HC Deb 23 February 1976 vol 906 cc9-11
8. Mr. Geraint Howells

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he is satisfied with the state of public transport in Mid-Wales; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Barry Jones

I refer the hon. Member to the answers given to him on 19th January and 5th February.—[Vol. 903, c. 898–900; Vol. 904, c. 728.]

Mr. Howells

I am grateful to the Minister for reminding me of those answers. I am sure that he is aware that many villages in Mid-Wales are without any means of transport whatsoever. Is he aware that many of my constituents are worried about the future of the Aberystwyth-Shrewsbury line? May we have an assurance that the work carried out on the line between Aberystwyth and Machynlleth is permanent and not temporary?

Mr. Barry Jones

The repair to storm damage to the Aberystwyth railway line is to go ahead. I understand that the work that is in hand will cost £250,000, and should be completed by Easter. That sum of £250,000 will be spent on permanent work.

Mr. Gwynfor Evans

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that as long as the Government cling to their low investment programme in railways there will be a very heavy shadow over the Welsh lines, and the central Welsh lines in particular, whatever the Secretary of State for the Environment says? Will he and his right hon. Friend do their utmost to save these lines if the threat should come?

Mr. Barry Jones

We are well aware of the contribution of the railways in Wales. The changes in the frequency and quality of the rail service are entirely a matter for the management of British Rail. Nevertheless, representations by anyone who is affected should be made to the TUCC.

Sir A. Meyer

In view of the increasingly gloomy outlook for the subsidised bus services in the countryside, will the Minister look sympathetically again at flexible ideas for small mini-buses, shared buses with the Post Office, and so on, which were examined closely by the last Conservative Government?

Mr. Barry Jones

The Government have decided to promote a series of experimental projects to test measures for improving accessibility and for developing a cheaper and more flexible system to help the more remote areas, and one of those projects will be in Wales.

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