§ 52. Mr. GILBERT
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will consider whether the present difficulties in the railway services would be lessened by the complete withdrawal of first and second-class accommodation, and also Pullman cars, on all lines, and the use of one class only, third-class, on all railway services during the period of the War?
A large number of Pullman cars has already been withdrawn from service, and I doubt whether the withdrawal of all first and second-class carriages would help the situation. I am, however, bringing the hon. Gentleman's suggestion to the notice of the Railway Executive Committee.
§ 53. Mr. GILBERT
asked the President of the Board-of Trade if he is aware that many commercial travellers are allowed a fixed sum for travelling expenses and also that many travellers pay their own expenses, and that in these cases the 50 per cent, increase in railway fares is equivalent to a charge which in every case is in excess of the amount paid as Income Tax by these men and is a source of hardship to them; and if he can see his way to remit the 50 per cent, increase in the case of commercial travellers?
I would refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply given yesterday to the questions asked on this subject by the hon. Members for the Houghton-le-Spring and Harborough Divisions.
§ 54. Mr. WING
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the constant stoppage of the coal pits in Durham, especially in New Seaham and New Silksworth, owing to want of transport facilities; whether he is aware that the greater part of this output is for London, where it is badly needed; and if he will arrange railway facilities if shipping is scarce?
It is the fact that transport difficulties have recently occasioned interruptions of working in certain districts, including Durham. The existing pressure on the railways makes it a matter of the greatest difficulty to transfer to them any additional coastwise traffic, but the question to what extent deliveries to the London gasworks can be increased by this means is receiving attention.