asked the Minister of Transport (1) when he expects to restore the passenger trains between London and Durham that he suspended in order to run coal trains;
(2) why trains from King's Cross do not stop at Durham to set down passengers and thus prevent the long waiting at Darlington station?
asked the Minister of Transport (1) why passengers from King's Cross to Durham should have to change trains at Darlington and wait, as on Friday, 3rd May, one and a half hours for another train also on its way to Scotland;
(2) whether he is aware that the passenger train service between London and Durham is organised in a manner most inconvenient for passengers; and what steps he is taking to improve this service as soon as possible?
The present time-table provides three through trains daily between London and Durham in both directions, and there is an additional through train from London to Durham on Fridays. Two other daily services each way involve a change at York or Darlington. This is the best that can be provided under present conditions and, while the inconvenience occasioned by reduced services is regretted, hon. Members will appreciate the considerations which made the reduction necessary. I cannot say when the heavy demands for the transport of coal and other essentials will be sufficiently reduced to permit improvements to be made.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the boats in the docks are awaiting coal now, and is it necessary that it should be brought by rail? With regard to Question No. 17, is he aware that the last train for any soldier going on leave from the south of London is at one o'clock from here, and that when he gets to Darlington he has to wait an hour and a half for a connection to Durham; and is he also aware that many men, miners who work hard and are anxious to get home, have to wait for two hours for an omnibus and cannot get home at all before 5·35?
I should like to assure the hon. Member, with regard to the first point, that the Ministry of Transport is in touch with the Department of Mines and the Ministry of Shipping about the transport of coal generally. With regard to the second point, I will ask the Railway Executive Committee to look into it.
The Minister said a moment or two ago that he was prepared to consider anything, and will he consider this matter, for the reason that on some of the trains the passengers have to get out at Darlington and wait an hour; and that these trains go to Scotland and passengers have to get into another Scottish train which stops at Darlington, which shows that it is totally unnecessary for passengers to change trains at Darlington?