§ Order for Third Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."
§ SIR WALTER B. BARTTELOT
said, the other night it was brought to the notice of the House that in this and five other Tramway Bills there was a power to run by steam. He ventured at the time to call the attention of the House to that fact, and these Bills had now been put down by Order for that day. He believed there were no less than six of them which were down by Order, and in every one of them there was a provision that steam engines might be run over the tramway. Now, that was a most important question, and one which he ventured to think ought not to be decided off-hand by the House. He had no desire to lay any great blame upon the Government; but, at the same time, he thought that the Board of Trade ought to have brought in Bills of that kind, and to have stated distinctly that they were going to ask the House to confer upon tramways the power of running by steam, instead of referring the Bills to a Select Committee in the ordinary course, and leaving the Select Committee to insert in the Bills provisions to give that power. Every hon. Member knew what it was to have steam power upon the roads, and if they granted it now to one tramway, they would soon be called upon to grant it to all. He thought some very stringent precautions ought to be taken in 1575 regard to the application of such a power. He was not prepared to say that these Bills might not contain some stringent precautions and powers, conferred upon the Board of Trade for regulating the work of steam engines. Still, he thought it was a great innovation, and one that ought not to be passed without the matter having been regularly brought before the House and discussed. In the streets, when a steam roller was employed, there was generally a notice put up—"Look out for the steam roller," that being done on account of the danger; but what that danger would be when they came to sanction the use of steam tramways, and found that the people who worked the engines were not very careful, and when the use of steam power came to be increased year after year, as well as the pace at which the engines might be worked, he was not in a position to say. As he had just said, they all knew at the present moment what the use of engines upon the high roads amounted to. There were several places he could name, where the traffic for carriages had been absolutely and entirely stopped, on account of the danger arising from these engines being driven over the roads. Under these circumstances, he thought it was one of these questions which demanded very serious consideration. He was sorry to appear in antagonism to the promoters of the Bill; but he thought it his duty to ask the House to reject the first Bill, in order that he might test what the opinion of the House really was. He admitted that it would be hard upon the promoters to lose their Bill, and not to be able to rely upon the investigation of the Select Committee; but he thought that the interests of the public were paramount. Without making any further remarks, he would move that the Aberdeen District Tramways Bill be rejected. He was sure there was not a Gentleman present in the House who did not know and feel what it was to have steam engines running over the roads.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."—(Sir Walter B. Barttelot.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question.1576
§ MR. ARTHUR PEEL
said, he had nothing specially to do with this particular Bill, the rejection of which had been moved by the hon. and gallant Member for West Sussex (Sir Walter B. Barttelot). His (Mr. Peel's) only reason for rising now was, that he had been Chairman of the Select Committee appointed to consider the whole of the subject, and they had had a very long and arduous sitting, in which they had gone into the whole question as to what should be the regulations to govern the use of steam or power other than horse power upon tramways. It had been open to the Committee to decide whether the use of steam should be permitted upon tramways, or not; but the evidence before the Committee had been so overwhelmingly in favour of steam, that they had agreed to permit it. They had not only the evidence placed before them by various witnesses, but they had referred to them the Reports of previous Committees on the subject, and the evidence in favour of steam had been really so overwhelming, that they assumed as a fact that steam ought to be permitted, although they fully recognized that it ought only to be permitted under the most stringent regulations and safeguards for the protection of the public. The hon. and gallant Baronet said that the question was one that deserved serious consideration. He (Mr. Peel) quite agreed in that view, and he thought that, considering what had passed in reference to the question, the House would see that they had arrived at the point when it ought to be definitely settled. Already three Committees had inquired into the matter. There was the Committee which sat upon the question of Locomotives on Roads in 1873. In 1877 another Committee was appointed to consider under what regulations steam should be used on tramways; and Her Majesty's Government thought proper to appoint another Committee that year, which was the Committee over which he (Mr. Peel) had had the honour of presiding, and to whose decision he had just referred. They were asked to consider almost the very same question as that referred to the Committee of last year, and they had laid down regulations which were to govern the use of steam. They had, however, done much more than that. They had entered into the whole question 1577 of the conditions under which this novel undertaking should be allowed. They had considered, on the one hand, the interests of the promoters, and, on the other, the interests of the public. The Committee had drawn up, in the Report that was now before the House, a series of principles on which their recommendations were based; and he must say that he had heard these principles canvassed in two ways. On the one side, it was said that they were much too stringent, and would not allow the promoters to carry on their undertaking; and, on the other hand, it was said they were much too favourable to the promoters, and that the public would be prejudiced by the introduction of steam in the crowded thoroughfares of the large towns. With the permission of the House, he would detain them for a short time while he stated briefly what these principles were. The Committee considered that the use of steam in lieu of horses was, comparatively speaking, a novel undertaking. It was true that it had been tried in some places in this country already. There were steam tramways at Wantage, at Batley, and at Swansea, and abroad steam was in use in Paris. Cassel, in Germany, was, however, the head-quarters of these tramways. The Committee obtained evidence from all these towns, and they had further evidence from General Hutchinson, one of the Inspectors of the Board of Trade, together with the Reports of that gentleman, who went into the whole question most minutely. After hearing General Hutchinson, the Committee came to the conclusion that, though it was a novel undertaking, it was so far established in use that it would be unwise on their part absolutely to prohibit the use of steam. At the same time, they thought that as the question was taking hold of the public mind in this country, it would be wise to lay down conditions which should protect them against abuse. They, therefore, thought that any concession to be made to the promoters should only last for a limited period of seven years, at the end of which time it would be competent for the local authorities to take up the rails on which steam tramways were used; and, in effect, to make the tramway cease, as far as it was a steam tramway, altogether. They felt, of course, that if 1578 seven years' experience had been gained, the objections raised to the use of steam would either be verified or refuted. They thought, also, that, considering the nature of the concession granted to the promoters, and considering, also, that steam tramways could