§ 21. Mr. Woodburn
asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware of the difficulties experienced by soldiers on long-distance trains owing to non-existent or necessarily limited restaurant accommodation, and the unsuitability of the meals and their prices to the needs of travelling soldiers; and whether he is prepared to arrange with the railways for the provision of substantial meal packages 1032 at cheap prices on such trains or at appropriate stations?
§ The Minister of Transport (Lieut.-Colonel Moore-Brabazon)
The railway companies, when they receive notice in advance from the responsible authority, already provide packed meals at reduced prices to parties of Service men, and I am consulting the Departments concerned as to the possibility of extending this arrangement to provide for sailors, soldiers and airmen travelling alone or in small parties. I will let my hon. Friend know the result of my inquiries. Apart from this, as I informed my hon. Friend the Member for West Lewisham (Mr. Brooke) on 8th October, canteens and refreshment rooms are available at stations to meet the needs of members of the Armed Forces.
§ Mr. Woodburn
Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that, on trains taking as long as 13 hours to reach their destination, individual soldiers gathered together may make up parties of as many as 60, 100 or 200 on one train and that it is extremely difficult for them to receive service at the canteen? If such packages could be provided, it would he a great convenience.
§ Mr. Lawson
Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that the 4 o'clock from King's Cross to the North is a typical instance of this kind of thing? It is more like a cattle truck than a human train.
§ Mr. R. J. Taylor
Will the right lion. and gallant Gentleman consult with the Secretary of State for War with a view to getting soldiers from the main railway junctions to their homes?
§ Mr. Bellenger
Would the right hon. and gallant Gentleman consider having someone at the main termini to take a note of soldiers travelling individually and telegraph down the line, as people can do if they want to order refreshments en route?
Will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman consider extending this to women and children?