Taken from http://www.manchesteronline.co.uk/news/content.cfm?story=268965
MPs blast £300m rail blunder
MPs have blasted a £300m train deal for a doomed plan to extend Channel Tunnel services to Manchester and other cities.
In a damning report, the Commons public accounts committee, says: "It is disappointing that large sums of public money have been wasted on buying expensive trains in advance of need or evidence of need."
Some of the trains have been used for testing and others have been leased to rail companies. The committee says it is disappointed that regional Eurostar services to Manchester and other cities had not been introduced.
The report said the Strategic Rail Authority had not yet made a final decision on whether to run services from London to Manchester and the regions.
"But the Department of Transport did not expect services to be introduced in the near future and consultants have been employed to consider whether such services would represent value for money,'' says the committee.
The committee points out that only (my emphasis)
12 per cent of existing Eurostar passengers travelling through the Tunnel to Paris or Brussels were from regions outside of the south east.
The MPs were also critical of the deal to build a fast link between the Channel Tunnel and London - which was originally intended to link up with Eurostar regional services.
The contract to build the link and run the UK arm of Eurostar services was awarded to London and Continental Railways on the basis of government grants of £1.7 billion.
It was expected the building would start in 1998 and the link would open in 2003.
In January 1998, the company asked for an extra £1.2 billion in grants from the government, this was rejected but ministers said the deal had been restructured to avoid paying public grants to the company.
But today the committee chairman, Tory MP Edward Leigh, condemned the fact that the taxpayer had been left to pick up the tab for a flawed deal.
"All very reminiscent of the Millennium Dome. It is very likely that further substantial sums of public money will be needed to keep the company afloat,'' said Mr Leigh.
I'm amazed that as many as 12% of their passengers come from outside the South East!