HC Deb 20 February 1879 vol 243 cc1508-9

asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether it is the intention of the Government to introduce, during the present Session, any measure for the better preventing of accidents on Railways?


Sir, we have not lost sight of the subject, but have been considering during the Recess the serious and difficult questions which are raised by the Report and recommendations of the Royal Commission on Railway Accidents. I would beg my hon. Friend to excuse me from stating the opinion of the Government on the subject until I bring in the Bill respecting the Railway Commission of which we have already given Notice.


asked the President of the Board of Trade, If his attention has been drawn to the case of a child five years old named Charles Richard Hindle, who was killed on Saturday last by a passing train at Harrison's Level Crossing on the London and Tilbury Railway; whether he is aware that within the last ten years six persons have been killed and several others seriously injured at the same place; if it is true that the Railway Company purpose laying down two more lines of rails, thus adding considerably to the danger; and, whether, looking at all the circumstances of the case, he will take steps to compel the Railway Company to prevent this destruction of human life?


Sir, I have heard with regret of the accident to which the hon. Gentleman alludes, a return of which has been received from the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company, and not from the London and Tilbury Company, as is stated in the Question. I fear it is too true that within the last 10 years six persons have been killed and several others seriously injured at the same place. I have no information as to whether the Company propose to lay down more lines of rail, nor have I any power to make inquiry from a Railway Company on the subject. On referring to a Paper which was laid before Parliament the year before last, I find that the Railway Company stated that they were prepared to take steps for the erection of a bridge at this dangerous spot, if the expense was shared with them by the Corporation of Blackburn; but that the apportionment of the expense between the two parties was the obstacle to carrying out the work. I would again remind the hon. Member that I have no power to insist upon any action in a matter of this kind; but whatever steps I can take to guard against the destruction of human life I will take.