HC Deb 06 July 1875 vol 225 cc999-1000

asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether his attention has been drawn to the verdict of the coroner's jury, at the inquest held upon the body of a commercial traveller killed in the late fatal Railway accident at Bathampton Junction; whether he is aware that the jury, in their verdict, declare themselves unanimously of opinion, that the Board of Trade has seriously neglected its duty to the public by permitting the Great Western Railway Company to carry passengers for 12 months since the alteration of gauge over these facing points without any official inspection, and without enforcing the conditions deemed necessary for safety by Colonel Tolland; and, whether he will lay Colonel Tolland's reply, at the conclusion of his inquiry, upon the Table of the House?


Sir, the verdict to which the Question refers must have been founded on a total misapprehension of the law and of the facts of the case. The Board of Trade have no power to make an inspection of new works with a view of deciding on their opening or the postponement of their use for passenger traffic until the Railway Company have given formal notice of their intention to open them. In the present case the Great Western Railway Company have never given the required notice, and the Board of Trade have therefore never had the power to order an inspection with a view to requiring any alteration or amendment in the works or permanent way. The Board of Trade are in communication with the Company on the subject of this Question, and the Correspondence, together with Colonel Tolland's Report of his inquiry into the circumstances of the accident, will be laid on the Table immediately.