Mr Albert Murray: I would like to thank the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor) and join him in the tribute he has paid to all those concerned, the Railways Board and the trade unions, for the way they have dealt with this particular problem. In general, the substance of these Regulations is the same as that of the Regulations under the 1962 Act, and in a sense they are more generous in...
Mr Albert Murray: I am grateful to the hon. Member for Horncastle (Mr. Tapsell) for raising this subject, which gives me the opportunity to explain my right hon. Friend's decision to consent to the Railways' Board's revised proposal to withdraw rail passenger services from a number of lines in East Lincolnshire. If I do not pick up all the points mentioned by him and his hon. Friend, I will write to him on the...
Mr Albert Murray: I do not wish to make the debate acrimonious, but I gave more than half the time to hon. Members opposite and I want to make a number of points. I have given the hon. Member certain assurances that if I do not answer all his points now, I will write to him. It is important that the history of this is seen, rather than just the day-to-day points which the hon. Member has made. The services...
Mr Albert Murray: I will say why not. If the Railways Board finds it profitable to accept this traffic—and we do not know that it will—the quantities so far mentioned have been of the order of one train load a day. Lines carrying infrequent freight services are maintained to very much lower standards than lines carrying passenger services. The difference in cost is so great that the presence of a freight...
Mr Albert Murray: My right hon. Friend has shown a great deal of interest in this matter. The mere fact that he is in his place tonight, at this late hour, listening to an Adjournment debate on the subject is proof of his interest. I was about to say that in respect of the Peterborough-Grimsby line the section between Boston and just south of Firsby Station is to be kept for the Skegness service. To have...
Mr Albert Murray: Discussions with the prospective financing groups are proceeding, but details must remain confidential at the present stage.
Mr Albert Murray: Negotiations are at present going on and when the Government are ready to make a statement on the whole matter they will do so.
Mr Albert Murray: I suggest that the hon. Gentleman looks up the word "negotiations" in the dictionary. He will find that it means talks. These talks are going on. We are not prepared, while negotiations are continuing, to make a statement.
Mr Albert Murray: No, Sir.
Mr Albert Murray: It is too early to say what the structure and level of tunnel tariffs might be. While the main responsibility for deciding these would rest with the future Anglo-French Tunnel Operating Authority, they would of course work within a framework of Governmental control.
Mr Albert Murray: Since the Channel Tunnel would not be opened for several years at least, it would be rather foolish to announce the tolls at this stage.
Mr Albert Murray: I do not think that I would like to comment on that point.
Mr Albert Murray: No, Sir.
Mr Albert Murray: This is a matter for the day-to-day management of British Rail. I should have thought, however, that the main concern of commuters was getting to and from their destinations as quickly as possible in the maximum comfort without necessarily having to listen to broadcasts which, after all, might be telling them about faster forms of travel.
Mr Albert Murray: Motorists are permitted to place an advance warning triangle on the road if they break down or have an accident. My right hon. Friend has no powers under existing legislation to require motorists to use these signs.
Mr Albert Murray: I am sure that the whole House is concerned about road accidents. We are at present studying, in connection with the suggestion made by the hon. Gentleman, the relative merits of the hazard warning devices which are at present permitted. We will be making a statement and, if necessary, we will seek powers.
Mr Albert Murray: I said that we are examining warning devices. There is absolutely nothing to stop a motorist from obtaining these devices if he desires so to do.
Mr Albert Murray: None, Sir. Completion of all contracts is expected towards the end of 1971.
Mr Albert Murray: As we have said on many occasions, Labour government works. Not only do we keep our promises; we improve on them.
Mr Albert Murray: The period varies widely according to the complexity of individual schemes, but under current procedures major motorway schemes are expected to take, on the average, about seven years from the start of feasibility study or initial preparation to completion.