§ 30. Mr. Ellis Smith
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport if he will arrange for railway servants to give priority in service to women with children under five years of age, invalids, injured Service men and women; and that they shall have seats reserved for them on long distance trains.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport (Mr. Noel-Baker)
I have every sympathy with my hon. Friend's desire to reduce the hardships of railway travel for women with young children, invalids and injured Service men and women. As I hope my hon. Friend will agree, the railway staff already do whatever they can to help those passengers who appear to need their help most, and I doubt, therefore, if any formal instruction is required. The railway companies already have authority to reserve seats for invalids and disabled ex-Servicemen and women who produce a medical certificate.
§ Mr. Smith
Seeing that we have been fighting to preserve democracy, should not a few instalments of democracy of the kind suggested in the Question be adopted in this case; and, in view of the fact that porters look for substantial tips, will the right hon. Gentleman reconsider his decision, in order that an instruction of this kind may be given?
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
With all respect to my hon. Friend I must say that I think that the railway staff are very good in this matter, and if there are exceptions I 1347 do not think that they would be put right by formal instructions.
§ 31. Mr. Ellis Smith
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport the number of seats that are available on the average on the Manchester-Euston 9.52 a.m and 2.15 p.m. trains when they arrive at Stoke-on-Trent; and can he arrange for additional coaches to be put on at this station when required.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
During the last week in October, the average numbers of seats available on the 9.52 from Manchester When it arrived at Stoke-on-Trent were as follow: First class 31; Third class 80. On its departure, the average numbers were 11 and 17. I regret that I cannot give my hon. Friend any comparable figures for the 2.15 p.m. from Manchester. On certain days when the traffic is particularly heavy, however, a relief train is run, which leaves Manchester at 2 o'clock. I regret that additional coaches could not be added to either train at Stoke, for the reason that both trains are already up to the maximum weight which the locomotives can pull.