be worked more cheaply than horse tramways, the public ought to be benefited by having the tolls as low as possible. They, therefore, inserted a provision that the tolls should be revised after a period of five years. They thought, generally speaking, that liberty of contract should be allowed between the local authorities and the promoters. The local authorities might be not unfairly assumed to be the best judges of the interests they were elected to maintain. The Committee were of opinion, therefore, that the local authorities should be able to make what contracts they pleased with the promoters who wished to institute steam tramways in any particular district; but they also thought that the public ought to be protected against the promoters on one side and the local authorities on the other. The local authorities, for instance, might, in some cases, be disposed to levy such an amount of black mail from the promoters of the steam tramway as would materially interfere with the undertaking. On the other hand, the local authorities might be promoters themselves, or might be induced to make such a bargain with the promoters of the Tramway Company as would be prejudicial to the interests of the public The Committee, therefore, said that if there was anything in the contract which made it objectionable to the inhabitants of the place in which it was proposed to lay down steam tramways, the Board of Trade should be constituted the friend of the public, and should be able to step in and see whether the terms of the contract militated either against any particular interest, or against the interests of the place in general. He knew very well that there had been in past times a feeling in that House against tramways altogether. When horse tramways were first started, there was a strong feeling against them; but he thought the time had now passed by when horse tramways were regarded as objectionable. Under all the circumstances, he thought the House ought to be very careful as to prohibiting entirely the introduction of steam tramways. Anybody who consulted 1579 the Report of the Committee which sat last year, would see what great use was made of tramways in the Metropolis and in other large towns. They would be astonished at the way in which the existing horse tramways were serving the public convenience. It was stated that in London, in the year 1876, three Metropolitan Tramway Companies carried no less than 48,000,000 passengers, and in Edinburgh, he believed, the number carried in one year—out of a population of 250,000—was about 8,000,000 or 9,000,000. That applied to horse tramways alone. But the convenience of steam over horse tramways—setting aside the obvious advantages of steam—was very great. First as a question of humanity. It was stated that the working life of an omnibus horse was only 4½ years, after which it was sold, and would not fetch more than £5 or £6. The life of a horse of a tramway car was even shorter than that of an omnibus horse. It was half-a-year shorter—4 years being calculated to be, for all profitable purposes, the life of the horse used in a tramway car. If Parliament sanctioned the use of steam, they would save this immense wear and tear of horses. They would relieve Tramway Companies from being required to keep up an enormous and expensive stock, and they would give the public the benefit of the change by enabling them to go from place to place, especially in the crowded suburbs, at a much cheaper rate than they could do now. Having spoken so long upon the principles upon which the Committee based the recommendations in their Report, it was only necessary that he should add, further, that, independently of the principles they laid down, on which their suggestions were formed, they embodied a recommendation in the Report that these suggestions should be made to apply to Tramway Bills, and to Tramway Provisional Orders alike. This was a very important matter. It was important that Private Bills and Provisional Orders on this subject should be treated in the same way. Independently of this, the Committee had endeavoured to make suggestions for governing the mechanical part of the question, by laying down principles which could be put in force in the shape of bye-laws. These bye-laws would govern the ingress and 1580 egress of the passengers, the emission of steam, the regulation of the light of the furnace, and, above all, the pace at which the tramcars would be allowed to run. It was only fair to add, that upon the question of the maximum speed, although there was no division in the whole course of the Committee's inquiry, and they were generally unanimous, yet, upon this point, there was a feeling that they might have placed the maximum speed at which the engines were to be permitted to run at too high a figure—namely, at eight miles an hour in towns and 10 miles an hour in the country. It was possible that the House might think that the maximum speed ought to be altered; but, inasmuch as this question had been over and over again referred to a Committee, and as the present Committee had accepted the principle of allowing the use of steam, and had laid down regulations for its use as safeguards for the pubic, he earnestly hoped that the House would feel that the time had come when, in the interest of these promoting tramway schemes, and, above all, in the interests of the great body of the public, the matter ought to be definitely dealt with. He did not believe that a single Member of the Committee had any interest in the matter. They only accepted the evidence placed before them, and upon that evidence they came to the best conclusion in their power. He had now discharged his duty by laying before the House the principles by which the Committee came to their decision, and although he was anxious that the House should accept what was the result of a series of very laborious sittings on the part of the Committee, yet, so far as the Committee were concerned, he would leave the question respectfully in the hands of the House.
as a Member of the Committee, wished to say a few words to endorse the statement of the hon. Member for Warwick (Mr. Arthur Peel). The Committee went most carefully into all the evidence placed before them in regard to these Bills; and if there were one point upon which they made up their minds more than another, it was in regard to the question of safety. What the Committee heard upon that point was almost decisive. The difficulty of stopping a horse tramway was very much greater than when steam 1581 was used, and, consequently, the liability to occasion accident would be less. But there was another point which ought to be considered. Probably, the greater portion of hon. Members of that House were not in the habit of using tramways, and for himself he could not say he was particularly partial to them; but they were used by a very large portion of the public outside. It was thought by many that they were extremely inconvenient to carriage traffic; but the enormous number of persons carried by them rendered them now almost a necessity. The evidence given to the Committee was, that at present the wear and tear of horse power was very considerable, and it appeared to the Committee that if tramways were to be extended, something must be done to provide some other motive power. It seemed to him, taking all the circumstances into consideration, that the application of steam power to tramways was indispensable, and he hoped the House would pause before they took the serious step of rejecting these Bills.
as a Member of the first Committee, was anxious to make a few remarks. He, for one, attached the greatest importance to this legislation. He rather fancied that the objection which was raised by the hon. and gallant Member for West Sussex (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) in regard to the third reading of the Bill, was not an objection to the use of mechanical power alone, but that the hon. and gallant Member wished to raise an objection to the whole system of tramways under cover of an objection to the use of mechanical power. [Sir WALTER B. BARTTELOT: No, no!] He (Colonel Beaumont) hoped he was in error.
