HC Deb 21 October 1920 vol 133 cc1102-3W

asked the Minister of Transport whether his attention has been called to the fact that the last train which used to leave Waterloo, on the London and South Western Railway, at. 11 o'clock, and more recently at 10.35, with Portsmouth as its destination, has been taken off altogether; that such train was largely used and much appreciated; that it is now only possible to leave London at 10 p.m. by a roundabout journey to reach Portsmouth at 2.14 a.m.; that this affects professional and business men who have late appointments in London, and cuts off Portsmouth from the North of England, as trains arriving later than 7.30 have no reasonable communication now, and for a town of the importance and size of Portsmouth it puts the inhabitants to great inconvenience; that it also affects service men seriously; and whether, subject to any temporary existing difficulties, the former service can be restored?


On enquiry of the railway company I find that they discontinued the 11 o'clock p.m. train from Waterloo to Portsmouth in consequence of the small number of passengers who travelled by that train, and have since withdrawn the substituted service by the 10.34 p.m. train from Waterloo for the same reason. It was considered that the comparatively small volume of the traffic offering could be met by the 10 p.m. service from Waterloo via Eastleigh. In regard to service men returning to Portsmouth, it is stated that special arrangements are usually made for their accommodation, and that this practice will be continued. Pressure to run services which are unremunerative is inconsistent with the general policy of economy demanded by the public interest. If the rates and charges on railways are not to be raised in keeping with the far greater increase in wages and materials, economies such as this must be made, and the Minister trusts he will have support in resisting pressure to run unnecessary services.