HC Deb 14 September 1886 vol 309 cc338-9

asked the Secretary to the Treasury, Whether he is aware that the Post Office authorities have recently refused the Northern District Telephone Company permission to run wires, for the purpose of telephonic communication, over parts of the North Eastern Railway Company's system, although the Railways Company is willing to allow the necessary posts and wires to be erected; whether he is aware that, in consequence of that refusal, the Telephone Company is unable to connect several of the principal firms in Hartlepool with their telephone exchange system, thus depriving these firms of the advantage which other traders in the district possess of telephonic communication with the Tyne and Tees Districts, and with Sunderland; and, whether in view of the answer, he will state what course the Government propose to take in the matter?

THE POSTMASTER GENERAL (Mr. RAIKES) (Cambridge University)

My hon. Friend (Mr. Jackson) has asked me to answer the Question of the hon. and gallant Member. The Post Office has, subject to the concurrence of the Railways Company, granted permission in some cases to the Northern District Telephone Company to erect telegraphs on the North-Eastern Railway, and in some cases has refused it. I am not aware that several firms in Hartlepool have been deprived of telephonic communication. In May last a gentleman in West Hartlepool wrote to my Predecessor, representing that in consequence of a refusal on the part of the Post Office to allow the Telephone Company to erect a wire on railway property he was unable to have his office placed in communication with the Company's Exchange; and, in reply, it was stated to him that the case in which he was interested could not be traced, but that, if he would arrange with the Telephone Company to make an application for the purpose of extending a wire to his office, it would receive favourable consideration. Such application has, apparently, not reached the Department. On the 31st of last month a similar representation was received from another firm in West Hartlepool. It has been under inquiry, and I hope to be able to acquiesce in the wishes of the applicants.