§ Lord Balniel
asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation (1) whether his attention has been drawn to departmental correspondence at King's Cross, quoted by Lieut.-Colonel Wilson, Minister of Transport Inspector at his Inquiry. which states that signal failures at Welwyn are getting all too frequent; and whether, in view of local concern, he will make a statement on the recommendations which are to be made;
(2) pending the report of his departmental investigation into assertions by four train drivers that a signal at Welwyn Garden City gave a false clear on several occasions, what special steps are being taken to ensure the safety of railway traffic passing through Welwyn Garden City.48W
§ Mr. Watkinson
I am aware of the statements at the resumed Inquiry of the Chief Inspecting Officer of Railways into the accident at Welwyn Garden City on 7th January. I am also aware of an allegation by an engine driver that he had received a false clear indication at the Welwyn Garden City Up Main outer distant signal, and that this driver had referred to similar experiences at this signal by other drivers. The Chief Inspecting Officer is investigating whether there is any truth in these allegations, but my hon. Friend will understand that I cannot anticipate the findings of his report, which will be published as usual as soon as it is ready. I can, however, say that thorough and prolonged tests and examinations of the signal and its associated equipment have not disclosed any fault which might conceivably have caused a false clear indication.
Notwithstanding the outcome of these tests, the precaution has been taken of installing a special indicator in Welwyn Garden City signal box which will warn the signalman at once if a false clear indication should be displayed.