HC Deb 18 July 1867 vol 188 cc1667-8

said, he would beg to ask the Vice President of the Board of Trade, Whether his attention has been called to Colonel Yolland's Report as to the late accident at Warrington, in which he states that, in his opinion, had the recommendations made by Captain Tyler in his Report dated in 1862, with reference to an accident at the same station, been carried out, a collision of the kind which happened on the 29th of June last could not have occurred without the disobedience of signals on the part of the engine driver of the passenger train; and whether, if it be true, as Colonel Yolland states, that the Board of Trade can only "compel the adoption of anything necessary before the opening of new lines and junctions, but not afterwards," it was his intention to propose any Amendment in the law for the better securing the safety of the public?


Colonel Yolland's Report has not yet been received at the Board of Trade. The hon. Member's Question refers probably to the report of his evidence at the inquest. It is quite true that the Board of Trade cannot compel the adoption of its recommendations after the opening of a line of railway; and it is extremely doubtful whether an alteration of the law in this respect would "better secure the safety of the public." It would have the effect of shifting the responsibility from the railway company on to the Government, which the Report of the Royal Commission recommends should still be thrown on the companies. In the case of an accident happening through the wilful and deliberate neglect of a recommendation of the Inspector of the Board of Trade, the responsibility of the company is most seriously increased; and the jury can scarcely fail to take it into consideration in their verdict, perhaps to the extent some day, of returning a verdict of manslaughter not only against the servant of the company, but against those who are more generally responsible for the management of the line.