was glad to find that the hon. and gallant Baronet repudiated that idea. Still, he fancied that a good many people who objected to tramways altogether, were anxious to take that opportunity of recording their objection to the use of mechanical power as a cover to their objections to tramways altogether. The importance of the tramways generally to the poor man could not be over-estimated; and he hoped he was not out of Order in stating his belief that the question the House 1582 was now called upon to decide was one of the greatest possible importance to the travelling public. It was all very well for people, whose carriages were put to inconvenience, to say that there was a danger in the matter; but it must be borne in mind that for one person who rode in a carriage, thousands travelled by tramways. The question was not a new one to the House in any sense. For two Sessions it had been investigated by Committees, and he hoped the decision of the House would endorse the conclusion arrived at by these Committees. He sincerely hoped that the House would not arrive at a decision which would practically have the effect of throwing cold water upon tramway enterprize.
§ MR. DILLWYN
said, he was one of these who very much agreed with his hon. and gallant Friend who had moved the Amendment (Sir Walter B. Barttelot). His objection was not at all to the use of steam, as a mechanical power on the high roads, but he did object to the use of mechanical power where the roads were not wide enough to accommodate the carriage traffic as well. He knew more than one instance in which tramways were laid down in very narrow streets. How they obtained the general power to do so, in the first instance, he did not know—probably, by an arrangement with the local authorities; but there were cases in which almost the whole road was occupied by the tramways; and the result was, that Parliament had dedicated to a private company the road which was intended for the use of the public. The hon. and gallant Member who had just addressed the House (Colonel Beaumont) stated that thousands travelled by the tramways where only one rode in a carriage; but there were thousands of carts and carriages and other vehicles that made use of the high roads as well. He knew many places where the number of persons who travelled by tramways were by no means so large as the number who made use of the roads in other ways. It must further be borne in mind that the roads were constructed at the public expense for the public convenience, and yet it was now proposed to dedicate them to the use of a section of the public alone. As he had already said, he did not object to the use of mechanical 1583 power. He had no doubt that it might be brought under proper control, and might be made to work very well; but, unless better provision were made than he thought was made by the Committee in the present Bill for insisting upon a full and ample width of roadway upon the high roads used by steam tramways, they had better have the tramways without any mechanical power at all. Mechanical power, unfortunately, was less under control than horse power. He was acquainted with places where the existing tramways without mechanical power were dangerous; but, bad as they were now, they would be worse, and still more dangerous, if the use of steam were sanctioned upon them. Whether it had been accomplished by getting round the newspapers, or the local authorities, he was unable to say; but, in many instances, tramways were laid down in roads where they ought never to have been sanctioned, as the roads themselves were not wide enough for them. In such cases carriages and carts were constantly put to great inconvenience, and although in many instances the roads were too narrow for horse tramways, the inconvenience and danger would be much greater when mechanical power was used, and the result would be that many people who now used the roads would have to abandon them altogether. He did not object to the Bill because it sanctioned the use of mechanical power; but he did object to the omission on the part of the Committee of a satisfactory provision in regard to the width of the roads. He thought no road should be given up to a tramway unless there was ample width for two or three carriages besides the tramway car. He hoped the House would pause before they read the Bill a third time, and would support the Amendment moved by the hon. and gallant Member for West Sussex, or refer the measure back again to a Select Committee to take some means for providing that the public, as well as the tramway companies, should have the use of the roads. Under the present Bill, he did not think they would have that use of them which they were entitled to.
§ MR. ASSHETON
said, the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn) had laid down the doctrine that tramways worked by mechanical power would be less under 1584 control than those which were worked by horse power. He (Mr. Assheton) protested against that assertion. The evidence which was given before the Select Committee on tramways last year fully convinced him that tramways worked by mechanical power would be even under greater control than tramways worked by horse power. When he (Mr. Assheton) went into the Committee on Locomotives on Roads, he had certainly some misgiving as to the propriety of sanctioning the use of mechanical power on roads, on account of a fear that it might frighten the horses using the road. The same objection to the use of mechanical power was, he believed, entertained by other hon. Members. As far as he remembered the result of the investigation of the Committee as to the question of mechanical power frightening the horses, it resolved itself into this—that if they could stop the noise, or the escape of smoke or steam, they would not frighten the horses at all; but if they did not succeed in preventing noise and the escape of steam and smoke, then the use of mechanical power would frighten the horses. He understood there was not the least difficulty in preventing the escape of smoke and steam, and the regulations proposed to be laid down by the Board of Trade distinctly provided that that must be done. In all cases it was to be necessary that the tramway cars should be drawn without noise, smoke, or steam, and in that case they could be driven with safety to the animal power engaged in drawing other vehicles. Whether the House were willing to adopt the principle of permitting the use of mechanical power or not, he should oppose the Amendment of his hon. and gallant Friend behind him, and should vote for the third reading of the Bill.
