I understand that the railways board will be testing prototypes of the class 140 lightweight diesel multiple unit and the rail bus in service throughout the summer.
I am sure that my hon. Friend is right. If we can develop a low-cost vehicle and build it efficiently, there is no reason why it cannot be successfully exported. There is considerable interest in it from other countries.
During the next 12 months British Railways will try out and experiment with both of those vehicles. I hope that we shall be able to organise a demonstration project that will aim to evaluate exactly what the hon. Gentleman wants to see.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that certain lines in Britain, for example, from Ashford to Lydd, must be kept open for goods traffic to cart nuclear waste from power stations? Is not that a good example of where experiments could take place? Are British Railways considering that possibility, and will he encourage that?
My hon. Friend the Member for Devon, North (Mr. Speller) has a Bill before the House which may help in that area. On the general principle of my hon. Friend's question, I am sure that it is right to concentrate on seeking to reduce the operating costs of rural lines rather than for ever being concerned with cutting off the lines. We have turned our back on that policy. We are trying to achieve a cost-effective railway system and a rural railway system.