§ MR. CHANNING
asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether the Inspecting Officers of Railways have reported upon the various Railway coupling appliances that were exhibited at the Inventions Exhibition last year; and, if so, when will the Report be laid upon the Table; whether he is aware of the fact that the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants have voted the sum of five hundred pounds to assist in testing improved modes of Railway couplings; and, whether, having regard, to the great loss of life and limb consequent upon the present system of doing this dangerous part of Railway work, the Government will supplement this sum by a grant from the Treasury for the purpose of a thorough and practical investigation into this important question?
§ THE PRESIDENT (Mr. MUNDELLA)
The Railway Inspecting Officers have not reported to the Board of Trade upon the various railway coupling appliances that were exhibited at the Inventions Exhibition last year. Some of those officers were on the jury to whom those appliances were referred; and I believe the jury expressed an opinion with regard to the various inventions that were submitted to them. I am not aware that the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants have voted the sum of £500 to assist in testing improved methods of railway couplings; but I do know that some experiments have recently taken place under the auspices of that society in regard to those matters upon the London and South-Western Railway. With regard to the last paragraph of the hon. Member's Question, I am not prepared to recommend the Treasury to supplement the sum referred to for the purpose of further investigations in this important matter, for I do not think it would be desirable 1193 that the Board of Trade should assume the responsibility of deciding upon the respective merits of various inventions—a responsibility which must properly rest upon those who have the control and management of railways.