§ MR. HUSSEY VIVIAN
said, the Bill raised a very important question, and he did not think he would be occupying the time of the House unnecessarily if he said a few words upon it, having had personal experience of the working of these engines on a road in his immediate neighbourhood. There was an ancient tramroad, which extended for about five miles along the Bay of Swansea, and close to his own residence. It had existed as a tramroad for some 70 years, or perhaps more. It became disused for the purposes for which it was 1585 originally constructed, and it was afterwards converted into a horse tramroad for the conveyance of passengers from Swansea to the village of Oystermouth, five miles away. The tramroad had been worked for this purpose for about 15 years, and it had satisfied every possible requirement. It had conveyed a large number of passengers for this distance of five miles without the slightest inconvenience to anybody. He was not aware that any accident had ever occurred. Everybody was perfectly satisfied, and the accommodation afforded to the locality was complete and satisfactory. He had himself, when he had the honour of commanding a Volunteer regiment, conveyed the regiment, 600 strong, along the tramway line without the slightest difficulty. Of course, he meant in a series of cars, drawn by horses; and that, too, on a day when there was considerable traffic, because it was necessarily a holiday. A short while ago the tramway was purchased by a London Company, and they proceeded last year, about the month of August, to put upon it one of these locomotive engines. He had no sort of prejudice against the use of the engine; on the contrary, he was rather glad to see that the engine was placed upon it, as he hoped an improvement in the shape of lowering the fares would be secured, and that the public would gain an advantage. The engine worked very badly, and in the month of December improved engines of the same kind as these proposed to be used on street tramways were introduced, since which people residing in the district had had practical proof of the working of these so-called noiseless engines. The tramway was situated immediately adjoining the turnpike road. It was not on the turnpike road, and was, therefore, not so disadvantageously placed as an ordinary tramway. It ran alongside the turnpike road, which was not deprived of any of its original width. The House would, perhaps, consider that this was an exceptionally favourable state of things. The tramway did not occupy the centre of the road, as was usually the case, but passed alongside the road, and yet so much inconvenience was experienced from the passing of this engine, that many persons were afraid to drive along the road at all. The engines in use were the smokeless, noiseless, and steamless 1586 engines, which were to be used under this Bill; but they were neither noiseless nor steamless. He gave this as a fact within his own knowledge, and he thought that hon. Gentlemen who had sat upon this Committee had been misled by the statements of engineers; at any rate, they had not had the experience he (Mr. Hussey Vivian) had had of these engines, and he was prepared, without the slightest hesitation, to say that the engines were neither noiseless nor steamless. Smokeless they might be, because it was possible to use fuel which would not send out smoke; but noiseless or steamless they were not. On the contrary, the noise of the engines could be heard for a long distance. He had heard it himself for more than half-a-mile, and he was told by others that they had heard it for more than a mile-and-a-half. The noise made by the trains in running along the line was very considerable indeed, and he was quite certain, from the knowlege he possessed of mechanics, that they could not construct an engine and make it run at the rate of some eight miles an hour without its making considerable noise. Then, again, they could not construct a steam engine from which it would be possible to prevent steam escaping at times. It was quite clear that every steam engine must have a safety valve. It was ridiculous to suppose that they could construct a steam engine without a safety valve, and from time to time the steam must escape from the valve. Then, again, the engine would prime in consequence of the water collecting in the cylinder, and that water must be driven off by steam. He had, in fact, seen the steam constantly escaping. Horses were also frightened by the fire of the engine. At night there was the reflection of the fire on the road, and thus meeting one of these engines at night was calculated to frighten horses seriously. There was no doubt about this fact, because it occurred from day to day. Horses were constantly frightened; and, as a matter of fact, his own family had been almost driven off the road in consequence of the running of the tramway engines. He believed that engines would not have been allowed on the line, if it had not been an existing tramway; and the persons who were aggrieved contended that the Company had no right to use engines upon it, although it was an existing 1587 tramway. He had himself brought the matter before the County Road Board. They had commenced a prosecution, which was sub judice, and the decision expected shortly in the Court of Chancery. Various affidavits had been made in support of the injunction prayed for. The injunction was to restrain the use of locomotives upon the line; and, perhaps, the House would allow him to read the affidavit of a farmer with regard to an accident which happened to him not very long ago. John Beynon, a farmer of Oystermouth, in the county of Glamorgan, said that—On Saturday, the 22nd of December, 1877, he was returning from Swansea, about 6 o'clock in the evening, and that, after passing the turnpike gate, he heard the tram-engine coming from Swansea, there being at the time two carriages in front of him, and a large omnibus immediately behind, which wanted to pass. He had to draw his horse to the left hand side of the road, nearest the tramway, in order to allow the omnibus to pass, and as the tram-engine came up, it greatly frightened the horse, which started off and came in contact with the omnibus. The vehicle was overthrown, and his wife and himself were both thrown out. His wife had her shoulder much bruised, and he himself fell upon his head, which was badly cut. He was taken home and attended by the doctor for five weeks, during which time he was unable to leave his house, and he had not recovered yet; and, indeed, he had been told by the doctor he never would get over it completely.There were numerous affidavits with regard to other accidents, and he need not remind the House that this was not the case of a narrow street, but of a turnpike road with open ground around it. He asked the House if they were prepared to pass incidentally, and in this manner, clauses which would introduce such a system as this into the main thoroughfares of the large towns? He did not regard this as a broad question which had already been thoroughly discussed and settled by the House. Very few hon. Members knew that the question was coming before the House that day. When he himself heard it, he had to hunt through the Papers in order to ascertain how it was to come before the House, and he discovered that it was to be brought forward, incidentally, in certain clauses, which had been introduced into a Private Bill. It was quite true that the Committee had investigated the case; but, unfortunately, they had only had one side before them, and he 1588 had not had time to read the evidence. The Report of the Committee was dated the 7th of June. The House rose on the 7th of June for the Holidays, and he really had not had time yet to read the evidence upon which the Report was based. Indeed, he doubted whether any hon. Member had had time to read it. He contended, therefore, that if the House sanctioned this Bill, they would be passing an Act and admitting a principle which would drive the public off the roads of the country. He was perfectly certain that the House was not aware of the danger of legislating in this incidental manner. If steam power were to be sanctioned, let the question be thoroughly discussed in the House. The Report of the Committee itself showed that the Committee were in doubt whether they had sufficient evidence before them to act upon. They said—A difficulty at once presented itself to your Committee. Parliament had, in two instances, sanctioned the use of steam for the experimental use of mechanical power; but the instances were too few, and the trials of too partial a character, to allow a definite judgment to be formed.Nevertheless, although the Committee said the instances were too few to allow a definite judgment to be formed, the House was called upon to legislate as if the most definite judgment possible had been formed. He ventured to say that it would be unwise and precipitate legislation. If they were going to adopt a new principle, let them thoroughly consider and discuss it, and think it out. Some statements, had been made in regard to the use of steam tramways in Paris. He was in Paris last week, but he saw no engines in use. He saw hundreds of horse-cars working well, and without any strain upon the horses. He did remember once, two or three years ago, near the Gare de Lyon, seeing one of these things running; but if they had been successful in Paris, they would, long before this, have had them running in all the great thoroughfares. The lines which run up to the Exposition were worked by horse power, and he contended that they could work tramways by horse power, not only without inhumanity, but with perfect safety and economy. He had seen them working both in Paris and America; and with proper brakes, 1589 such as were used in those countries, the carriages could be stopped instantaneously. There was no sort of safety which could be gained by the use of locomotive power, which could not far better be gained by the use of horse power. The argument had been used that the horses were soon worked out, and rendered unfit for service. That could easily be prevented by adapting the weight of the draught to the power of the horses. In that case, the horse would be no more worn out than in drawing a carriage. There was nothing to prevent horses being used with humanity in connection with the tramway system. He would not detain the House longer, and would simply add that he did not believe the public would obtain any saving in consequence of the use of steam power. He believed that it would turn out in the end that it was just as expensive, and the public would gain no benefit. He would not have detained the House at such length if it had not been that he was anxious to give the result of his own personal experience in connection with the use of steam upon tramways.
