HC Deb 06 March 1945 vol 408 cc1845-6W
Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport if he will set out in tabular form in the OFFICIAL REPORT the millions of ton miles saved per annum for the years 1940, 1943 and 1944 by improved organisation; the millions of ton miles saved in the last year for which figures are available for biscuits, sugar, animal feeding stuffs, potatoes, seed potatoes, chocolate and sweets, flour, beer, fish and tea; what is the calculated saving in the number of trains and gallons of petrol; what is the saving made by the better use of railway wagons; what is the percentage increase in canal traffic and coastwise traffic; and any other figures to provide a picture of the savings made by war-time organisation.

Mr. Noel-Baker

One of the economies which war conditions have imposed upon us is a drastic pruning of statistical returns and I regret that figures such as my hon. Friend desires are not available. Even if statistical records were available the many changes involved by the war, including radical alterations in the general nature and flow of traffic, transfers between different forms of transport, enforcement of priorities in movement and so forth, would vitiate any overall comparison of results before and under control. The following figures may, however, be of interest:

Increases or Decreases over Pre-War (1938)
Railways. Increase. Per cent. Decrease. Per cent.
Net Ton Miles—
General Merchandise 86.0
Minerals and Heavy Merchandise. 68.3
Coal Traffic 12.6
Average Load per Wagon—
General Merchandise 41.5
Minerals and Heavy Merchandise. 6.3
Coal Traffic 1.8
Loaded Wagon Miles 30.98
Empty Wagon Miles 8.46
Average No. of Loaded Wagons per Train. 12.65
Passenger Journeys 6.41
Passenger Miles 70.0
Passenger Train Miles 29.0

An indication of the reduction in fuel consumption for commercial road transport in spite of the demands of war production is shown by the following ratios:

Year. Fuel Consumption.
1938 100
1940 79
I941 80
1942 74
1943 70
1944 72

As regards canal transport, there has been a slight drop in traffic since 1938 owing to difficulties of labour supply and diversion of traffic from normal routes, but the traffic carried remains fairly constant at between 11,000,000 and 12,000,000 tons a year.