HC Deb 20 January 1965 vol 705 cc172-3
7. Mr. Ian Lloyd

asked the Minister of Transport if he will make a statement on the progress being made in the provision of liner trains.

Mr. Tom Fraser

I understand that negotiations between the Railways Board and the National Union of Railwaymen are still going on. In view of my assurance on 23rd December, that I would try to help if the parties so wished, I intend to take the opportunity of forthcoming general talks with the Union to discuss the liner trains problem.

Mr. Lloyd

Can the right hon. Gentleman give the House some assurance that his Department appreciates that this is one of the key frontiers in the application of technology to transport; that in the use of this device lies possibly the most hopeful solution to the problem of the docks, and that the country must increasingly base political judgments on the actions of trade unions rather than on proclamations of Ministers?

Mr. Fraser

I am not going to use this occasion to make any attack on trade unions or on anybody else. I will just remind the hon. Gentleman and the House that I said on 23rd December how much importance I attached to the introduction of liner trains, and it is in the fulfilment of the promise which I then made that I am hoping to include this matter in the talks I am about to have with the National Union of Railwaymen.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

Would the right hon. Gentleman bring to the attention of the trade union leaders the fact, which those of us who have had experience of the bulk movement of coal by complete trainloads know reinforces the point mentioned by my hon. Friend, that this is in practice one of the most important ways of increasing the productivity of the railways?

Mr. Fraser

I think the right hon. Gentleman would wish to leave to me the way in which I put my case to the N.U.R