HC Deb 06 December 1920 vol 135 cc1732-3

asked the Minister of Transport whether he has now received any reply from the various railway companies as to providing excursion trains for the forthcoming Christmas holidays: what is the decision of the companies, and whether it will be possible for the public to obtain cheap excursion tickets available for three or four days or longer; whether such tickets will be obtainable in advance; and whether any limit will be put upon the number of tickets to be issued to the public?


As the hon. Member is probably aware, it has been announced that special excursion trains for third-class passengers will be provided during the Christmas holidays between large centres of population at reduced fares of a single fare and a third for the double journey, with a minimum of 20s. The tickets will be available on these special trains for the outward journey before the holiday and for the return journey after the holiday. They will be procurable in advance. I have requested the railway companies to run within their resources the special trains whenever full loads can be obtained. Subject to these conditions, the issue of tickets will not be limited.


Is it the fact that the cheap tickets which it is proposed to issue only apply to journeys of over 100 miles, and will the right hon. Gentleman ask the companies to consider whether they cannot give some facilities to many towns which are under 100 miles distant from London and other large cities?


The limitation of the minimum of 20s. which has been mentioned approximately gives 100 miles' journey. The basis on which these new fares were given was, as the House knows, to increase the net revenue, and the companies advise me, and I have every reason to believe it is true, that short-distance travel will go on whether there are cheap fares or not.

Lieut.-Colonel GUINNESS

Are we to understand that these excursion facilities are on economic lines, and will not involve any charge on the public funds?


Neither I nor anyone else can guarantee that it will not involve a charge on the public funds. It is given on the advice that it will increase the net receipts of the railways.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say what justification there is for giving this advantage to one section of the population and withholding it from another on the ground of distance?


Economic justification.

76. Mr. COWAN

asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that in Scotland the New Year holidays will run from 30th December, 1920, to 10th January, 1921, inclusive; and whether he will secure for Scotland during that period cheap travelling facilities corresponding to those granted to England for the Christmas holiday period?


It has been specially pointed out to the railway companies that the provision of special trains at reduced fares should cover the New Year holiday period in Scotland.