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Volume 465: debated on Monday 23 May 1949

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Railway Electrification (Liverpool Street—Shenfield)


asked the Minister of Transport if he has any further information regarding the date when the electrification of the line between Liverpool Street and Shenfield will be completed and the service in operation.

I understand that the British Transport Commission hope to bring this electrification scheme into service by the end of the year.

In view of the continued unsatisfactory state of the service, will my right hon. Friend promise to do something to accelerate the completion of this work? It is most desirable that the work should be completed and the service in operation before the winter.

I cannot indicate that I can use any special measures to accelerate the work, but I can assure my hon. Friend that the British Transport Commission are fully alive to the travelling difficulties in this area and that they will certainly press on as urgently as possible.

When this work is completed, will my right hon. Friend prevent the dispersal of the labour force engaged on such valuable work, and transfer it to the electrification of the Liverpool Street to Enfield line?

Buses (Boarding)


asked the Minister of Transport whether his regulations permit a passenger to board a bus which is not full and is stationary at traffic lights.

The operator of the vehicle may be debarred by the conditions attached to his road service licence from picking up passengers at the place concerned. Subject to this, the regulations neither permit nor prohibit the action referred to in the Question.

Does that mean that the decision in a matter of this kind is left to the conductor of the vehicle, and is that not leaving it to rather a capricious judge?

As I have indicated, the law is silent on this matter at the moment and it certainly will have my examination.

Can the Minister say why it is any more dangerous to get on to a bus at traffic lights than to get off it, which is allowed? Is he also aware that the conductor sometimes refuses to allow people on at lights on the plea that there may be a crowd at the stopping place, even when he is out of sight of the stopping place and when in fact there is nobody there?

Level Crossings (Accidents)


asked the Minister of Transport how many accidents occurred to vehicles at level crossings during each of the last three years; and whether action has been taken at such level crossings to reduce the danger of accidents.

The numbers of collisions with road vehicles or gates at railway level crossings in 1946, 1947 and 1948 were 157, 215 and 212, respectively. Preventive action is taken wherever practicable to reduce the likelihood of such accidents.

Will my right hon. Friend give his attention to the possibility of providing some system of lights on the lines of those we have on our roads, so that some of these accidents can be avoided?

The problem of these crossings is being examined continually, but it is a difficult issue.