HC Deb 08 March 1944 vol 397 cc2038-9
35. Mr. W. H Green

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport if he will consider, in consultation with the railway executives, the possibility of steps being taken to ensure that the names of railway stations are announced either by loud-speaker or otherwise, during periods of black-out, when trains arrive at station platforms.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport (Mr. Noel-Baker)

As my hon. Friend is, no doubt, aware, loud-speakers have been installed at the more important stations and junctions throughout the country, and the railway companies add to the number, when they can obtain the equipment and the skilled labour which are required. Elsewhere, the staff are constantly reminded that they must call out the names of the station on the arrival of every train, and checks are made at frequent intervals to ensure that this instruction is carried out.

Mr. Green

Is my hon. Friend aware that at less important stations, where perhaps the greatest difficulty arises, names are not announced? Is he also aware that countless people who are compelled to travel during the black-out feel that a little common sense would soon remove the grievance from which they suffer?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I am afraid that at most of the smaller stations loud-speakers would require extra staff, which we have not got. We endeavour to get the porters to call out the names. If my hon. Friend would give me examples of places where it is not done, I will have inquiries made.

Mr. Thorne

Is my hon. Friend aware that on the District Railway the porters do not in all cases call out the names of the stations?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I will look into that.

Viscount Hinchinģbrooke

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this does not apply only to the black-out? Frequently even in daylight it is impossible to read the names of country stations, and the railway staff should be encouraged to call them out.

Mr. Granville

Is it not possible to have larger lettering?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Larger lettering has, in fact, already been authorised.

Mr. Gallacher

Will the hon. Gentleman see that the attendants on the railways speak a little more loudly than Members on the Front Bench?

Mr. Shinwell

Is it not the case that frequently at wayside stations, when the porter announces the names you do not know what he is talking about?

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