HC Deb 27 January 1960 vol 616 cc156-7
36. Mr. Thorpe

asked the Minister of Transport how many main lines on British Railways are equipped with automatic train control; and how many lines have still to be so equipped.

Mr. Marples

All the main lines in the Western Region of British Railways and those from King's Cross to Darlington, Euston to Rugby, and Edinburgh to Glasgow are equipped with the automatic warning system of train control.

All the remaining main lines of British Railways are to be so equipped.

Mr. Thorpe

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that this is a highly unsatisfactory state of affairs, bearing in mind that the Western Region has been so equipped for the past fifty years, and that as far back as 1920 a committee set up by the then Government recommended that all lines should be so equipped? Is the Minister aware that at the time of the Lewisham disaster the British Transport Commission said that it would accelerate automatic train control? Is he also aware that people travelling on this line—[HON. MEMBERS: "Speech."]—are subject to the same dangers as they were on the night of the Lewisham disaster? Will the right hon Gentleman try to accelerate progress?

Mr. Marples

Dense traffic operates at Lewisham but, although it is dense, generally speaking it is not very fast. The first job is to equip the main lines where the speed of the trains is fast. The equipping of the remaining main lines will take time in view of the magnitude of the task. It is expected to be completed by 1972, but a firm programme of priorities has been drawn up until the end of 1962, by which time a further 490 route miles should be completed.