§ Mr. TURNER
asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office the cost of the 50 locomotives which were built at Woolwich; whether the remaining 50 upon which work was suspended have been completed; if so, what was the total cost and the comparison of the cost in private works under similar circumstances; whether any of the locomotives have been sold, and at what figure; and, having regard to the understanding that these locomotives would be absorbed by the railway companies at the time the construction was undertaken, will he state why the railway companies have declined to accept them?
§ Mr. LAWSON
The total cost of the 50 locomotives which have been completed and the remaining 50 which it is not intended to complete is, approximately, £1,340,000, of which £780,000 represents the cost of those completed. There is no information available as to the comparative costs in private works of similar locomotives. Twenty engines have been sold, but, as others remain to be disposed of, it is not in the public interest to disclose the sale price. I am not aware of any understanding that these locomotives would be absorbed by the railway companies. The construction was undertaken with the object of relieving 2419W unemployment, and no purchaser was immediately in view at the time. The last part of the question does not, therefore, arise.