asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether he is satisfied with the results of his Department's slogan "Is your journey really necessary?" and whether he intends to take further steps to restrict unnecessary civilian travel on the railways?
The slogan "Is your journey really necessary?" was originally introduced by the railway companies, to whom is due much of the credit for the considerable success which it has had. My Ministry have examined various proposals for the further compulsory restriction or rationing of railway travel. To be effective, however, these proposals would all require a complicated organisation, which would make demands on man-power out of all proportion to the benefit which would accrue. I am, therefore, grateful to my hon. Friend for this opportunity of saying that it will be more important this year than ever before that passengers should only travel by rail when they are certain that it is essential for them to do so.
Does not my hon. Friend think that the time has arrived when the whole question of railway travel ought to be inquired into again, both in the interests of the railway workers, particularly engine drivers and firemen, and in the interests of those who have to travel, particularly Service people on leave?
I fully agree with my hon. Friend about the great strain on train crews, and, indeed, on the whole railway system at the present time, but we have taken a number of measures, as, for example, the withdrawal of cheap day tickets, to reduce non-essential traffic, and they have had considerable success. Rationing is an extremely difficult proposition, and we are satisfied that if Herr Hitler has not been able to solve it, it will be very difficult for us to do so.
Was one of the steps, among others which the hon. Gentleman has not mentioned, the raising of fares by 68 per cent. for people who have to travel in the ordinary way of business?
I am considering a special case which my hon. Friend has put to me about the raising of fares.
May I ask whether generals of high position travel alone in first-class compartments and admirals do not?