§ MR. BATES,
as a Member of the Committee, supported the Bill. The Committee were intrusted by the House of Commons to take evidence, and they had formed their opinion entirely on the evidence they had taken. He must say that the evidence brought before the Committee was such that he was compelled, even against his will, to assent to the propriety of authorizing the use of steam. The only objection he took was to the speed at which engines were to travel. He did think that eight miles an hour in towns so densely populated as these of Lancashire, where these tramways were proposed to be made—such as Blackburn, Accrington, and Darwen—where factory children were coming out in large numbers at stated hours, was too great a speed, and that there ought to be some alteration in that respect.
§ MR. W. HOLMS
said, that having been a Member of the Select Committee on Tramways, he might be allowed to say a few words. The questions remitted to the Committee to consider were—first, whether or not steam should be allowed to apply to tramways; secondly, if so, under what rules and regulations it was to be applied; and, lastly, to adapt 1590 those rules and regulations to certain Bills and Provisional Orders? With one exception—namely, with regard to the speed at which the tramway locomotives were to run—the Committee were perfectly unanimous in the conclusions they arrived at, and the rules and regulations which they thought ought to be laid down. The hon. and gallant Member for West Sussex (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) had, he thought, shown undue fear as to the application of steam to tramways—especially upon narrow roads. In every case power was given to the local authorities to say whether these engines should be run on narrow roads or not. The Committee thought that the persons locally connected with the district were the best judges of the necessity of the case. Moreover, they gave the right of appeal to the general public to the Board of Trade in the event of danger being apprehended. The hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn) had told the House that the public roads were made at the public expense, and he seemed to infer that the tramways were allowed to use the roads for nothing. He (Mr. W. Holms) thought the evidence showed, as a rule, that the local authorities called on the tramway authorities to bear an unduly large proportion of the expense of repairing the roads. The Committee had evidence from Paris, Philadelphia, Hesse-Cassel, and Glasgow, to the effect that in these cities steam power was in use, and that the cars could be pulled up in as short a space as cars drawn by horses. Then, again, it was proved that tramcars drawn by steam could easily run over gradients that would be almost unworkable by horse power. The hon. Member for Glamorganshire (Mr. Hussey Vivian) said that in his part of the country steam tramways had been found neither smokeless, noiseless, nor steamless. The hon. Member ought, therefore, to accept the regulations embodied in the present Bill, because they gave power to the public to appeal to the Board of Trade to have such tramways stopped if they did not comply with the regulations laid down with reference to steam, smoke, and noise. He wished, further, to point out that, instead of fixing an indefinite period for the existence of these tramways, the Committee had laid down as one of the leading principles that should not be allowed for a longer fixed 1591 period than seven years. At the end of seven years they might be subject to further regulations, and must necessarily come under the notice both of the local authorities and the Board of Trade. He would only add that the importance of the question could scarcely be overrated. They all deplored that their great cities and towns were so over-crowded. If they were to lessen that over-crowding, the best means of attaining the object would be by passing those Tramway Bills and Provisional Orders, the object of which was to provide means for the conveyance of large masses of the people by cheap and easy methods.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
thought, in connection with tramways, that it would be found to be necessary to give the Board of Trade concurrent authority in all matters connected with the use of steam on railways. There were defects in the present regulations; but it was admitted that, so far, the use of steam had only been sanctioned as an experiment. He saw that the hon. and gallant Member for South Durham (Colonel Beaumont), who had already spoken in favour of the Bill, had placed upon the Notice Paper a Question upon the subject, namely—To ask the President of the Board of Trade, Whether he is empowered to grant licences for the experimental use of steam or other mechanical power on Tramways, in accordance with the paragraph 8 of the Report of the Select Committee on Tramways (Use of Mechanical Power) Bills; and, if not, whether the Government will bring in a Bill authorizing the Board of Trade to place all Tramway Companies on the same footing, whether they have or have not applied during the present Session of Parliament for the Confirmation of Provisional Orders?It was evident that the hon. Member considered the use of steam sanctioned by the Select Committee as an experiment; and it was evident from what had fallen from the hon. Member for Glamorganshire (Mr. Hussey Vivian), that it was not always a successful experiment. He (Mr. Newdegate) doubted very much whether, as the evidence which the hon. Member had been good enough to read to the House had never reached the Committee, the Committee were fully aware of the dangers and inconveniences which might result from the use of steam power on tramways. What he would, therefore, suggest was this—that these Bills should be postponed, 1592 and that the House, before venturing further upon this experiment, should consider whether some extended powers, in connection with the use of steam on tramways, should not be given to the Board of Trade before such use was permitted; because, hereafter, they might be told, notwithstanding the seven years' limit, that if any interference was attempted they would be sacrificing the capital which had been invested. In justice to these who contemplated the use of steam power, he thought the Board of Trade ought at once to be armed with a power of interference.
