HC Deb 20 December 1967 vol 756 cc1254-5
5. Mr. Brewis

asked the Minister of Transport why she has given a general direction discontinuing steam-hauled specials on the railways, in view of the fact that they are no drain on the resources of the railways, and provide enjoyment for enthusiasts.

Mr. John Morris

My right hon. Friend has given no such direction.

Mr. Brewis

Since steam-hauled specials are profitable, does not this tend to show a lack of commercial judgment on the part of British Railways?

Mr. Morris

This is a matter of management for the industry. I am told that it is difficult to cost this exactly but the underlying point of importance is that the major challenge to management is to have a better utilisation of stocks. It is the same people who have to fit in these special trains, and it takes a great deal of time. It is a matter for management to decide how best to utilise its stock.

Mr. Ogden

My hon. Friend may have been born a little too late to remember the Royal Scot and other famous engines, but would he put it the other way and do what he can to encourage the use of steam, not only for its own sake as a mechanical means of propulsion, but also to help his hon. Friends in the coal industry?

Mr. Morris

No one is more concerned than I am with the future of the coal industry, but my hon. Friend must be aware that we are no longer living in the steam age in respect of locomotives. If the coal industry had to pin its future on selling coal for steam purposes to the railway industry there would be little hope for it.

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