HL Deb 01 July 1959 vol 217 cc525-6

2.35 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether their attention has been called to the claim by engineers of the Southern Rhodesian Department of Engineering and Construction that they have invented a revolutionary new overhead railway; and whether Her Majesty's Government are making arrangements for testing the system in this country.]


My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend, Lord Gosford, I beg to reply to the Question of the noble Lord, Lord Hawke. Her Majesty's Government are interested in any developments which might help in transport matters, and my right honourable friend is considering the information at present available to him upon these proposals.


My Lords, while thanking my noble friend for his Answer I would ask whether Her Majesty's Government will publish as soon as possible details of this system, which claims to be very revolutionary and seems likely to be extremely valuable in opening up the open spaces in Africa with all-weather transport?


My Lords, at present details of this system are as yet very sketchy, but I will certainly bring what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Hawke, to the attention of my right honourable friend.


My Lords, arising out of the reply of the noble Earl, may I ask whether he is aware that a Scottish consulting engineer not so long ago designed an efficient type of overhead railway? And is he further aware that this type of railway has been taken up by a French firm, in conjunction with the French Government, and that a test line is being built in France at Chateauneuf-sur-Loire which will be available for testing at the end of this year? Will the noble Earl ask his right honourable friend whether a representative of the British Government could be sent at the appropriate time to inspect it and to see whether it has possibilities from the point of view of providing a solution to the problem of rapid transit into towns?


My Lords, I understand that the scheme has been put forward in France by the International Monorail Company, but so far as I know it is still a scheme and has yet to be tested.

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