HC Deb 19 April 1956 vol 551 cc1175-6
53. Mr. W. Yates

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation his regulations for the supervision of a private railway level crossing over a national trunk highway at night; when they were enacted; and what modification or amendments he has made since that date.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation (Mr. Hugh Molson)

There are no such regulations. In the past the crossing of a public highway by a private works railway was usually a matter of arrangement with the local highway authority. Nowadays the view is taken that statutory authority is necessary and this is normally given by means of a Light Railway Order. In considering any application for such an Order, due regard is had to the conditions at the level crossing and special provisions for working it may be incorporated in the Order.

Mr. Yates

Is the Minister aware that the people in The Wrekin area will be thoroughly dissatisfied with that reply, and that they will demand legislation by the Government to ensure that railway crossings of any nature, private or public, are properly administered both during the day and the night?

Mr. Molson

In this case, the point is that this railway was built in 1851. The Light Railways Acts, under which Orders authorising light railways may be made, were passed in 1896 and 1912. So far as we can ascertain, no statutory authority has been given for this railway to cross the highway.

54. Mr. W. Yates

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation the reason for his refusal to permit the Lilleshall Company from erecting additional night warning signs at the company's level crossing over the A5 highway near Oakengates, Wellington, Shropshire, in 1953; and, in view of the most recent fatal accident, what additional steps he is taking to improve safety at this point.

Mr. Molson

In 1953, my Department were asked to approve the use of unorthodox advance signs to supplement the existing standard advance signs and the non-standard notices on the swivel arms which guard this crossing. The request was refused because it is contrary to policy to authorise non-standard signs, which can only detract from the value of standard ones. This is the only accident involving a train at this crossing in recent years. I am, however, making further inquiries and will write to my hon. Friend.

Mr. Yates

I thank my hon. Friend very much.