Trains (Driver-Guard Communication)

Oral Answers to Questions — Telephone Service – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th May 1954.

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Photo of Mr Hector Hughes Mr Hector Hughes , Aberdeen North 12:00 am, 12th May 1954

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he is aware that on British Railways there is no means provided by which the guard of a train can communicate with the engine driver of the same train without stopping the train; that it is likely to lead to accidents; and if he will give a general direction to the British Transport Commission that such means of communication are to be provided.

Photo of Mr Arthur Molson Mr Arthur Molson , High Peak

Although the only means by which the guard can attract the driver's attention is by applying the continuous brake, experience has not shown that anything further is required in the interests of safety.

Photo of Mr Hector Hughes Mr Hector Hughes , Aberdeen North

Is the Minister aware that this is likely to cause accidents, especially in the north of Scotland, where people who open and close the gates at level crossings have been dismissed; and, as a result, the engine fireman at each level crossing has to get down four times in order to allow the train to pass the level crossing and open and close the gates? Is he also aware that this is all due to the absence of the people who used to open the gates at level crossings, because there is no communication between the driver and the guard of the train?

Photo of Mr Arthur Molson Mr Arthur Molson , High Peak

I do not follow how this awkward predicament in the north of Scotland has any bearing on the question of communication between the driver and the guard.

Photo of Mr Hector Hughes Mr Hector Hughes , Aberdeen North

Perhaps the Minister is not aware that there are railways in the north of Scotland, and that we need some means of communication with the driver of the train; and that this kind of thing gives rise to accidents, because of the absence of the people who formerly opened the gates at these crossings?

Photo of Mr Arthur Molson Mr Arthur Molson , High Peak

I am not aware that any accident has happened in this way.