HC Deb 01 December 1965 vol 721 cc1425-6
8. Mr. Dempsey

asked the Minister of Transport if, with a view to dealing with emergencies, he will give a general direction to British Railways to provide telecommunications on long-distance trains; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Swingler

No, Sir. It is for the British Railways Board to decide whether to provide facilities of this kind.

Mr. Dempsey

In view of the assistance that would be afforded in the event of railway accidents and having regard to the recent train robbery, would it not be a good idea for the Minister to give such a direction, especially in the case of a train carrying very valuable loot? Would it not be worth while experimenting, as it could not be any dearer than the cost of maintaining soldiers, policemen and prison officers to guard train robbers?

Mr. Swingler

My hon. Friend will appreciate that a provision of this kind generally would be very costly. It is for the British Railways Board, which is responsible for the operation of the railways, to decide whether this is necessary. They take special measures to provide telephonic communication for drivers in certain circumstances. I have no doubt that the British Railways Board will take note of my hon. Friend's Question.