Railway Closures

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th April 1970.

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Photo of Hon. Anthony Berry Hon. Anthony Berry , Southgate 12:00 am, 28th April 1970

asked the Minister of Transport what is the average rate of railway mileage closures for the five years 1960 to 1964 and for the five years 1965 to 1969.

Photo of Mr Albert Murray Mr Albert Murray , Gravesend

The totals for 1969 are not yet available. From 1960 to 1964 the annual average rate of total route mileage closure was 498; from 1965 to 1968 it was 886. For passenger route mileage alone the figures are 478 and 549 respectively.

Photo of Hon. Anthony Berry Hon. Anthony Berry , Southgate

Since the Minister, in his own words, always tells the whole story, does he agree that this is a vindication of the last Government's policy on the railways, and does he accept that the Prime Minister's words on this subject were as untrue as most of the other statements he has made?

Photo of Mr Albert Murray Mr Albert Murray , Gravesend

The present policy envisages 11,000 route miles, of which 8,000 will carry passengers. In each case the figure is about 3,000 more than would have resulted from the Beeching proposals. The system of grants for unremunerative passenger services ensures that socially necessary services are kept open. The Government are paying nearly £60 million a year to keep open socially necessary services.

Photo of Mr Kevin McNamara Mr Kevin McNamara , Kingston upon Hull North

Is my hon. Friend aware that the Government's action under the Transport Act in subsidising socially desirable but financially unremunerative railway lines has been greatly welcomed, particularly by my constituents in Hull, as it has kept open a very valuable line for them to get to the seaside and helps to build up the economy of the area?

Photo of Sir Arthur Harvey Sir Arthur Harvey , Macclesfield

Does the Minister recall what his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity said a few years ago about keeping railways open for the commuters? She merely said this to get votes. She diddled the public and others, and always has done.

Photo of Mr Albert Murray Mr Albert Murray , Gravesend

Under our policy we are keeping open some 3,000 more route miles than would have been kept under the policy of the previous Government.