Oral Answers to Questions — Holiday Trains.

– in the House of Commons on 15th July 1942.

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Photo of Mr Arthur Molson Mr Arthur Molson , High Peak

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether he authorised special excursion trains to Blackpool for wakes weeks; and, if so, why this departure was made from the policy of encouraging workers to spend their holidays at home?

Photo of Sir John Mellor Sir John Mellor , Tamworth

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport (1) when the decision was reached to permit additional passenger trains for holiday purposes; and when it was published;

(2) whether the limitation, imposed on additional and duplicated trains to the number run last year, applies to summer passenger trains generally or only to those run in connection with local holidays?

Sir A. Salter:

Railways are permitted to run additional trains if required for their passenger traffic, provided that no such train is to run if it interferes with freight traffic. In the absence of an individual permit system, which would involve very great labour as well as inconvenience to the public, there is no way of distinguishing between those on holiday and those on essential business, and many of the latter would be left behind unless this measure of discretion were given to the Companies. These instructions were given when the summer time-table was being settled towards the end of April and did not call for publication. The case of wakes weeks and town holidays is somewhat different. Here there is a demand over a limited period consisting almost wholly of holiday travel over short distances. My Noble Friend has directed that in no case shall the trains run on these occasions exceed those of last year.

Photo of Mr Rhys Davies Mr Rhys Davies , Westhoughton

How would the right hon. Member like to spend a week's holiday in Manchester or Oldham when Blackpool is only 40 miles away?

Sir A. Salter:

That Question seems to be one that should be addressed to my questioner rather than to me.

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

Who wants to spend a holiday at Blackpool?

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport the number of passenger trains on the railways that have been duplicated during the last three months; and the number of additional passenger trains put on during the like period?

Photo of Sir John Mellor Sir John Mellor , Tamworth

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether he can give an estimate of the additional amount of coal which will be consumed as a result of the additional and duplicated passenger trains permitted to be run to and from holiday resorts during the summer months?

Sir A. Salter:

I am asking the Railway Executive Committee what information they can furnish on these two points, and will communicate with my hon. Friends.

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

Does not my right hon. Friend think that it is really ludicrous to display advertisements issued with the intention of reducing passenger traffic and then allow duplicated trains to fee run up and down the country for all kinds of unnecessary purposes, instead of keeping the trains entirely for necessary war purposes? Will he put an end to this system of window dressing by his Department?

Sir A. Salter:

I hope that I shall be able to give full information on this matter when I have had the answers to the inquiries which I have said I am making, but I really think the hon. and gallant Member has exaggerated the scale on which additional trains are being provided.

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

Will the right hon. Gentleman, as a matter of policy, take steps to insist that no additional pleasure trains are run anywhere on the railways so long as the transport situation remains as it is?

Photo of Mr George Griffiths Mr George Griffiths , Hemsworth

Do not tell them anything of the kind.

Photo of Sir John Mellor Sir John Mellor , Tamworth

If the Government practised further economies, would not their preaching be more convincing?

Sir A. Salter:

I think the hon. Member would perhaps take a different view of this matter if he saw the extraordinarily small amount of coal, for example—that was the Question raised the other day—which is used by these additional facilities. As I have said, I am seeking further information, and I think that a discussion on this subject would be more profitable when I have received it than it would be at this moment.

Photo of Mr Campbell Stephen Mr Campbell Stephen , Glasgow Camlachie

Will the Minister not attach undue importance to those "killjoys" who are trying to take away these additional facilities?