HC Deb 23 November 1938 vol 341 cc1786-7W
Sir F. Sanderson

asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that goods traffic on our railways shows, instead of a gradual and steady annual increase, a decrease of 84 million tons this year compared with 1913; and whether, in view of the gravity of the position and the large number of men employed on the railways, he will, in the national interest, take immediate action in regard to the uncontrolled road competition and in particular take such measures as may be necessary to restore to the railways the long distance traffic which they have lost?

Mr. Burgin

I am aware that there has been a serious falling off in goods traffic by rail during the last few months. The causes of this and the steps which it may be practicable and desirable to take to deal with the situation, including the possibility of speeding up action to implement the recommendations of the Transport Advisory Council in their report on service and rates, are receiving my earnest consideration. I have this morning met the chairmen of the railway companies who have laid before me their views.

Captain Strickland

asked the Minister of Transport (1) whether the weight of traffic of those classes of goods traffic distinctly competitive with road haulage had increased in 1937 from that of 1933; and, if so, by what amount of tonnage;

(2) whether he will inform the House in what class of goods the main decrease of railway haulage has taken place during the past few years; and whether this decrease includes road-haulage carried out by the railways in those classes?

Mr. Burgin

The information in my possession on this subject is published in the Annual Railway Returns issued by my Department, and I would in particular direct my hon. and gallant Friend's attention to pages 10, 14, 17, 22, 24 and 116–121 of the Returns for the year 1937.