HC Deb 28 July 1943 vol 391 cc1612-3W
Mr. Wakefield

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport (I) when he proposes to introduce modern means of verbal communication between whoever may be in charge of a train and their control, as has existed for many years between the captains of aircraft and their land-based controls;

(2) whether he is aware that the only way the engine driver can communicate with the guard of a train is by blowing blasts on his whistle and that the guard can only communicate with the driver by the application of his brakes, with consequent danger to the safety of the train; and when will this century-old method of communication be modernised with an up-to-date intercommunication system, as in aircraft?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Wireless apparatus is being successfully used for certain purposes in railway operation to-day. Experiments in this form of communication between driver and guard or signalman were made some years before the war; but they were of preliminary character, and in any case there are at present many special difficulties which result from war conditions. My hon. Friend will also appreciate that the problem of railway operation differs greatly from that of aircraft; but he may rest assured that his proposal will be borne in mind.