§ Mr. STEVENS
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Shipping the number of railway wagons owned or controlled by his Department; what reasons, if any, he can advance why they are more usefully employed under the control of his Department than they would be if controlled by the Minister of Transport; if he will give particulars as to the time railway wagons owned by his Department were under-load, empty, and in transit, for the four weeks ended 20th June, 1920, the four weeks ended 18th July, and for the past four weeks, respectively; and what number of wagons have been lying idle in the Chepstow district within recent months?
There are about 160 wagons at the National Shipyards, on loan from H.M. Office of Works used on transport of goods and material over railway company's lines and internally. It would be impossible without the expenditure of a very great amount of time to give particulars of the time during which each wagon was under load, or empty and in transit during the periods mentioned, but during the four weeks to the 20th June, to the 18th July and the last four weeks, 151, 87, and 46 wagons were in use loaded and in transit, and 79, 59, and 66 empty and in transit respectively. These particulars refer only to railway company's lines. The wagons were used also for internal work. In addition to the 160 wagons on loan from the Office of Works, there are also 96 wagons, not passed by the company for main line use. These wagons have not been used for several weeks, and their ownership is being investigated; those belonging to private owners will be returned, and others will be declared surplus and handed over to the Disposals Board.