HC Deb 29 March 1927 vol 204 cc1046-8

asked the Postmaster-General (1) whether the substitution of the Holyhead-Kingstown route for the Stranraer-Larne route for the conveyance of mails to Northern Ireland will entail any extra charge on the Treasury; and, if so, what is the estimated amount;

(2) when the new postal service to Northern Ireland via Holyhead and Kingstown will commence; and what will be the saving in time in adopting the new route;

(3) what is the practical difficulty in the way of improving the mail service to Northern Ireland via Stranraer?

67. Brigadier-General CHARTERIS

asked the Postmaster-General whether the alteration of the London-Northern Ireland mail service from the Stranraer-Larne route to the Holyhead-Kingstown route will give an acceleration in the scheduled times of arrival at Belfast, and, if so, to what extent; and what are the practical difficulties which prevent or render impracticable the acceleration of the Stranraer-Larne route service?


asked the Postmaster-General (1) whether he can state the nature of the practical difficulties in the way of accelerating the Northern Ireland mail service via Stranraer;

(2) if he can indicate the date upon which the alteration of the Northern Ireland mail service from the Stranraer route to the Holyhead route is to take place;

(3) how much earlier mails will be delivered in Northern Ireland if the route is altered from Stranraer-Larne to Holyhead-Kingstown; and what is the anticipated saving in time of transit and financial expenditure?


I will answer these questions together. The Holyhead route is being reverted to at the request of the Government of Northern Ireland, as they found after a complete investigation of the matter with the railway company that the requisite acceleration of the Stranraer route was not practicable without heavy capital expenditure by the company upon reconstruction of the track. The change will probably take place in about a fortnight from now. The mails will be due in Belfast 20 minutes earlier than at present, assuming a punctual arrival by both routes. In the reverse direction, the correspondence will be despatched about an hour earlier but will fall into the first delivery in Central London instead of the second. As the mails for the greater part of Ulster are at present, and have always been, conveyed by the Holyhead-Kingstown route, 1 do not anticipate that the addition of the mails to and from Belfast and the surrounding district will have any appreciable effect on expenditure. The Post Office revenue will not be affected by the change.

Brigadier-General CHARTERIS

Can my right hon. Friend give an assurance that some mails, anyhow, will still pass from Stranraer to Lame from the North of Scotland, and that therefore the passenger service is not likely to be interfered with?


I could not quite say how the revisions will be effected, but I think my hon. and gallant Friend may take it as certain that mails from the North-East of England will continue to pass by the Stranraer and Larne route, and mails from Scotland mostly, as at present, will pass by Ardrossan.


Will my right hon. Friend say whether the Post Office have to pay way-leave to the Free State Government for carrying the mails through the Free State on their way to Northern Ireland; and, further, will he say whether these mails from and to Northern Ireland will be handled by British or Free State officials?


Can my right hon. Friend indicate whether the passenger service at present running between Stranraer and Larne will be affected?


Has the Postmaster-General considered the establishment of an air service here? He seems to have a fine chance of experiment in this case.

Lieut.-Colonel HOWARD-BURY

Will this cause a delay to the mails to Southern Ireland?


May I ask whether there is such a place as Kingstown?


As regards the question put by the hon. Member for West Belfast (Sir R. Lynn), I think I should ask him to give me notice of any question as to arrangements about way-leaves or as to how mails will be handled. As regards the question of an air service between England and Northern Ireland, that has been considered some time since, but as things are at present we certainly would not be able to undertake a large part of the traffic. As regards the passenger service, this is not a matter within the cognisance of the Post Office, but I have no reason to believe that any alteration will be made.


Is my right hon. Friend aware that, but for quite unnecessary delays at Carlisle, much more than 20 minutes could be saved in the transfer of London and Belfast mails, and will he not make a further attempt-to see that this unnecessary delay is done away with?


All these inquiries have been already made by the. Government of Northern Ireland from the railway company. They have discussed the matter exhaustively with the railway company, and it is at the request of the Government of Northern Ireland that the old arrangement of Kingstown and Holyhead has been reverted to.




Further questions ought to be put on the Paper.