§ Mr. Thorne
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport if he can state the number of bulbs in railway carriages stolen or broken every month on the four main-line railways and on the L.N.E.R. and on the suburban lines.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for this opportunity of calling attention to the widespread vandalism on railway trains, which has increased to serious proportions. On the London and North Eastern Railway alone, an average of 2,400 electric light bulbs in railway carriages are broken or stolen every month. The figure for the four main line companies is 14,500 every month. Unfortunately, it is not practicable to give separate figures for suburban services. I am unfortunately compelled to add that this wanton destruction is not limited to electric light bulbs. During 1943, over 25,000 carriage windows were smashed; 45,000 blinds were removed, stolen or destroyed; some 20,000 window straps were stolen or destroyed; over 13,500 seats were damaged by slashing, and many of the removable cushions were stolen; 13,000 luggage racks were rendered useless, mainly by cutting; and more than 3,500 mirrors were stolen or smashed. In addition, many other fittings have been wantonly wrenched off, or stolen. Even first-aid and A.R.P. equipment has been stolen. I need not say that this might lead to the most serious results, if a railway accident were unhappily to occur.