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Reduced Services

Volume 649: debated on Wednesday 22 November 1961

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35.

asked the Minister of Transport what general direction he has given to the British Transport Commission to compensate wherever possible for the reduction of rail services in certain areas by the improvement of alternative rail services.

None, Sir. The Transport Users' Consultative Committees, when examining proposals for closure or major reduction of railway services, take into account alternative transport facilities. My right hon. Friend also has regard to these when considering the Committees' recommendations to him and when deciding whether to give the Commission a direction.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that it is not only a case of taking into account existing alternative services? For example, if the British Transport Commission persists in going ahead with its policy of closing the Great Central line to Nottingham and Sheffield, will the Minister at least tell the Commission to improve the Midland service to Nottingham, which is appallingly inadequate, compared, for example with the service from London to Bristol, and also improve the branch service from Nottingham to Mansfield and Worksop, for which diesel-electric trains were promised four years ago?

I answered the Question on the Order Paper. As regards the Great Central line, the hon. Gentleman may care to know that the Committee has now fixed 9th January as the date on which it will hear oral representations against these proposals. I suggest that the hon. Gentleman gets in touch with the Committee if he wishes to say something about it.

Will the Parliamentary Secretary ask his right hon. Friend to prepare a paper explaining why he rejected the main recommendation of the Select Committee, namely, that the case for contracting the railways had not been proved?

I am not clear to which Select Committee the right hon. Gentleman is referring. If he is referring to the Select Committee on Nationalised Industries, my recollection of that Report does not entirely coincide with what he has just said.

I advise the hon. Gentleman to read the relevant paragraphs again.