Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Savings from Closing of Railways Lines.

37.

asked the Minister for Transport and Power if he will indicate the amount contributed to the improved financial position of Córas Iompair Éireann by the closure of main and branch lines.

No main lines have been closed.

I am informed by C.I.E. that no separate figures are kept which would show the net contribution to the improved financial position of C.I.E. due to the closing of branch lines and no accurate estimate could be made without considerable research. The closing of these lines has led to considerable changes in the pattern of traffic, but the bulk of the former railway traffic has been retained by the Board. The original estimated savings of expenditure, due to the closing of branch lines, have been realised and for the year ended 31/3/'61 these savings amounted to approximately £214,000. This figure, which is the saving effected by providing services by road instead of by rail in the areas concerned, can be taken therefore as broadly representing the net contribution made to the financial position of C.I.E. by the closing of the branch lines.

Is the Minister aware that the line which it is proposed to close between Cork and Bantry is, in fact, a main line and not a branch line? Is he further aware that there have been increased passenger and goods charges, in consequence of the present closure in that region? How far have these increased charges had their impact on what he claims is an improved financial return?

I understand charges have not increased as a result of the substitution of road for rail traffic.

Will the Minister accept evidence in support of my contention?

In relation to the examination of the operation of the line, it may have been found that some of the charges were inadequate for certain specialised types of traffic, moving occasionally. In regard to major types of traffic, particularly cattle, I understand the charges now are the same as those which obtained when that traffic was carried by rail.

What about passenger traffic? The Minister is trying to tell us now that 2/6 is less than 1/9.

(Interruptions.)