HC Deb 02 August 1944 vol 402 cc1369-71
26. Captain Plugge

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport how many people caught in the crush at Paddington Station on Saturday, 29th July, were taken to hospital or given first aid by the personnel of the ambulances of St. John.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Twenty people who fainted were taken to the Great Western Railway Company's first-aid posts in Paddington Station. I have no information about the number of people treated by Units of the Order of St. John or by other organisations.

Captain Plugge

Will the Minister take all the necessary steps to ensure that such art unprecedented occurrence does not take place again?

Sir T. Moore

Will it be safe for Members of Parliament to try to get a short holiday next Saturday?

Mr. Mack

Is not the solution not to issue more railway tickets than the capacity of the trains can take?

Mr. Noel-Baker

It is a very difficult problem but the railways do what they can in the matter.

27. Captain Plugge

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport if his attention has been drawn to the chaos at Paddington Station on Saturday, 29th July; if he was informed of the free ticket issue to evacuees from the London area and of the lifting of the ban on visiting defended areas; and what steps he had taken to provide trains for the increased number of travellers resulting from these Orders.

Mr. Noel-Baker

My Noble Friend has, of course, been primarily responsible at all stages for the arrangements made for the railway transport of people who desire to leave London and other vulnerable areas during the attacks by flying bombs. Some weeks ago, he authorised the running of relief trains for this purpose, when they are required. Sixteen relief trains were run from Paddington on Saturday last.

Captain Plugge

Is the Minister aware that expectant mothers had to stand up in the corridor for as much as eight hours? Will he take the necessary steps to see that those incidents do not recur and that British citizens are not treated as cattle?

Mr. Noel-Baker

It would be much better if expectant mothers left London under the organised evacuation scheme, in which case they would go in trains where they would have conditions suitable to their requirements.