HC Deb 04 October 1939 vol 351 cc1928-31
20. Mr. Dobbie

asked the Minister of Transport whether his attention has been called to the difficult circumstances under which railway signalmen and men employed in railway shunting yards have to work owing to the decreased lighting facilities, and that an increased number of fatal accidents have occurred thereby; and whether he will have an inquiry made with the object of increasing lighting facilities in signal cabins and shunting yards?

Captain Wallace

No cases of special difficulty regarding the lighting in signal boxes have so far been brought to my notice. As regards shunting yards, I am aware of the difficulties resulting from the existing lighting restrictions and I am actively exploring, with my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Air and the Minister for Home Security, the possibility of allowing some relaxation.

Mr. Dobbie

In view of the fact that the Minister has received no complaints in regard to the signalling situation, will he accept evidence from me on the lines which I have indicated, and will he cause inquiries to be made?

Captain Wallace

I should be delighted to consider any evidence which the hon. Member brings to my notice.

Sir William Davison

When the Minister is looking into this question of lighting, will he also look into the question of the lighting of the tunnel between Westminster Station and this House which is. in total darkness in the day time as well as at night?

21. Sir Granville Gibson

asked the Minister of Transport what steps he is proposing to take to minimise the loss and delay now being caused by the existing regulations relating to lighting in trains and on road vehicles; and whether he can make any relaxation of the regulations in order to facilitate travelling and prevent accidents?

25. Mr. Pethick-Lawrence

asked the Minister of Transport whether his attention has been drawn to the many dangers resulting from the nearly complete darkness in railway carriages at night; and whether he will take steps to improve the position?

36. Mr. Logan

asked the Minister of Transport what steps he intends to take to cover windows of trains from Liverpool to Euston on the London Midland and Scottish Railway line; and to give better lighting inside the carriages?

40. Major Milner

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will now modify the lighting restrictions on railway trains, in view of the fact that lights may be turned off immediately in case of necessity, or at least ensuring that carriages are adequately curtained on main line trains?

Captain Wallace

In collaboration with my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Air and the Minister of Home Security, experiments are at present being conducted with a view to ascertaining whether any relaxation of the existing restrictions on railway lighting is possible. In the meantime, the railway companies are fully alive to the importance of doing everything they can to promote the comfort of their passengers, and bulbs showing a blue light are being fitted in all trains. So far as lighting of road vehicles is concerned, I hope that the new mask for fitting to the headlamps of motor cars will be of material assistance to motorists during the hours of darkness.

Sir G. Gibson

Is my right hon. and gallant Friend aware of the fact — no doubt he is — that the blue light is absolutely useless except that one can see by it whether or not there are other passengers in the compartment; and is there any reason why there should not be better lighting in those compartments which are provided with efficient blinds?

Captain Wallace

One of the difficulties is that passengers cannot always be relied upon to keep the blinds drawn. As I have said, we are fully alive to the in convenience which is being caused.

Major Milner

Is it not the case that these conditions have now existed for over a month and that no improvement has been made; and can there be any objection to doing away with these restrictions in those cases where the lights could be turned off immediately by the guard or other official on the train?

Captain Wallace

That is one of the questions which we are carefully examining.

Major Milner

When may we expect a decision?

Sir W. Davison

When does the Minister expect the masks for lights on motor cars to be available for purchase?

Captain Wallace

Perhaps my hon. Friend would put that question down to the Minister for Home Security.

Lieut.-Colonel Acland-Troyte

Is the Minister aware that the glare from the engine really shows more light than would be shown from the carriages if the lights were on even if some blinds were not pulled down?

Mr. Garro Jones

Has the right hon. and gallant Gentleman had any report from the Royal Air Force as to sparks from electric trains completely nullifying the effects of the lighting restrictions?

Captain Wallace

I have not had a report on that subject, but I will look into it.

Sir Arthur Salter

In regard to road vehicles, has the right hon. and gallant Gentleman considered the possibility of using patches of luminous paint?

Captain Wallace

That has been considered, but there are difficulties. First of all, the supply of luminous paint is limited, and secondly I think the cost would be prohibitive.