§ 21. Mr. Atkinson
asked the Minister of Technology in view of the need to accelerate the research programme designed to give luxury electric rail traction at 200 miles per hour, if he will restrict the Hovertrain development programme.
§ 13. Mrs. Shirley Williams
asked the Minister of Technology whether, in view of the decision of Bertin et Cie to produce a working Hovertrain on a five-mile track, he will accelerate the Hovertrain development programme in Great Britain.
§ Mr. Cousins
As the Question from my hon. Friend the Member for Tottenham (Mr. Atkinson) indicates, Hovertrains are not the only form of high speed tracked transport, and before we can decide what effort to put into this development, the various technical, economic and social factors involved must be evaluated.
§ Mr. Atkinson
Would my right hon. Friend not agree that the development of electric traction in this country has been hampered to a great extent by a lack of research funds? Would he not also agree that the possible development of electric traction is far more exciting and revolutionary than anything yet known in terms of pneumatic vehicles? Should he not, therefore, be more decisive in giving the go ahead to electrical engineers to get on with the job of developing electric traction?
§ Mr. Cousins
My right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport is considering proposals for conducting studies in this sphere. One is tempted to agree that there is, certainly in the short term, the possibility of there being a great deal 223 more likelihood of success in this sphere than with the Hovertrain within a densely populated area such as this.
§ Mr. Deedes
Would the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind when considering these matters that there is still scope for technology in ensuring that trains which travel at 60 m.p.h. arrive on time?