HC Deb 26 April 1972 vol 835 c1542
32. Sir G. Nabarro

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his total financial subvention to British Railways during 1972–73 for keeping operational uneconomic railway lines in Great Britain; and what is the amount, ad valorem, and percentage of the total represented by the financial subvention to maintain fully operational the Four Cities line, London, Oxford, Worcester and Hereford, beyond Oxford; and what estimate he has made of the economic viability of the line.

Mr. Peyton

The answer to the first part of the Question is £67.58 million. Grant aid to the passenger services on this line is expected to be £414,000 in 1972. This represents 0.6 per cent. of the total for the year. It is for the board to assess the line's viability since most services over it are not grant aided.

Sir G. Nabarro

Does my right hon. Friend realise that this is now the sole remaining rail link between Worcester and Worcestershire and London and that it has already been reduced to single-line working? Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that £2½ million extra to improve the M5 between Worcester and Birmingham is very welcome but that we must still retain this important rail link between Worcester and the south of the county and Paddington?

Mr. Peyton

While no one can guarantee the continuation of any line for ever, since that will depend on traffic, there are no current proposals for the closure of this line.