HC Deb 11 April 1962 vol 657 cc1309-10
3. Mrs. Castle

asked the Minister of of Transport what report he has received from the Central Transport Consultative Committee concerning the closure of the Hellifield to Blackburn railway line; and what recommendations were made for the provision of adequate bus services to replace the railway services affected.

Mr. Marples

The Central Committee has made a recommendation, which I am now considering, approving the British Transport Commission's proposals for the withdrawal of passenger services on this line. Those proposals include arrangements for the augmentation of some existing bus services. The Central Committee has made no special recommendation about bus services.

Mrs. Castle

Is it not a fact that an undertaking was given by Ribble Motor Services Ltd. that it would duplicate certain bus services on the Clitheroe-Blackburn line? Will he see that that promise is carried out? Secondly, is it not a fact that people who live in remote villages on this line and work in Blackburn will now be totally cut off from any public transport at all, and that others will have only a bi-weekly service? Will he let the House know in due course what bus services he intends to see provided for these people?

Mr. Marples

I will certainly look into the question of the promise which the hon. Lady says was made by Ribble Motor Services Ltd., and consider the position, but I must also consider this report and make a decision. I should prefer not to comment until I have read the whole of the report.

Mr. Mellish

Does not this raise the whole principle of the closing of lines? Although they may well be uneconomic—

Mr. Speaker

Order. This Question is confined to the Hellifield to Blackburn line.

Mr. Mellish

Although this line may be uneconomic from the point of view of bringing in cash, is not there at any rate a social need? Will the Minister say that he will consider whether it should remain in operation and that the question of a subsidy will be considered?

Mr. Marples

The best thing I can do is to consider the merits of the proposal, the case put forward by the objectors and the findings of the Committee and announce my decision; and this I will do.

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