HL Deb 14 April 1953 vol 181 cc704-5

4.1 p.m.


My Lords, I am sorry to intervene just now, but I want to read a statement in similar terms to one that has just been made in another place on the unfortunate accident that happened on the railway at Stratford.

At 6.55 p.m. on Wednesday, April 8, an eastbound passenger train on the London Transport Central Line ran into the rear of a similar train which had stopped about 400 yards east of Stratford station. The first two coaches of the moving train were partly telescoped and were pressed against the sides and roof of the single line Tube tunnel. I regret to say that ten passengers lost their lives and six passengers and the motor man of the moving train received serious injuries. I am glad to hear to-day that the injured are progressing satisfactorily. About forty-one others were slightly injured. The relief work undertaken by the London Transport Executive's staff and the local emergency services was most efficient but the conditions in the restricted space were so difficult that the last two injured passengers could not be released until about 4.0 a.m. on the following morning. A formal inquiry will be opened in public by an inspecting officer of railways on Thursday next, April 16, and your Lordships will appreciate that I cannot make any further statement at present. The London Transport Executive have announced that they will accept liability for all proper claims for compensation. Your Lordships will, I am sure, wish to be associated with an expression of deep sympathy with the relatives and friends of those who lost their lives and those who were injured.


My Lords, noble Lords on this side of the House are grateful to the noble Lord, the Secretary of State, for making the statement as soon as he could. On behalf of noble Lords on this side, I would hasten to associate myself with the expression of sympathy which the noble Lord has made to those who have been bereaved. It is not my purpose this afternoon to make any comment except this. I hope the noble Lord will see that the report of the inspecting officer is available to your Lordships as soon as possible, because I would remind the noble Lord that we are still awaiting the report of the inspecting officer of the inquiry into the terrible accident at Harrow. Unfortunately, we shall have to deal in due course also with the report of the inspecting officer into the tragedy of the "Princess Victoria" in the Irish Sea. Now, there is this unfortunate accident. The noble Lord's reputation is proof that these reports are not intentionally withheld, but I would remind him that, in respect of the first, six months has elapsed since the accident occurred. We think that that is ample time for a report to be prepared and presented to your Lordships' House.


My Lords, I can assure your Lordships that the report in this case will be produced with all speed, and will be available immediately afterwards. In respect of the other accident to which reference has been made, I ought to say that it is now a long time indeed since that happened but the inquiry was a far more embracing one, with very wide repercussions all round. I am sure that the usefulness of that report, when it is produced, will show the wisdom of taking the full time in making it.