was anxious to say a few words in answer to the speech of the hon. Member for Glamorganshire (Mr. Hussey Vivian), having been a Member of the Committee to whom these Bills had been referred. It so happened that the Committee heard a great deal, during the time they were engaged in their deliberations, of the Swansea Tramway referred to by the hon. Member, as they had to deal with another tramway, upon which it was not proposed to use steam power at all; but which was intended to join the Oystermouth Tramway, and in this way the Oystermouth Tramway came before them. They found that the Oystermouth Tramway was a tramway which had used steam power without any authority at all, and was subject to no regulations. The Board of Trade, in point of fact, had no control over it, and the Company could run any engine they liked, and at any speed they pleased. It was not wonderful that, under these circumstances, the Oystermouth Tramway had become a nuisance to the neighbourhood. But if a tramway under this Bill were authorized, the Board of Trade could stop it at any time, if the rules laid down for the regulation of tramways were not carried out, or impose penalties for their own observance. It was very important, when the House came to divide upon the question, that no hon. Member should be under the impression that the experiences related to the House by the hon. Member for Glamorganshire were likely to occur under the present Bill.
§ MR. HUSSEY VIVIAN
said, the engines used upon the Oystermouth Tramway were similar to these which were proposed to be used in the case of these Bills. They were known, he believed, as the "Hughes' Patent Engine," and 1593 they were said to be noiseless and steamless, and further, they limited themselves to a speed of eight miles an hour.
said, the Committee had evidence from the owners of the Oystermouth Tramway that they proposed to run their trams at a rate of 15 or 20 miles an hour.
COLONEL LOYD LINDSAY
said, he was a perfectly impartial witness in the case; but he wished to give his experience in opposition to that of the hon. Member for Glamorganshire (Mr. Hussey Vivian). After the remarks that had been made by that hon. Member and the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn), he felt that he ought not to sit still and not say a word. His experience had been gained in connection with a tramway which had been constructed in his own neighbourhood—namely, in the town of Wantage. It was a tramway of about 2½ or 3 miles in length, and it had given universal satisfaction. [An hon. MEMBER: Is it a steam tramway?] It was a steam tramway. They had a horse tramway originally, but found that it would not pay as a horse tramway; the wear and tear of horseflesh was very large; so they determined to ask for steam power, and they obtained it. They had now been running for more than a year, and their work was perfectly satisfactory. So far as horse tramways were concerned, he believed the most painful work they could put a horse to was drawing a tramway car. It was positive cruelty to horseflesh. It reduced the life of a horse to an average of about four years, while its value was reduced to £6 or £7. In fact, when it was done with for tramway purposes, it was only fit for the knacker's yard. Since steam had been established upon the Wantage Tramways no inconvenience had been sustained by the other traffic. He had ridden his own horses by the steam car; and, in addition, he might say that it was a neighbourhood from which valuable horses were constantly being sent to and fro from the stables in the district to the railway station. They passed these tram cars four or five times a-day, and he had never heard of any loss or any accident. In addition to that, the poor people who used the cars were able to ride in comfort and luxury. The working men upon his farms, for a fare of 2d., could have a ride of two miles. They were able to 1594 go backwards and forwards for that small sum, and they would save the great loss of time involved in walking. Under these circumstances, he earnestly hoped that the House would not reject the Bill; but that, by passing it, they would enable the working men of other localities to enjoy the luxury and comfort of travelling which had been enjoyed not only by himself, but by a large number of poor people in the district in which he resided.
§ MR. KNATCHBULL-HUGESSEN
said, he wished to make one or two observations upon a point which had not, as yet, been adverted to. He wished to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if steam were to be allowed on these tramways, in what respect would the tramways differ from railways, except that they would run on roads made for them by other people, whereas the railways were on roads constructed at great expense by the companies which worked them? He should like, also, to ask, whether the tramways would, or would not, be subject to the railway passenger duty? because, if they were, he should, at least, have the satisfaction of knowing that if he voted for this Bill, he should be aiding the increase of the country's Revenue; if they were not, they would be placed in a position of very unfair advantage over the railways of the country.
