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Victoria Line Underground

Volume 649: debated on Wednesday 22 November 1961

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8.

asked the Minister of Transport what reply he has made to the letter from the Edmonton Borough Council about the proposed Victoria Line underground railway.

I informed the council that its views had been noted, and invited its attention to the reason I gave for deferring a decision on this project in my reply to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) on 26th July last.

Is not the Minister aware that this long-recommended line is not only very badly needed on social grounds but that it would make a substantial contribution to the economy of London, by reducing traffic congestion and enabling traffic to be speeded up? Is it not time that the Government paid attention to the planning of transport in the London area?

This must be considered among all the other projects which the railways wish to undertake.

The Minister has said that the plans for this have been in his Department for a considerable time. Public opinion seems to be in favour of this and the Report of the British Transport Commission for 1960 indicated that if the Minister gave consent, tenders could be let for this work within one month. Will the right hon. Gentleman expedite a decision and so ease the traffic jams which are so acute in this area?

The hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, West (Mr. Popplewell) made an interjection in yesterday's debate and said that an awful lot of money had been spent by the B.T.C. since 1955 when the White Paper on capital expenditure was prepared. That is true, but this has not been one of the projects it selected for expenditure.

Is it not true that this line, which on the face of it seems to be uneconomic, could be made to pay if the fares were slightly above the average for London and, on this basis, would not this be worth doing because of the crowds who want to travel from the north-east to the south-west and vice versa? Will the Minister consider this?