HC Deb 02 February 1955 vol 536 cc1092-3
53. Mr. G. Wilson

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what progress has been made by the British Transport Commission in their recent experiments in improved methods of automatic train control; and what plans have been made to extend methods of control to all the main lines other than the Western Region where similar methods have been in operation for many years.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I understand that the automatic train control equipment is steadily being made more reliable, but it has been necessary to redesign certain components in the last few months. The trial stretch is being extended to include the whole of the up and down main lines between King's Cross and Grantham, and the equipment will be used on other main lines as soon as it has been perfected.

Mr. Wilson

Has the attention of my right hon. Friend been drawn to a statement in the Press that there has been no accident in the Western Region since nationalisation, and that there has been no fatal accident in Devon and Cornwall for 100 years? Is not this a good advertisement for automatic train control being rapidly extended to the main lines as soon as possible?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The particular system on the old Great Western Railway, which is the present Western Region, has operated well, but there are certain difficultis about applying it as it stands to electrified lines.

Mr. Popplewell

Could the Minister say whether the proposed electrical development plan of the B.T.C. embraced automatic control?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The plan as published indicates the intention of the B.T.C. to spend £20 million on the provision of automatic train control.

At the end of Questions

The following Question stood upon the Order Paper: