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Transport Situation

Volume 437: debated on Wednesday 7 May 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what action he intends to take to alleviate the transport situation revealed in the Oil Seeds Mission Report, Colonial 211; and what priority he will secure for locomotives and rolling stock for the Nigerian railways.

As the reply is rather long and contains figures, I will circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

I think it is quite comprehensive.

Following is the reply:

The question of alleviating the transport situation in West Africa has received, and is receiving, my personal attention, and I have, in conjunction with Ministers concerned, done everything possible to speed up delivery of the large and various requirements.. As the hon. Member is, no doubt, aware, demands on manufacturers for the production of railway materials have, since the end of the war, been extremely heavy. No system of priorities, as understood during the war years, is now in operation; but close contact is being kept with firms concerned in the manufacture of all kinds of materials required by the Nigerian Railways, including locomotives, and wagons, track laying material and spare parts, and every effort is being made to get supplies out to the Colony with the least possible delay.

As regards the important question of locomotives, I am glad to say that the 14 locomotives ordered from Canada have now been completed, and it is expected that shipment of these will commence this month. The delivery of the 20 locomotives on order from the United Kingdom, which was scheduled to begin in August, has, I regret to say, been set back owing to the fuel crisis, and may not now be possible before the end of the year. On the question of the future requirements of the Nigerian Railways, orders have been placed for 42 locomotives and some 1,400 wagons for delivery between 1947 and 1952. It has been requested that equal consideration may be given to these requirements with those accorded to British Railways.