HC Deb 07 April 1943 vol 388 cc604-5
33. Mr. Tinker

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War' Transport whether he is aware of the trouble and discomfort caused to third-class passengers who, on long journeys, have to stand in the corridors owing to lack of seating accommodation in third-class carriages, while at the same time there are empty seats in first-class compartments; and will he have notices put up to tell such passengers they are entitled to take such seats and also to instruct the railway officials to see this is carried out?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I am aware that passenger trains are in general heavily loaded, both in first and third-class carriages. As I have said in previous answers to a number of hon. Members, the railway staff have been given discretion to allow passengers with third-class tickets to occupy seats in first-class carriages without extra charge, when the third-class carriages are seriously overcrowded. In answer to the second part of my hon. Friend's Question, I think the present arrangements are now generally understood, and that, on the whole, they are working well.

Mr. Tinker

Is my hon. Friend aware that that is the reason I wanted the fact to be made more public? Whenever I travel I see the corridors full, and when I say to people, "Why not take a first-class seat?", I find they are afraid to do so because they might be ordered out of the first-class compartment.

Mr. Liddall

Is the Minister aware that on seven occasions during the last few months the hon. Member for Lincoln has had to travel from Grantham to King's Cross in a luggage van?

Mr. G. Griffiths

Was the hon. Member labelled and was the weight put on?

Mr. Tinker

Can the Minister give a more definite answer to my appeal?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I want to do what I can to make this known, but I am afraid the practical proposal made in the Question would raise great difficulties.

Mr. Molson

Will the Minister make it quite plain that the position he mentioned applies only when there are no first-class passengers who are standing?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I think the whole thing is pretty well understood, and I think the railway officers are administering it very well.