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Transport Secretary: Railways need 'huge investment'

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has defended the expected rise in rail fares next year saying that the rail network is in need of "huge investment". He told the BBC:

Nobody likes to see rail fares go up. I don't like to see it and passengers don't like to see it. We are massively investing in the railways, with £130 million being spent here at Nottingham, £800 million at Reading and £600 million at Birmingham.

– Patrick McLoughlin, Transport Secretary

Pressed to say when the government plans to end above-inflation fare rises, he said that the Office for Budget Responsibility has a target to do so in 2015.

He said that just over £8 billion was raised by ticket sales and just under £4 billion by taxpayers for the UK's rail services.

Transport Secretary faces rail fiasco quiz

A Government minister and his department boss will face a grilling from MPs today over the West Coast rail franchise fiasco.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin Credit: David Jones/PA Wire

Members of the House of Commons Transport Committee will be armed with a damning initial report into what Labour has described as a "shambles" of a bidding process.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and Department for Transport (DfT) permanent secretary Philip Rutnam will have to explain why the DfT went ahead with the West Coast bidding competition knowing the process was flawed.

Mr McLoughlin will also be asked why he told MPs on his first appearance before the committee in September that he was happy with the bidding process only for him to scrap the entire West Coast refranchising process a few weeks later.

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Transport Secretary: safety 'paramount' in motorway speed limit proposals

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said today the safety of the roads would be his overriding concern when considering plans to raise the motorway speed limit to 80mph.

Striking a much cooler note on the proposals than their author, former transport secretary Philip Hammond, Mr McLoughlin stressed that "speed does kill".

The Government is consulting on the plans for a higher limit on English and Welsh motorways after Mr Hammond said last year that the existing 70mph threshold was "discredited" and brought the law "into disrepute".

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin pictured arriving at No.10 Downing Street.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin pictured arriving at No.10 Downing Street. Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire/Press Association Images

But Mr McLoughlin, who was appointed Transport Secretary in this month's reshuffle, said today that many serious accidents occurred when people were breaking the speed limit.

"What's very important is that we never lose sight about the issue of safety on our roads," he told the Murnaghan programme on Sky News.

"First and foremost in my mind will be road safety, but I will look at the evidence - there's a consultation taking place on that.

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