§ MR. T. E. SMITH
believed that tramways worked under steam power were worked much more quietly and noiselessly than these which were drawn by horses. In fact, one of these steam tramcars did not make one-half the noise which an ordinary tramcar made in the streets at the present time, or one-fourth of the noise which a steam roller made upon the Thames Embankment every day of the week. Under these circumstances, he thought it would be of great advantage to pass the present Bill. He believed that what had been already said had been quite true—that the opposition to the introduction of steam power was really an opposition to tramways generally, and the objection entertained to tramways was due in a great respect, he was afraid, to the unsatisfactory supervision which existed over the rails as they were now laid down. It was a most extraordinary thing that in London the rails were of a worse pattern than in any other town in Europe. 1595 On the Continent no inconvenience whatever was sustained from the rails; but in London the rails were only equalled by these in America, and were, undoubtedly, a nuisance. He was satisfied that steam cars would be much less nuisances than horse cars.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he had nothing to say in regard to the general merits of these Bills for the use of steam power on tramways; but he had risen principally to answer the question of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Knatch bull-Hugessen). He believed there was a clause in one of the Bills now before the House, by which it was proposed—That notwithstanding anything contained in this Order, the promoters or any persons using any tramways &c., shall be subject and liable to the provisions of any general Act which may now, or hereafter, he obtained in this or any future Session of Parliament, or by which any tax or duty may be granted or imposed for or in respect of tramways or of passengers conveyed thereupon.The question asked by the right hon. Gentleman was a very important one, in so far as it related to the intentions of Parliament. If Parliament passed these Bills, and gave power for the use of steam on tramways, the question of taxation must very properly be considered hereafter. At the present moment, he apprehended the position of the House to be this—The question of the use of steam on tramways had been raised upon a certain number of Provisional Orders and Private Bills. Each of the cases had been investigated upon its merits by the same Select Committee. That Committee had decided, first of all, that certain regulations should be introduced in all cases in which steam power was to be allowed; and, secondly, it had decided to recommend that in the case of each individual Bill, it was a proper case for the application of steam. It was obvious that if they were to allow steam power to be used, it was impossible not to allow it in cases where the same state of things prevailed. Of course, each case must necessarily be examined on its merits. As to what the particular merits of that Bill might be, he had no knowledge at all, except that the Committee had recommended the House to pass it. The merits of the case did not, however, attract much attention in the discussion; but the discussion 1596 had rather turned upon the question whether steam power was to be used at all. If it were to be used, it must be used under regulations. Regulations had been prepared by the Committee, which had paid great attention to the subject. These regulations were inserted to prevent danger, and they went, as far as possible, to mitigate any inconvenience which was likely to arise to the public. They also laid down further restrictions, and gave power to the public and to the local authorities to appeal for further protection to the Board of Trade. If it were necessary to give further powers, he imagined they might easily be given. He apprehended there would be no difficulty in making further regulations; and, considering the care with which the subject had been investigated by the Committee, he thought it only reasonable that the House should adopt the conclusions of the Committee.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, that before the House went to a division, he should like to put a question. It was said that in regard to these who travelled by these tramways, the use of steam would probably cheapen the fares and facilitate the convenience to the public. The question he wished to put had reference, however, to the people who did not travel by them, but who were likely to be injured by them. In the 21st clause of the Bill, it was provided that securities for the protection and convenience of the public should be laid down by the Board of Trade, and the clause made reference to Schedule A, in which the securities were tabulated. The House had been told that the Committee had come to the conclusion that in principle it was desirable that the use of steam should be permitted, instead of horse power upon tramways, provided that due securities were taken for the protection of the public. He wished to ask the hon. Gentleman the Member for Warwick, whether, looking at the Bill as it now stood, his opinion as Chairman of the Committee was, that the securities now embodied in the Bill were such as the Committee intended the public should have, and were sufficient for the security of the public who did not travel by tramways?
§ MR. ARTHUR PEEL
remarked, that if he were in Order in replying to the question of the noble Lord, he would say that the Committee very carefully 1597 considered the mechanical appliances that were to provide safeguards for the protection of the public; and they took as their text some regulations which had already been drawn up by the Board of Trade. They examined the regulations on their merits, and had adopted some and modified others. Certain suggestions which were made to the Committee were rejected, on the ground that they were unnecessary or were deemed to be dangerous, because they would tend to confuse the driver, and to take off from him the responsibility which should properly attach to him. Then, again, other suggestions were rejected, because they were such as mechanical science had not perfected; and therefore it was considered that the present was not the time for insisting upon them. Powers were, however, given to the Board of Trade to make fresh bye-laws from time to time in regard to these mechanical appliances, if they should consider alterations or additional regulations to be necessary; and the bye-laws, so made, would apply to every Private Bill and every Provisional Order.
MR. MAC IVER
was of opinion that the Bill ought not to be passed until ample securities were provided for the protection of the public.
§ MR. GRAY
trusted, that if the House did not think fit to pass the Bill, the proposal for adjourning the consideration of the question would be agreed to; because it would be a great injustice to the promoters of these six Bills, which were introduced at the beginning of the Session, to reject them after they had been affirmed by the Select Committee. He understood that these were the only Tramway Bills which contained powers for the use of steam; and he had no doubt whatever that the promoters would be ready to strike out, if it were necessary, all the provisions relating to the use of steam, rather than lose the entire measure. The Motion now proposed by the hon. and gallant Baronet the Member for West Sussex (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) was to reject the Bills entirely. He (Mr. Gray) thought that would be unjust and unwise. 1598 Tramways were very much desired by the public, and, even with the clauses relating to steam struck out, the Bills now before the House would be very useful. The sweeping proposition of the hon. and gallant Member for West Sussex would, therefore, not only be a terrible injustice to the promoters, but would occasion great inconvenience to the public. All that discussion would have been avoided, if the Government had taken a bolder course in reference to the matter. Last year the Govern-introduced a Bill dealing with the question of the use of steam on tramways, and why they had not again introduced it this year he (Mr. Gray) was at a loss to know. It would have been far better for the Government to have taken up the question as proposed last year, instead of leaving it to be settled by a Select Committee upon a Private Bill.
§ MR. PULESTON
thought it would be hard that these Bills should be rejected merely because they contained provisions for the use of steam power. He had authority from the persons who represented the promoters of two of the Bills to say that they did not value at all the provisions for the use of steam power in proportion to the passing of the rest of their measures. He would, therefore, if in Order, move that the Bill be re-committed, with the view of allowing the matter to be reconsidered.
§ MR. SPEAKER
There is already an Amendment before the House, and no other Amendment can be moved until that has been disposed of.
§ SIR JOSEPH M'KENNA moved the adjournment of the debate.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned." —(Sir Joseph M'Kenna.)
