Proposed Victoria Tube

Oral Answers to Questions — Railways – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th December 1957.

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Photo of Sir Austen Albu Sir Austen Albu , Edmonton 12:00 am, 18th December 1957

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation when it is proposed to start the construction of the new Victoria tube linking North-East London with Victoria and South-West London, Route C.

Photo of Sir Richard Nugent Sir Richard Nugent , Guildford

Because the project raises difficult financial problems and the capital which is available to the British Transport Commission can be more advantageously used for their modernisation programme, no decision has yet been taken.

Photo of Sir Austen Albu Sir Austen Albu , Edmonton

Does not the Minister agree with the recent remarks of the Chairman of the Commission, that the only way to solve the traffic problem of London is to construct this new tube, and would it not provide a very considerable economic saving in the City of London and the Greater London area as a whole if this tube were constructed? Further, is it not the fact that these tubes cannot be constructed without capital subsidy from the Government?

Photo of Sir Richard Nugent Sir Richard Nugent , Guildford

We are making very large capital sums available to the Commission to proceed with its modernisation. This scheme would cost an additional £55½ million, and it is computed to make a loss in any event. Therefore, it has to take its turn with other matters which may have greater priority.

Photo of Mr Ernest Davies Mr Ernest Davies , Enfield East

Will the Minister look at this with a little more imagination? Is it not a fact that it would bring considerably more relief to the centre of London than the construction of new roads, and would it not, therefore, be quite reasonable to consider financing this scheme in the same way as roads are financed and built, then handing the tube over to the London Transport Executive to operate?

Photo of Sir Richard Nugent Sir Richard Nugent , Guildford

I agree that it would assist in moving passengers about in London, but we must look at it in the context of what would be the greater benefit which we should derive from either this scheme or one of the other railway modernisation schemes all about the country.