asked the Minister of War Transport whether he is aware that about 160,000 railway wagons are now out of service for repair in this country, which is over 100,000 more than is the normal number at this time of the year; whether he is taking steps to increase the repair staffs; and what the prospects are of getting the number of wagons under repair back to normal before the winter coal demands arise.
I am aware that the wagon position is serious. Special steps have been taken to obtain additional labour and facilities for repairs, to increase the number of wagons to meet traffic demands during the coming winter.
Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that the failure to release key men is causing a serious bottleneck, and has he made representations to the Minister of Labour with a view to expediting demobilisation?
Yes, Sir, and it has received very sympathetic consideration, but I feel that we shall best solve this problem by bringing into operation additional repair and production facilities.
Can the right hon. Gentleman state how many have been released as a result of his representations to the Minister of Labour?
:If my hon. Friend will put that Question down I will endeavour to give him the information he requires.
What proportion of the number of wagons sent to the Continent after D-Day have been returned?
:I cannot give that information offhand, but steps are being taken to secure the return of certain rolling stock sent to the Continent.