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Great Central Line

Volume 645: debated on Monday 2 October 1961

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asked the Minister of Transport when, and for what purposes, he approved the cost of major works on the Great Central line between Woodford Halse and Rugby at a cost of over £250,000.

I am informed that no works requiring my approval have been carried out on this section of the Great Central line.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that for years now this stretch of line has been closed on Sundays and when one writes to the various officials concerned to find out why, one receives quite different replies? Is he aware that passengers who use this line are under the impression, and they have great evidence for it, that the work is not necessary and that the line is being closed to try to prove to the public that there are no passengers on it and, therefore, it can be closed altogether? Is he aware that in this holiday period the railway officials have chosen to close the line, causing great inconvenience at this time to the travelling public, for a succession of about ten Sundays, but that the railway workers cannot tell us what is being done? Is it not time that there was an investigation into this matter?

I am informed that the line has two tracks and that the work being carried out is for maintenance and is not a major operation. When a ballast train is occupying one track it is necessary to close the line and substitute a bus service. I am informed that Sunday closing is now less frequent.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is no evidence that any work is being done at all on the line? Is he aware that the line is closed so frequently that the track could have been taken up and put down again a dozen times?

The Commission has spent about £200,000 in the last four years in maintenance work.