HC Deb 22 June 1938 vol 337 cc1076-7
69. Mr. Dobbie

asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that, although there is no apparatus at Felling signal box, on the London and North Eastern Railway, to give the signalmen a visible reminder of the order in which trains are approaching, the train register and signal lads have been withdrawn; and whether, in the interests of safe working, he will press the company to reintroduce both the train register and signal lads in this case?

Mr. Burgin

This matter had already been brought to my attention and the circumstances have been carefully considered. Having regard to the conditions which obtain at Felling in relation to those elsewhere, I do not feel that I should be justified in pressing the railway company to re-introduce the train register and restore the signal lads. The railway company are primarily responsible for safety in operation and for the adequacy of their staff. The company have now had over two years' experience of working at the Felling box without the train register book. No difficulty has been experienced during that period, and in the company's view this has confirmed the opinion that the present staffing arrangements are adequate.

Mr. Dobbie

In view of the concentration of responsibilities forced on the signalman by the withdrawal of the signal lads, and the lack of safety arrangements to guarantee the maximum amount of safety to the general public, will the right hon. Gentleman look further into this matter?

Mr. Burgin

I will certainly keep it closely under review. The question of safety is very prominent in my mind, and also in the minds of the railway management, and I think the attention drawn to this matter by the question should ensure that complete precautions will be taken at this signal box.