HC Deb 22 February 1917 vol 90 cc1486-8W

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention had been called to the fact that numbers of the pilots of this Kingdom who are doing work for the Government are penalised, without receiving any corresponding advantage, by the excess fares charged on the railways when the pilots, owing to exigencies of war service, have to proceed beyond their pilotage limits and are landed at ports far distant from their homes, and are not paid for any extra distance they may have to go on any of those ships which they have been piloting; and whether favourable consideration will be given to the claim of those pilots for a reduction in the railway fares to what those fares were before the War?


The claims of pilots for exemption from the recent increase in railway fares have already been put before the Board of Trade and together with those advanced on behalf of numerous other classes affected have been carefully considered. I regret that it has not been found practicable, in present circumstances, to make concessions in favour of particular classes or individuals.


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that a certain railway fare for patients travelling to convalescent homes from Nottingham, which before the War was 4s., has, since the Government took over the railways, been raised first to 12s. and then to 18s.; and, having regard to the fact that the Government has taken over the management of the railways, whether he will state why an increase of 450 per cent, has been made, and whether any concession can be granted?


I am aware that the issue of cheap tickets to persons travelling to convalescent homes was restricted when, in 1915, it was found necessary to withdraw cheap facilities generally. This, I assume, made it necessary for the patients whom the hon. Baronet has in mind to take tickets at the ordinary fares, which have recently been increased 50 per cent. As stated in reply to previous questions in this House, the hardship involved in certain cases by the recent increase in fares is greatly regretted, but it has not, in present circumstances, been found practicable to make concessions in favour of any particular classes or individuals.


asked the Secretary to the Board of Trade if he is now in a position to make a statement on the subject of the railway fares charged by the Great Wetern Railway Company between Chippenham, Corsham, and Bath consequent on the closing of the Box Tunnel?


I am sending the hon. Gentleman a copy of a letter that I have received from the Great Western Railway Company on this subject.