HC Deb 11 March 1889 vol 333 cc1378-9
Mr. KIMBER (Wandsworth)

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been drawn to the danger to life and limb reported in the Official Returns (General Report to Board of Trade, C. 5474, for 1887) incurred by railway shunters; that, in the year 1887, 124 were killed, and 1,207 injured, in the various shunting operations of railway service; that, in the 10 years ended 1887, the casualties in shunting amounted to 1,180 killed, and 12,459 wounded, and that, out of a staff of 6,261 men engaged in coupling and uncoupling vehicles, 3,594 had been killed or injured, whereas in the United States, since the compulsory adoption of automatic couplings by Act of Congress, dated 4th May, 1884, according to published Returns, there have only been 5 men killed for every 100 in the United Kingdom; and whether it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to introduce a Bill this Session to mitigate the dangers to which railway shunters are unnecessarily exposed?


The figures quoted by the hon. Member are not quite accurate, and the number of railway servants killed or injured in coupling or uncoupling vehicles must not be compared with the total of a staff of 6,261 men, as some servants besides shunters are employed for that purpose. I do not know to what returns the hon. Member refers as to similar accidents in the United States. As at present advised, I do not think it would be possible to compel the adoption of automatic couplings by Act of Parliament, but I am now endeavouring to obtain information on the various systems adopted, with a view to early legislation on the subject.