Sir John Reith: I presume my hon. and gallant Friend has in mind a particular series of signs erected in Greater London. These signs have not been covered because they might have been of any service to the enemy. They have been provided for a special purpose, and the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis has issued instructions that, in order to avoid confusion, they should be temporarily covered until...
Sir John Reith: Yes, Sir. Allegations have been made, and if any specific cases are given me, they will be investigated. The Government would take a serious view of any attempt at exploitation, and I am glad to say that the National Association of Furniture Warehousemen and Removers have offered to co-operate in preventing it.
Sir John Reith: If the hon. Member will furnish me with those particulars, I shall be very glad to investigate the case.
Sir John Reith: That is one of the methods by which control might be exercised.
Sir John Reith: My Department has considered this matter with the Railway Executive Committee. Any superfluous but still serviceable rails are used in the construction of sidings and other emergency works needed for the war. Unserviceable rails are handed over to the Iron and Steel Control.
Sir John Reith: I have consulted the Railway Executive Committee on this suggestion. They advise that, as a general rule, third class travel cannot be permitted in first class compartments, as the railway companies are bound to provide first class accommodation for officers of His Majesty's Forces and others holding first class tickets, and this applies not only at terminals but at intermediate stopping...
Sir John Reith: I will draw the attention of the Railway Executive Committee to what has been said in this House; secondly, I will ask them to advise their operating staff to exercise the latitude referred to; and, thirdly, I will ask them to give me a report in a week or two in the light of experience.
Sir John Reith: Yes, Sir. The report is being published, and copies will be available at the Vote Office to-day. The committee has recommended increases in certain of the Board's road service fares, to produce a sum equal to about 10 per cent. of the receipts from those services, and also in some corresponding Board railway fares. The chief increase on the road services, and the only increase on the...
Sir John Reith: If my right hon. Friend will read the report, which is available, I think he will find that the committee gave full consideration to just such points as that which he has mentioned.
Sir John Reith: A drastic reduction in passenger services is still necessary on the London and North Eastern Railway. It is impossible to increase the weight of their three night trains by the addition of another coach, but if the hon. Member will inform me whether he has in mind travellers to Aberdeen or Edinburgh or Newcastle, I will go into the matter further with the Railway Executive Committee.
Sir John Reith: Double stops, due to insufficient length of platforms, are not required at the more important stations. In existing circumstances, I do not think the expenditure of time and material involved to meet what is, after all, a temporary need, would be justified.
Sir John Reith: I am advised by the Railway Executive Committee that first-class accommodation is now being used to such an extent that its withdrawal would not appreciably increase the accommodation available for passengers as a whole.
Sir John Reith: Alternative means of exit are already available at those railway stations where entrance and egress are controlled by passimeters, and in case of emergency passengers would be directed thereto.
Sir John Reith: Yes, Sir.
Sir John Reith: The line to which my hon. Friend refers is equipped only for minerals and has never been used for passenger traffic. Much labour and material would be required to equip it for passenger use. Inquiries made show that the present cost of travel is not so high as suggested, and that there would be no appreciable saving in cost or time if the loop-line were available.
Sir John Reith: It is not a case of reopening the loop-line. In fact, that line has not hitherto been used for passenger traffic. The Regional Transport Commissioner is in touch with local representatives of the Ministry of Labour on the question of the bus services in the district mentioned.
Sir John Reith: I have a detailed map and I will be glad to discuss with the hon. Member alternative methods of solving the problem if he will come and see me afterwards.
Sir John Reith: The railways are already retaining or re-employing men who have passed the normal retiring age if their services are required and they are physically fit and efficient.
Sir John Reith: I will look into that point, and if consultations have not taken place they will take place.
Sir John Reith: Highway authorities have been directed that road works are to be closed down at the nearest stage consistent with safety, except in the case of military or other urgent public need. Many roads carrying heavy and abnormal war traffic require more than ordinary maintenance, and whether any particular work is necessary can only be decided on careful examination in each case. This is given by...