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Volume 645: debated on Wednesday 26 July 1961

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asked the Minister of Transport what capital expenditure he has authorised to electrify the North Staffordshire loop line, for the construction of a main line by-pass diversion of Harecastle tunnel, and for electrification of the main line that runs through Stoke-on-Trent.

No proposals have been submitted to my right hon. Friend by the British Transport Commission for the electrification of the North Staffordshire loop line. The London Midland Region electrification scheme, which has been given general approval, includes the electrification of the main line through Stoke-on-Trent. I understand from the Commission that they are planning to by-pass the Harecastle tunnels.

Will the Parliamentary Secretary be good enough to convey to the British Transport Commission the ideas contained in the Question?

I think that the Commission is already aware of the hon. Member's views, because it was consulted about this Question.


asked the Minister of Transport what capital expenditure he has authorised or intends to authorise to modernise and electrify the line which connects Piccadilly, Manchester, main line with Ordsall Lane, linking up Exchange and Victoria Stations, and to provide for direct and indirect through running between the electrified lines at Piccadilly, Manchester, and Liverpool.

Does the Parliamentary Secretary agree with me that density of population in this area is the greatest in the country, if not in the world, and that revenue where modernisation has been applied has already increased by between 50 and 70 per cent.? In view of the urgent needs of people who render great service to the country's export trade, should not the Commission concentrate on this area to carry modernisation to the maximum extent?

The hon. Member asked my right hon. Friend what capital expenditure he had authorised in this connection, and I gave the answer which is that we have not authorised any. However, if the hon. Gentleman has a suggestion to make to the Commission about this electrification, the proper course is to approach the Commission direct.

Will the Parliamentary Secretary bear in mind that, because of Parliamentary rules, the Question had to be phrased in this way? It is due to a weakness imposed on us by someone who is no longer a Member but who is now in another place and against whom some of us took a strong stand at the time. We have been proved right. Will the hon. Gentleman ask the Commission to consider the ideas contained in the Question?

I am not altogether clear to what Member of another place the hon. Gentleman is referring. I think that that must have happened before my time.