HC Deb 11 June 1958 vol 589 cc187-8
14. Viscount Hinchingbrooke

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he will give a general direction to the British Transport Commission that it may sell or lease disused branch lines to private firms or agencies in areas where lines are to be closed for reasons of economy despite a continuing local demand for transport facilities.

Mr. Watkinson

No, Sir. The Commission has already power to do this under Section 2(7) of the 1947 Transport Act.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

Will my right hon. Friend set up a Departmental committee jointly with the British Transport Commission to examine the way in which a policy of this kind can be implemented? Is he aware that there is something rather disagreeable, as well as uneconomic, in the policy now being pursued by the Commission in ripping up the metals, removing the girders of the bridges, and allowing the embankments and the cuttings to grow weeds worse than those on Lady Garbett's farm?

Mr. Watkinson

I will gladly look at any suggestions my noble Friend makes, but I hope what he is saying does not mean that he opposes the closing of uneconomic branch lines, because I must warn the House that this closure must go on. Perhaps I might take this opportunity of warning the House that it will be greatly expedited in the very near future.

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