Improvements

Oral Answers to Questions — Railways – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd April 1958.

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Photo of Sir Richard Pilkington Sir Richard Pilkington , Poole 12:00 am, 2nd April 1958

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what financial outlay he has sanctioned for railway improvements this year.

Photo of Mr Harold Watkinson Mr Harold Watkinson , Woking

I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for The Hartlepools (Mr. D. Jones) on 13th November last.

Photo of Sir Richard Pilkington Sir Richard Pilkington , Poole

Is any further expenditure likely to result in an improvement in the punctuality of trains? Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is a very widespread feeling that the punctuality of the nationalised British Railways is very much worse than on the railways before the war when they were under private enterprise? Can he confirm that?

Photo of Mr Harold Watkinson Mr Harold Watkinson , Woking

Perhaps my hon. Friend has noticed the very large order recently placed for the new British Deltic locomotives by British Railways. We must look in the acceleration of the modernisation plan for increased speeds and increased punctuality. It is, therefore, to modernisation that one must look for improvements, and not take too many glances at the past.

Photo of Mr Ernest Davies Mr Ernest Davies , Enfield East

Is not the modernisation programme being retarded by the Minister's action in restricting the amount of capital investment for the British Transport Commission this year to £145 million? Has he any evidence at all of a deterioration in punctuality to which his hon. and gallant Friend referred? Is it not a fact that figures have been published showing a steady improvement in the punctuality of the railways under nationalisation?

Photo of Mr Harold Watkinson Mr Harold Watkinson , Woking

There is a Question about modernisation later on the Order Paper.