HC Deb 20 June 1845 vol 81 cc999-1004

The Report on the Oxford and Rugby Railway Bill was brought up.

On the Question that the Amendment made by the Committee be read a second time,

Mr. Lockhart

moved that the consideration of the Report be further considered that day three months.

Mr. W. R. Collett

seconded the Amendment, and expressed a hope, that on the third reading of the Bill, or at some other fitting opportunity, measures should be taken to have it ascertained whether the public at large would be most benefited by the broad or the narrow gauge.

Mr. Shaw,

as chairman of the Committee, wished to observe that they had looked upon the Oxford and Rugby line as a part of the project of the Great Western Company, and they, therefore, wished the entire question which was to come before the House to stand or fall together, ft was quite necessary that there should be a change from one gauge to the other, on some point of the line. The opinion of the Board of Trade was, that wherever the traffic was least the alteration should be made, and that the interruption ought therefore to take place at Oxford. It was clear that an inconvenience should be submitted to somewhere, and the question for the House to decide was, whether the broad gauge was to go up to Rugby, or the narrow gauge to go down to Oxford.

Mr. Gisborne

said, the question before the House was, whether the broad gauge was to extend much farther north than had been originally intended. He thought Rugby a most inconvenient place for the gauge to shift, in consequence of the extent of traffic concentrated there. The great utility of the line would arise from the transfer of coals from the northern counties; and the greatest inconvenience would be felt if the coals were to be shifted to different waggons at Rugby, instead of being carried on without interruption to Oxford. It was said that the preference of the broad gauge originated in a jealousy of the London and Birmingham railway, lest it should acquire a monopoly of traffic; but, in his opinion, there was no line so secure against any great extension of its powers, or which had been placed under heavier bail to the public for good conduct than that railway. He hoped the House would accede to the Motion for postponing the Bill, at least, until the next Session.

Mr. Maclean

said, the expense of shifting the coals from one line to another would be enormous. Hon. Gentlemen might not be aware that the cost of a common waggon for the conveyance of coals on a railway was from 24l. to 27l., and a double supply of such waggons would prove a most serious drawback to the traffic. He thought the adoption of the Report would give an undue and unfair advantage to the Great Western over the London and Birmingham Railway. Besides, there were very little coals used at Rugby, whereas the supply of coals for Oxford and the towns that were springing up along the line of the Great Western Railway was considerable. He thought there should be one continuous gauge going to the north, and another to the west, and on these grounds he considered that the Bill ought to be postponed till next Session.

Mr. Newdegate

begged to protest against having the broad gauge brought up to Rugby, to the serious injury of the manufacturers and millers of the north. He could answer for Derbyshire, Leicestershire, and Warwickshire, that the quality of the coals was improving, and the trade increasing considerably in those districts.

Mr. Villiers Stuart

would not assent to the Amendment. He believed that the bodies of the trucks could easily be transhipped. He had seen this successfully done on a large scale.

Mr. Ward

thought that this was one of the questions which should only be decided by those having practical experience on the subject. He had no confidence in this alleged plan of transhipping the bodies of the trucks from lines of one gauge to those of a different gauge.

Mr. Spooner

supported the Amendment. He did not think that it was common fairness to the projectors of the Birmingham line to give this competing line all its length. Competition was all very well, but it might be carried too far.

Mr. Home Drummond

was still of opinion that Oxford was the much more proper place at which to make the change of gauge.

Lord George Bentinck

also supported the Amendment, as the expense on the broad gauge was nearly 100 per cent. on the carriage of goods more than on the narrow gauge.

Sir T. D. Acland

contended that his noble Friend was in error in his assumption as to the difference of charge.

The House divided on the Question, that the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question:—Ayes 79; Noes 43: Majority 36.

Main Question agreed to.

Amendment read a second time.

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