HC Deb 04 August 1943 vol 391 cc2283-4
34. Mr. Evelyn Walkden

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether the London and North Eastern Railway Company notified him of their intention to convert certain pre-war third-class coaches into first-class carriages; whether he is aware that a large amount of this type of rolling stock, with the addition of antimacassars and carpets, is now re-labelled as first-class and offered as accommodation for first-class passengers; and will he put an end to this practice?

Mr. Noel-Baker

The coaches to which my hon. Friend refers have only one door at each end of the corridor side. This makes it possible to provide better lighting in the black-out. When white lighting was authorised in 1940 for main line trains, the London and North Eastern Railway had not enough first-class coaches of this type to meet their needs; they therefore adapted a few new third-class coaches and used them as first-class accommodation. I do not think I should be justified in asking the company to reconvert these carriages to third-class, since to do so would involve using other first-class stock which could not be so adequately lighted.

Mr. Walkden

Is there any real reason to continue this sort of camouflage, which only encourages more and more people to try to obtain first-class privileges? Will the hon. Gentleman now consider advising the railways to abolish the sale of first-class tickets altogether? [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Why not?

Mr. Noel-Baker

That is a different question, but if the hon. Member will put it on the Paper, I will answer it.

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