HC Deb 18 June 1951 vol 489 cc27-8
36. Mr. Osborne

asked the Minister of Transport how much goods traffic was carried by the British Railways for the first six months of 1935, 1936, 1937 and 1938; and how many people were employed by British Railways in these years.

Mr. Barnes

As the answer involves a number of figures I will, with permission. circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Osborne

Why it is that the railways were not able to carry the traffic this year without having to interfere with passenger transport when, pre-war, they could do that with less staff and carry more traffic?

Mr. Barnes

I would ask the hon. Gentleman to look at the figures.

Mr. Poole

Is it not also rather an abuse of Question time for an hon. Member to put down a Question asking for information which was freely available if he cared to take the time to look for it?

Following is the answer:

Figures of freight train traffic are compiled on a four weekly basis. It is not possible to furnish statistics for the exact periods asked for but they are available for the first 24 weeks of each of the years in question. As regards the number of staff employed on railways, figures are available for a particular week in March in each of the years.

Freight train traffic carried on the standard gauge railways of Great Britain:

24 weeks to: Tons
15 June, 1935 125,621,068
13 June, 1936 130,975,435
12 June, 1937 138,340,397
11 June, 1938 130,135,93

Persons employed by the railway companies of Great Britain (excluding staffs of ancillary businesses and of London Passenger Transport Board):

Week ended: Number
9 March, 1935 532,421
7 March, 1936 538,134
13 March, 1937 549,912
12 March, 1938 556,978

Close comparison would not be possible between the total figures of staff employed by the individual railway companies in the pre-war years and those employed today by British Railways, as there have been changes in organisation and conditions of employment and also an alteration in the method of computation.