HC Deb 08 July 1946 vol 425 cc10-3
3. Viscount Hinchingbrooke

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will now make a statement on the introduction of cheap day excursion railway fares for organised parties and single persons.

31. Mr. A. Edward Davies

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will make a statement regarding the restoration of cheap railway fare facilities.

Mr. Barnes

With the permission of the House, I will make a statement at the end of Question time in reply to Questions. No. 3 and No. 31.


Mr. Barnes

In present circumstances, while the railway companies are unable to provide more than 80 per cent. of their prewar services, cheap fare facilities cannot be fully restored but I am glad to say that I am now able, as a start, to authorise the main line railway companies to restore, with effect from 1st August, cheap day tickets at single journey rates in the following cases:

(1) On the main line companies' trains from stations within the London Passenger Pool area to main line London termini, which covers a radius of about 30 miles from the centre of London. As from 1st August cheap tickets will be available from most stations within the area on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays by trains leaving the issuing stations after 9.30 a.m. and -for return by any trains on the same day, except those leaving London during the peak hours, 4.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.

(2) To provincial towns and cities with populations of about 50,000 or over, from stations within a radius of about 20 miles. As from 1st August, these facilities will be available from a large number of stations throughout the country on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Local restrictions as to availability may have to be imposed for traffic reasons.

(3) To the larger provincial market towns and small market towns in rural areas. As from 1st August tickets will be available on one day a week from a large number of stations throughout the country, but where market day falls on Saturday, local restrictions may have to be imposed.

(4) To seaside resorts and other centres of attraction. During August and subsequently, advertised day excursion facilities will be made available where practicable on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

I am also able to give some good news about outings for children's and adult parties.

(1) Juveniles under the age of 18 in parties of not less than 8. As from 1st August day return tickets at single fare will be available on the main line railways on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays by prior arrangement with the Company concerned. Juveniles under the age of 16 will be charged half fare.

(2) For organised parties of not less than the equivalent of 300 adults guaranteed day excursion tickets at single fare for the return journey will be available from 7th October on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays by prior arrangement with the Company concerned.

Viscount Hinchinbrooke

In view of the fact that the railway services appear to continue to be moderately congested, is the right hon. Gentleman prepared to put on additional rolling stock to cater for these increased facilities which he has now announced?

Mr. Barnes

As a matter of fact, facilities of this kind are coming along because the railway companies are steadily ex- panding their services, which include rolling stock. Of course, that does impose a limit, and that is why I said that at this stage they cannot be fully restored.

Mr. A. Edward Davies

Is the Minister aware that the announcement he has just made will be most welcome in the country, that it can be operated to some extent without additions to the present facilities, especially in mid-week when many trains are lightly loaded in the provinces, and that school children in particular will welcome the opportunity or going to the seaside?

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

The right hon. Gentleman mentioned London, and also provincial cities. Has he no arrangements for Scotland?

Mr. Barnes

My statement, of course, covers Scotland.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

On a point of Order. May I ask why Edinburgh or other parts of Scotland are described as provinces?

Mr. Barnes

I must apologise. I stated that without reflection. It is a question of figures. I mentioned cities with 50,000 population or more. Scottish towns of that population, and Scottish market towns, all come within the description.

Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether it will be possible to resume any prewar weekend facilities in the near future?

Mr. Barnes

Not at the moment, because weekend traffic is so heavy that we cannot possibly add to it at the moment. It will follow on as rapidly as possible

Mr. George Wallace

Will the Minister also consider Sunday when he is considering these facilities, in order to allow the poor father to be reunited with his children for a family party now and again?

Mr. Barnes

As I indicated, weekend traffic is too heavy at the moment to consider fathers in that respect.

Mr. Keeling

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether "centres of attraction" include places where demonstrations are taking place against the Government?

Mr. Shurmer

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman why it was not possible to extend these facilities to period excursion tickets for families visiting the seaside, who will find it very hard in view of the increased fare?

Mr. Barnes

For the reasons I have stated, traffic is too heavy on that type of journey to encourage it still further by concessions.

Mr. Hector Hughes

The position is not clear. Do these facilities and reductions apply to Scotland in the same way as to the rest of the country?

Mr. Barnes

Definitely, yes.

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