HC Deb 09 March 1880 vol 251 cc685-6

asked the President of the Board of Trade, If any more energetic and satisfactory steps have recently been taken by the Railway Companies to provide their trains with continuous brakes answering the requirements of the Board of Trade; and, if not, whether Her Majesty's Government adhere to the policy indicated in August 1878, that further action must be taken in that respect to compel the adoption of measures for the protection of the travelling public?


Sir, I can hardly say that the steps taken by the Railway Companies as to continuous brakes have been as energetic and as satisfactory as I could wish, for up to the present time only 1,114 out of 4,833 engines, and 11,302 out of 40,651 carriages, &c., in use, have been fitted with continuous brakes. Of these, 288 engines and 2,441 carriages, or 6 per cent, were fitted during the year 1878. In 1879 the progress was not very great, though it is slightly in excess of 1878—that is to say, 352 engines and 2,912 carriages, or 7 per cent, were fitted during that year. I cannot hold that these figures show any very rapid action. It is fair, however, to observe that the constant improvements which are being made in continuous brakes explain to a certain degree the hesitation of the Companies in coming to a decision on this matter, and they also certainly show how inexpedient it would be that Parliament, unless absolutely compelled by the want of action on the part of the Companies, should lay down a rule as to the adoption of some particular form of brake.