(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.
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?
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?
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.