§ Mr. Bayley
I beg to move amendment No. 48, in page 106, line 14, after 'Board', insert 'or any franchise operator'.
§ Madam Speaker
With this it will be convenient to discuss the following amendments: Government amendment No. 22.
No. 49, in page 106, line 17, after 'subsidiary', insert 'or the franchise operator'.
No. 50, in page 106, line 24, after 'Board', insert 'or any franchise operator'.
No. 51, in page 106, line 26, after first 'Board', insert 'or any franchise operator'.
No. 52, in page 106, line 29, after 'subsidiary', insert 'or franchise operator'.
No. 53, in page 106, line 34, after first 'Board', insert 'or any franchise operator'.
No. 54, in page 106, line 36, after 'subsidiary', insert 'or franchise operator'.
859 No. 55, in page 106, line 37, at end insert—'—provided that
- (i) the Public Record Offices and the National Railway Museum shall be given priority of claim on records and artefacts originating in or presently held by the public sector and that the National Railway Museum shall be given priority of claim on records and artefacts created by franchise operators; and
- (ii) Transfers of records and artefacts'to the Public Record Offices and the National Railway Museum shall be without consideration.'.
§ Mr. Bayley
One day. everything set in place by this Bill will be history. All the privatised trains and rolling stock will have reached the end of their useful life and will be scrapped. Under section 144 of the Transport Act 1968, the National Railway museum has the right to claim, at no cost, redundant railway equipment, and although the Bill brings in a similar provision for public sector railway companies, it makes no similar provision for the equipment of private sector railway companies. This group of amendments seeks to do that.
The Government say that they intend to move as quickly as they can from a regime of publicly owned railways to one of privately owned railways. If the National Railway museum is to remain a major excellent repository for our country's railway heritage, there must be provision for it to claim redundant railway equipment from private sector operators. We are talking about redundant equipment that has reached the end of its useful life and has only a scrap value. I urge the Government to think again on this point.
§ Mr. Freeman
I will not commend this group of amendments to the House, but I can give the hon. Gentleman the assurance that the Government want the National Railway museum in York, in the hon. Gentleman's constituency, to thrive and prosper.
It is quite right that there should be controls over British Rail and public sector assets, but I believe that assets acquired by the private sector should be negotiated for acquisition by the museum, and there should be no compulsion.
However, I give the hon. Gentleman and all those interested in the National Railway museum—who included, of course, the late Robert Adley-the assurance that the Department will work closely with the trustees and the director of that museum to make sure that it is a proper and fitting tribute to the railway system.
I hope that, with those assurances, the hon. Gentleman will not press the amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn
Amendment made: No. 22, in page 106, line 15, after 'artefact'insert
'which it owns and which is'.—[Mr. Arbuthnot.]