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Control Agreement

Volume 414: debated on Monday 22 October 1945

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asked the Minister of War Transport how long he intends the Railway Control Agreement to continue; what modifications he proposes for the transitional period; and whether the existing rental will be increased so that all stockholders may receive some return from their capital.

Under the Railway Control Agreement, control is to be continued for a minimum period of one year after the cessation of hostilities. Before control comes to an end (that is, before all statutory rights and obligations as they exist at that time again apply to the controlled undertakings) time is to be given for the operation of any statutory machinery governing the level of charges. The Agreement, including the financial clauses, covers the whole period of control, both during the war and during the transitional period thereafter. I do not propose to make any modifications in it.

Will it not help their reconstruction if the companies can be told how they are going to stand in the near future?

That point can be met in a much more practical way than that suggested by the hon. Member.


asked the Minister of War Transport whether he will now state the policy of the Government with regard to the railways on the expiry of the Control Agreement six months after the termination of hostilities.

My hon. Friend is mistaken; the Railway Control Agreement provides that control will be continued for a minimum period of one year after the cessation of hostilities. I am not yet in a position to make a statement upon the situation which will arise when the present control terminates.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the phrase "cessation of hostilities" refers to Germany or to Japan?

If it represents a minimum period of one year after the cessation of hostilities, I do not think it really matters much whether it is related to Germany or Japan, although that is a matter into which I shall look more closely.


asked the Minister of War Transport whether he will put the moneys accruing to the Exchequer from the operation of the Railway Control Agreement into a separate fund and earmark this for future railway development.

No, Sir. I see no reason to make any special arrangements such as is suggested.


asked the Minister of War Transport how much has been expended by his Department on railway works, extensions or improvements on each of the four main railway systems during the operations of the Railway Control Agreement; how much has been charged to the railway companies; and whether they will be charged with the balance.

The estimated cost of railway works of a capital nature on the four main line systems and joint lines, financed by my Department since the commencement of Government Control, is as follows:

L.N.E. Rly.3,815,422
L.M.S. Rly.3,863,428
G.W. Rly.5,374,745
S. Rly.2,229,201
Joint Lines228,679

Pending their ultimate disposal, these works remain the property of the Government.