§ 21. Mr. Simon Thomas
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what discussions he has undertaken with the relevant secretaries of the National Assembly regarding the establishment of a single rail franchise for Wales; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Hill
The Instructions and Guidance given to the Franchising Director by the Deputy Prime Minister in September 1999 asked him to consider the size, duration, and make-up of franchises in seeking best value for money. The Franchising Director announced a dedicated rail network for Wales and the border counties of England on 8 August. The scope of this network has now been defined following discussion, which started in March, with the National Assembly for Wales and other key stakeholders.