§ Mr. G. Hutchinson
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether he is aware of the unsatisfactory condition of the suburban railway service between Liverpool Street Station and Ilford, the carriages being badly lighted, badly heated, obsolete and dirty and the trains overcrowded at the rush hours and unpunctual; and whether he will afford the railway company the facilities which they require to carry out such improvements as may mitigate, so far as practicable, the hardships imposed by the present conditions upon the large population which is obliged to make daily use of this service.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
This service is one of the most intensively used suburban services in the country. During the war it has not been possible to provide new or additional carriages, and many of those in use are, as my hon. Friend suggests, in a somewhat dilapidated condition. I am assured by the L.N.E.R. that, so far as their resources of labour and material permit, the carriages are being maintained and kept clean, but their intensive use renders this more than usually difficult. The unpunctuality of the trains in recent weeks has been due to the difficult weather conditions and shortage of staff through sickness. Shortage of staff has also impeded the maintenance of the heating and lighting equipment, but I am advised that much of the bad lighting to which my hon. Friend refers is due to the removal or 1933W breakage of electric bulbs and gas mantles by the travelling public. My hon. Friend may be assured that, when conditions permit, schemes for the improvement of this service will be put into effect.