§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
asked the Postmaster General, What mails are being, and have been, sent by the Cork and Macroom Railway Company, and whether there is any contract between the Company and the Post Office for the carriage of mails; whether it is a fact that they are booked as parcels; whether the Carriers Act protects all Railway Companies for any loss of parcel above £10, unless the same is insured, and, accordingly, what security is given to the public for the safe transmission and delivery of valuable letters; and, for what reason do the authorities endeavour to avoid paying this Company the legitimate revenue which other lines receive for the carriage of mails; and, if so, can he explain why this Company is not paid by the Post Office in the same manner as other Railway Companies?
§ THE POSTMASTER GENERAL (Mr. RAIKES) () Cambridge University
A few small day mail bags are carried over the Cork and Macroom Railway, and there is no contract for the carriage of mails on this line. In 1885 the Department endeavoured to come to an agreement with the Company for a yearly payment for the conveyance of these mails; but the Company declined the offer made, and the mails are now carried under the provisions of the Railway and Canal Traffic Act, 1873. A charge at ordinary parcel rates is made by the company and paid by the Department. This practice will continue, unless the Company prefer to go to arbitration. The payments made as above amount to slightly less than the sum the Department offered, and appear to be fair and reasonable. The liability of the Railway Company as regards the safe transmission of these bags is the same which attaches to all Railway Companies in respect to the conveyance of mails. It is true that for a short time parcels were sent in the letter bags; but the practice has been discontinued since March, 1886, and the parcel mails are now sent separately. While it lasted, however, no injury was done to the Company, as the parcels, whether sent separately or otherwise, were duly accounted for to the London Railway Clearing Committee under the Post Office (Parcels) Act. Payments equivalent to parcel rates are accepted voluntarily for similar services in many other cases.