asked the Minister of Transport why, on 7th October, the departure of the 8.16 a.m. train from Bedford to London was incorrectly announced as 8.11 a.m., and it was 50 minutes late arriving at St. Pancras; why, on 8th and 9th October, the 5.32 p.m. train from London to Bedford was 17 minutes and 33 minutes late, respectively; and whether he will investigate these irregularities with a view to improving the London—Bedford service.
My information does not agree in all respects with the statements contained in this Question. As the answer necessarily involves considerable detail, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
Seeing that the hon. Member is so credibly informed on the workings of the 5.32 p.m., may we hope that it is not correct that this is the train which the hon. Member uses when he leaves this House?
May I point out that my information comes from regular passengers, and that I was not a passenger myself on these occasions, and will the Minister look into the question of the new trains which have been put on, as they are very often far too short and people are crammed into the corridors for the journey?
After the current timetables had gone to press it was found necessary for the 8.16 a.m. train from Bedford to St. Pancras to stop at Flitwick; it was therefore brought forward to 8.11 a.m. and the blackboard notices and sheet timetables displayed at Bedford station on 7th October were therefore correct. On 7th October this train was 13 minutes late at St. Pancras and not 50 minutes. On 8th October it was 52 minutes late, and this delay was due to late running of the overnight express trains from Glasgow and Edinburgh to St. Pancras owing to fog in the Leeds and Sheffield areas. On 8th and 9th October the 5.32 p.m. train from St. Pancras to Bedford was 14 and 12 minutes late respectively and not 17 and 33 minutes. The delay on 8th October was a result of locomotive trouble on the 4.35 p.m. train from St. Pancras to Bedford, while on 9th October delay was due to loss of five minutes at Sandridge following late running of the 5.17 p.m. train from St. Pancras and a further loss due to the arrival of the 4.35 p.m. train at Bedford South nine minutes late. The running of these trains is being watched with a view to improvement.