HC Deb 08 July 1970 vol 803 cc661-2
26. Mr. Russell Johnston

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects that it will be possible to bring the whole of Fort William-Mallaig Road to A standard.

Mr. Younger

Modernisation will proceed steadily, but much of the route is difficult and, therefore, expensive, and, under the plans prepared by the previous Government, I cannot envisage completion within the next five years.

Mr. Johnston

As the hon. Gentleman will be aware, that is a very disappointing answer. Can he repeat to me the assurance given by the previous Minister of State that there will be no question of closing the railway until the road is made up to A standard the whole way from Fort William to Mallaig?

Mr. Younger

No assurance of that sort is necessary at the moment as there is no proposal to close the railway. There is, naturally, a possibility, which must be studied, but as the hon. Member knows, it would have wider implications which would need to be carefully assessed.