HC Deb 25 January 1961 vol 633 cc163-4
19. Miss Harvie Anderson

asked the Minister of Transport if he will now make a statement on the inquiry into the failure of the newly-electrified lines round Glasgow.

53. Mr. Wade

asked the Minister of Transport what was the cause of the recent breakdown of newly designed electric trains; and to what extent the cost of re-designing and re-making will be borne by the manufacturers of the parts found to be faulty.

Mr. Hay

The Chief Inspecting Officer of Railways has now made an interim report to my right hon. Friend on the accidents which occurred on 13th and 17th December, 1960, in the Glasgow suburban electric trains. This report was published on 18th January and a copy is available in the Library. A further report covering all factors affecting these accidents and all other matters relevant to them will be made as soon as possible. This will take account also of certain other failures on newly electrified services. The cost of re-designing and re-making any faulty equipment is a matter between the Commission and the manufacturers.

Miss Harvie Anderson

While thanking my hon. Friend for his reply, because of resultant delay, may I ask whether he will urge all those responsible to expedite the other modernisation services, particularly the placing of contracts for the new diesel electric locomotives? Will he appreciate that the tenders are now out of date and that "omnibus" competitors can tender unrealistic costs? Will he therefore advise that the contract for the 88 diesel locomotives Mark IV authorised and for use in Scotland be placed with the North British Locomotive Company? Will he encourage this, since a very large grant from public funds was made to this company just before the election?

Mr. Hay

I will take note of what my hon. Friend says and will bring it to the attention of my right hon. Friend.

Mr. Woodburn

Can the Minister give us any idea when this work is likely to be completed and the new locomotives reinstated on the line? It is a great tragedy for British engineering that this mishap has taken place. We should like to know when the electric trains will be back.

Mr. Hay

It was, of course, a great disappointment to all of us that this happened, and particularly that it happened when it did. In any event, I cannot forecast the exact date when the service will be completely resumed, because we have still not received the final report of my right hon. Friend's Chief Inspecting Officer of Railways. The Commission wishes to get the service back again as quickly as it can.