§ 18. Mr. HARTLAND
asked the Minister of Transport what steps have been taken up to date by the railway companies on the recommendation made by the Royal Commission on Transport to the effect that all suburban railway services should be electrified?
§ Mr. PYBUS
The railway companies have stated in connection with the recommendation referred to, that in the progress which has been and is being made by them in this matter they think it important to proceed on the basis of the individual examination of particular problems. They point out that the case for suburban electrification so far as the railway companies are concerned must turn upon the remuneration they can expect to receive from the capital expenditure involved, and that in this connection the companies have to bear in mind their experience that traffic developed by heavy capital outlay on electrification has been in some instances so affected by road competition as to deprive them of reasonable remuneration for their expenditure. The main line railway companies add that fears of this character will, in the case of London suburban traffic, be largely removed as regards further losses of traffic if the London Passenger Transport Bill should become law, but that in other suburban areas the fact of road competition must continue to discourage the expenditure of capital upon electrification.
I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT a copy of the whole of the observations made by the railway companies on this point.
§ Following are the observations:
§ EXTRACT FROM LETTER RECEIVED FROM THE RAILWAY COMPANIES' ASSOCIATION DATED 30TH OCTOBER, 1931.
That all suburban services should be, electrified (Para, (xiv)).Considerable progress has been, and is being, made by the railway companies in the matter of suburban electrification. They have, however, proceeded, and think it important still to proceed, on the basis of individual examination of particular problems rather than on the basis of a sweeping assertion such as that put forward by the Royal Commission.The case for suburban electrification, so far as the railway companies are concerned, must turn upon the remuneration they can expect to receive from the capital expenditure involved. This remuneration in turn 835 depends upon an intensification of the service, and a consequent increase in the number of passengers carried and the revenue paid by them. The possibility of such intensification together with the probability of an increase in the number of passengers carried and of the revenue earned, must vary in individual eases, and must be the subject of careful study before any railway company can see its way to commit itself to expenditure of this character. In this connection the railway companies have to bear in mind the activities of road competitors and their experience that traffic developed by heavy capital outlay on electrification schemes has been, in some instances, so affected by such competition— assisted as the railway companies submit by National and Local Funds—as to deprive the railway companies of reasonable remuneration for their expenditure.Fears of this character will, in the case of London suburban traffic, be largely removed as regards further losses of traffic if the London Transport Bill at present before the Houses of Parliament should receive the Royal Assent. In other suburban areas, however, the fact of road competition must continue, to discourage the expenditure of capital upon electrification, and the reality of such competition has been abundantly shown in the diversion of traffic from areas where electrification was already an accomplished fact.The railway companies will continue to examine the question of suburban electrification with the greatest care, but they must continue to do so on the basis of individual proposals, and no generalisation has any practical value.
§ 19. Major NATHAN
asked the Minister of Transport whether he can state the position as to the projected electric railway from Liverpool Street, via Bethnal Green, to Ilford and beyond?
§ Mr. PYBUS
My Department was informed last summer by the London and North Eastern Railway Company that they were actively considering the question of such developments at Liverpool Street Station and in the former Great Eastern Railway area, and that in the event of the London Passenger Transport Bill becoming law it was anticipated that a scheme would be ready for submission to the Standing Joint Committee of the proposed Transport Board and the amalgamated railway companies, which would be set up under the Bill to consider such proposals affecting their joint interests.