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Goods-Only Railway Track

Volume 35: debated on Wednesday 19 January 1983

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport how many miles of goods-only railway track have been opened to passenger traffic since May 1979.

I understand from the Railways Board that 35 route miles of goods-only lines have been opened to passenger services since May 1979.

In view of those appalling figures, will the Minister take this opportunity to reject some of the more lunatic suggestions in the Serpell report? Does he agree with the principle of opening some lines for passenger traffic? If so, will not the opening of the Walsall to Rugeley line have enormous economic and social benefits?

Reopening the Walsall line is entirely a matter for the Railways Board and the local authority concerned, which has power to make grants to public transport operators. The Serpell report is important and its handling will be dealt with by my right hon. Friend in answer to a later question. There has been wild and deplorable speculation on aspects of the Serpell report, with which my right hon. Friend will deal.