it would be different.
10269. Difficult to estimate, or difficult to
(Mr Berryman) I have not had a chance to say this in this
Chamber, my Lord, but in engineering everything is possible; it
is just a question of how much it costs.
10270. LORD SNAPE: Not just engineering,
(Mr Berryman) So it would be a question of the details of
the alternative way of doing things, I think.
10271. LORD BERKELEY: Perhaps I could
rescue Mr Berryman before we go any deeper in this. You will recall
that I and others from Rail Freight Group had a meeting with you
and colleagues a month or two ago to discuss these works and there
were some works where you put to us that there was still a lot
of design work to be done on the passenger side and it would be
unreasonable to ask for a recommendation from this Committee to
ask the Promoters to commit to those works because the design
was being completely altered, and one of those was Maidenhead,
another was Slough and another one was Shenfield. Would you agree
that you put that to us, and would you accept that is the reason
why we did not make the list any longer at this stage?
(Mr Berryman) Well, I am perfectly prepared to accept that,
if you say so, yes, of course.
10272. Thank you, Mr Berryman. That is all I
have to do on the works themselves. Could I now briefly ask you
to take us back to this rather vexed question we have spent a
lot of time talking about in the last day or two which is the
question of permissions for planning and access? I must say I
think many of us still remain a little bit confused. In your original
evidence last Tuesday, paragraph 8783, Mr Elvin suggested that
the Rail Freight Group, my clients, was trying to seek to part
from industry processes by asking the Committee to ask the Promoters
to build specific works, and he did the same with several of my
other witnesses as well. Would you not agree that there are two
parallel processes here: one is obtaining planning permission
to build something, and the other is getting access rights to
run the trains, and they are completely separateor they
(Mr Berryman) I take it from that that what you mean is that
this Bill gives us the planning consent we need to build the elements
of the works, and that is a separate process from the access rights
which people can acquire to run over the works that are built.
Just so I understand, is that the question?
(Mr Berryman) In that case I do agree with it, yes.
10274. But you will also agree that when the
Bill started off as a Hybrid Bill it sought both to give you planning
permission and to give you access rights through what we call
the railway clauses?
(Mr Berryman) Yes, I guess you could say that, although there
are others better qualified than me to answer that, which is more
of a legal point really.
10275. Just taking you through that, last year
Government said, possibly as a result of industry pressure, that
it would seek to operate through the industry processes and if
it was satisfied it would withdraw the railway clauses.
(Mr Berryman) Yes, that is correct.
10276. And so at that stage Crossrail were seeking
planning permission through the Hybrid Bill process, and access
rights through the industry processes, assuming they came out
right, as I think you put it?
(Mr Berryman) Yes, that is right.
10277. And you are still seeking planning permission
through the Bill, and that is right.
(Mr Berryman) That is correct.
10278. The application for access rights to
the ORR was based on the agreed timetable done on the basis of
the works in the Bill, as you have confirmed and other people
(Mr Berryman) Yes. In fact, not all of the works in the Bill
but the majority.
10279. Of course, not all but the relevant?
(Mr Berryman) Yes.