§ MR. RAIKES
hoped the hon. Member for Youghal (Sir Joseph M'Kenna), who had moved the adjournment of the debate, would not persevere with that Motion. The matter had now received 1599 very full consideration at the hands of the House, and it was hardly to be expected that a greater amount of information would be supplied in any future debate than they had already before them. He (Mr. Raikes) had not intended to take any part in the debate, because he thought the course taken by the Select Committee had been sufficiently vindicated by the hon. Member for Warwick (Mr. A. Peel). Whatever his (Mr. Raikes's) opinion might be in regard to the abstract question, he could not help feeling that the matter had been carefully investigated by the Committee. He spoke himself as one who was not altogether in love with the use of locomotives or steam power on the public roads. He viewed with dissatisfaction and some distrust the course taken by the Legislature of late years in allowing engines of this sort to perambulate the public roads; but, in regard to these particular Bills, he thought the House at that time was dealing too late with the question. This discussion should have been raised at the proper time, inasmuch as the objections taken by the hon. and gallant Member for West Sussex and the hon. Member for Glamorganshire were second reading objections, and not objections which applied to the third reading. When the matter was brought before the House in the first instance—and he (Mr. Raikes) had called attention to these Bills as early as the 8th of February in the present year—that was the proper time for raising the question. He was bound to say that it would be very hard upon the promoters of these particular Bills, that, because the House had suddenly changed its mind, they should suffer for what was not their own fault. It appeared to him—although he did not concur in all the recommendations of the Select Committee, and although he should watch with some little interest and some little doubt the result of the experiment now proposed—it appeared to him that they would be doing an injustice to the suitors to Parliament if they were to refuse to read these Bills a third time. Under these circumstances, he trusted the hon. Member for Youghal would not persevere with his Motion; but that the House would be allowed to come to a conclusion upon the Aberdeen Bill, which might facilitate the progress of the other measures. He reminded 1600 the House that the Bills would still have to go to the House of Lords, and that the principle involved in them might be raised there.
§ SIR JOSEPH M'KENNA
said, that under these circumstances, so ably pointed out by the hon. Gentleman the Chairman of Committees, he would ask leave of the House to withdraw his Motion.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Question again proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ MR. PARNELL
wished to ask a question before the House came to a division. The hon. Member for Tipperary (Mr. Gray) had pointed out to the House that last year the Government proposed a Tramway Bill which was not proceeded with, but referred to a Select Committee, which Committee had since reported. He wished to know if the Government had any intention of considering the whole question of the use of steam power on tramways, and of initiating legislation upon the subject; or, whether they proposed to leave it to individual tramway companies to include provisions of this nature in their applications to Parliament? He was desirous of pointing out to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that the course of the House would be very much simplified if the Government would grapple with the subject by independent legislation of their own. There would then be no necessity for continual discussions on the subject of motive power on tramways, whenever Bills of this kind came on for consideration.
§ MR. DELAHUNTY
did not think that the powers now asked for by private companies of using steam power upon the public roads had been sufficiently considered, and the Bill ought not to pass the third reading until the clauses relating to steam were removed from it. The Bill would be very easily disposed of if these clauses were taken away. He gathered from the discussion which had taken place that the public were asked to give up half the road to private companies, and, in addition, to allow steam engines to run upon the roads, which would have the effect of depriving the public of the entire use of the road in any instance. He fully endorsed 1601 what the hon. Member for Glamorganshire (Mr. Hussey Vivian) had said—that by allowing steam tramways to be used upon the public road, they actually made a present of the road to the tramway company. If, then, there were to be a steam tramway upon a public road, he thought it ought to belong to the road authorities, and the Government should give power to the local authorities to establish steam tramways wherever it was considered necessary. He was in favour of having tramways and railroads in all directions, but he thought that the tramways on the public roads should be under the control of the local authorities. Under these circumstances, and being of opinion that these tramway Bills should be postponed until proper provision was made for the protection of the public, he would move that the debate be adjourned.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Delahunty.)
§ VISCOUNT SANDON
stated, that he was not responsible for any legislation which had taken place upon the question, either last Session or in the present; but, in answer to the question which had been put by the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Parnell), he must say that as far as the Government were concerned they did not see at the present moment any necessity for general legislation upon the question. Of course, it would be necessary for the House to consider the matter carefully. He believed, however, that it been very carefully inquired into by the Select Committee, and the reasons they gave for affirming these Bills were so strong as to make it right not to oppose the decision to which they had arrived. That was the position which the Government assumed, and he hoped the House would be satisfied that there had been no haste in the matter. The subject had been fully investigated, not only by the Committee which sat this year, but by a Committee which sat all through last year, and which reported in favour of authorizing the use of steam on tramways.
§ MR. BIGGAR,
thought it would be well to adjourn the consideration of these Bills, so as to give an opportunity for striking out the steam clauses rather than sacrifice the whole measure. The Committee who investigated the subject 1602 had reported that it was desirable that steam tramways, under certain restrictions, should be permitted; but the House did not know whether or not these particular conditions applied to the Bill now before them. Of that they had no evidence whatever. Another question also arose—namely, to what extent the Committee which sat upon these Bills were informed of the real facts of the case? He was one who thought that the evidence adduced by the promoters of the Bills was not likely to be thoroughly impartial. The promoters, no doubt, made out the best case they could, and any evidence they tendered would be that of parties who were settled with outside before the matter came on for decision. For these reasons, he thought it desirable that a general Act should be brought in by the Government, which should apply to the whole question, and upon which there might be a full opportunity for discussion. He thought the best course would be to adjourn the debate.
§ Question put, and negatived.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 216; Noes 119: Majority 97.—(Div. List, No. 173.)
§ On Question, "That the Bill be now read the third time?"
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, he understood that the House had now divided in favour of the third reading of the Bill. It appeared to him that, on the part of a large number of hon. Members, there was a very serious doubt as to whether the steam clauses imported into the Bill, and which involved a most important principle, had been sufficiently considered. It was thought right to bring under the notice of the Government the propriety of giving further powers to the Board of Trade for the regulation of tramways. He was strongly of opinion that the question of authorizing the use of steam on tramways ought to be further considered. He would, therefore, move that the Bill be re-committed, with a view to the further consideration of the clauses which gave the power of working these tramways by steam.
§ MR. SPEAKER
I wish to point out to the hon. Member that, after the vote 1603 of the House upon the Amendment moved by the hon. and gallant Member for West Sussex, no other Amendment can be moved. The Question I have now to put is, that the Bill be now read the third time.
§ Question put, and agreed, to.
§ Bill read the third time, and passed.