HC Deb 26 July 1976 vol 916 cc7-8
4. Mr. Anderson

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received about the possibility of rail cuts in Wales.

Mr. Barry Jones

My right hon. and learned Friend has received more than 2,000 letters, nearly all of them in a duplicated stock form, opposing any reduction in rail services.

Mr. Anderson

Since we in Wales suffered more from past closures and since, if the consultative document is implemented, we could be more vulnerable in future, can my hon. Friend give us a clear assurance that the Welsh Office favours the retention of the existing rail network in Wales?

Mr. Jones

The Welsh Office knows where its duty lies in regard to Wales. There are currently no proposals to close any railway line in Wales and the Government have no intention of reducing the size of the network. It remains policy to encourage the transfer to rail of freight traffic, which the railways are best suited to handle, by means of grant. As an example of something close to my hon. Friend's constituency, BP Chemicals was granted 50 per cent. of the cost of providing sidings and so on to transport the highly toxic product propylene to Manchester. The total cost of the project was £220,000.

Mr. Wigley

Although one welcomes that last statement, will the hon. Gentleman accept that, to keep the rail network, an investment programme is necessary to sustain the standards of track and equipment in Wales? In particular, will he cast his mind to the Cambrian Coast line, which is often considered a doubtful line? Will he negotiate with the Wales Tourist Board and British Rail about the possibility of extending the use of that line to tourism so that it links the two important tourist areas of Pwllheli and Dwyfor and the Aberystwyth area and about the tremendous potential for moving tourists from one area to the other, to the benefit of both?

Mr. Jones

This is a matter for the Wales Tourist Board and British Rail, but the Welsh Office takes a keen interest in activities on the Cambrian Coast line.

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