HC Deb 15 June 1865 vol 180 cc262-3

said, he rose to ask the President of the Board of Trade, If he is prepared to take any steps with a view to prevent the doors of railway carriages being locked in future; and if his attention has been called to the additional peril incurred by passengers travelling on railways from the objectionable practice adopted on many lines of fixing a bar across the centre of the windows of railway carriages, whereby the egress of passengers in case of accidents is effectually prevented?


said, in reply, that some years ago a circular was sent round to the railway companies, after a serious accident had taken place in France and loss of life had been caused by the circumstance that the doors of the carriages were locked. The circular asked the companies to take care that in future both doors should not be locked, and from the answers that were received it appeared that all the companies concurred in the necessity of having at least one door left open. It appeared that at the recent accident at Keynsham, on the Great Western Railway, both doors of some of the compartments were locked; but that he believed was the result of accident. Some of the carriages had been turned at the previous station, and the person whose duty it was to have unlocked what had been the off doors, but which had become the near doors, forgot to do so. He was also informed that the accident arose from the key having been dropped between the carriages and the platform just before the train started. As a rule, however, one door was always left open. With regard to the bars across the windows of the carriages, that arrangement was adopted partly in consequence of the Board of Trade, because some of the carriages were so broad that danger was likely to result in the narrow tunnels to passengers leaning out of the windows. The Metropolitan Railway had placed bars across the windows of their carriages, but of so weak a construction that the passengers could easily break them; so that persons wishing to make their escape through the windows would be enabled to break them down without very great exertion.


adverting to the answer of the President of the Board of Trade, said, he wished to ask, whether the practice which he seemed to approve, of locking one door only of a railway carriage, would not allow the locked door to be uppermost in case of the overturn of the carriage in certain cases of accident; and, if so, how the ready egress of the occupants from the carriage would be facilitated.


said, he could not answer the question. He was informed that the door locked was always the off door, otherwise persons might get out on that side and find themselves run over by the trains on the other line.