Orders of the Day — LIVERPOOL OVERHEAD RAILWAY BILL [Lords] (By Order)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4th July 1956.

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Photo of Mr Kenneth Thompson Mr Kenneth Thompson , Liverpool, Walton 12:00 am, 4th July 1956

The hon. Lady has made one speech, and if she will allow me to make my own I will deal with the point she makes.

That is the simple position, which is agreed by all those who are engaged in this present discussion on what is to be the future of the Liverpool overhead railway. If the railway, in its lush years, whenever they were—it has averaged 1 per cent. dividends, which gives the House an idea when they were—had earned enough money to encourage and enable those who were its proprietors to maintain the physical structure and the staging in a proper condition, and to have the rolling stock continually renewed to bring it into line with modern ideas of what an overhead railway ought to be—if that had happened, we should not be here discussing it today.

The simple fact is that the company has never been able to set aside enough money to maintain the staging of the overhead railway in a proper condition or to renew the rolling stock in use upon that railway. That is clear, and if there are any hon. Members in this House who have not recently travelled on the Liverpool overhead railway, or have not recently had an opportunity of going to a museum to see early Victorian rolling stock, they should come to Liverpool and have a look at the overhead railway.

In my opinion, the Liverpool overhead railway performs a very important function in the City of Liverpool, and its removal will create difficulties in transporting the dockers along the line of docks on the eastern bank of the River Mersey. There is no doubt about that at all. I do not agree with the contention in the statement issued by the Liverpool Corporation in opposition to this Bill that the difficulties are insuperable. I certainly do not agree with the hon. Lady the Member for Liverpool, Exchange (Mrs. Braddock) that a national crisis is likely to arise if this railway ceases to operate.