HC Deb 14 March 1945 vol 409 cc233-4
65. Mr. Shinwell

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport if he has considered the report of his officer who investigated the three recent cases of railway locomotive boiler explosions which occurred in this country and resulted in death and injury to the footplatemen; why the recommendation made in the inspector's report, under date of 21st January, 1944, recommending that an improved type of safety lead plug should be fitted with the least delay, had not been so fitted by August last, with the result that another driver and fireman received fatal injuries; and who was responsible for this serious delay.

Mr. Nod-Baker

When the inspecting officer's report on the accident at Honey-bourne was received on 21st January, 1944, immediate steps were taken to secure the production of the improved fusible plugs which he recommended. Unfortunately, not enough of these plugs had been received by the end of August to equip all the smaller engine depots of the London and North-Eastern Railway, and in consequence the engine involved in the accident at Sudbury Hill had not been so equipped. I should add that the primary cause of the accident was the driver's failure to keep sufficient water in the boiler.

Mr. Shinwell

Without accepting the serious implication conveyed in the last part of the answer, may I ask whether the railway companies are now providing sufficient safety plugs in order to avoid accidents?

Mr. Noel-Baker

It was not the railway companies. They have to get them from elsewhere. They are now provided for all American locomtives, the British locomotives had them already.

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