§ MR. CLANCY
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether the West Donegal Railway Company, which is promoting and proposes to work the Killy begs Light Railway Line, possesses any rolling stock, and whether its own line is worked by the Finn Valley Railway Company at a loss to the latter body; whether, before deciding to make a grant in favour of the Killybegs line, he will take into account the inadvisability of allowing that line to be worked by a company which will be constantly under the temptation in its traffic arrangements to benefit its own shareholders at the expense of the ratepayers, who will have to guarantee any loss that may occur in respect of the working expenses of the proposed new line; whether the Killybegs and Baltimore Light. Railway lines have got any precedence over the other schemes projected under the Act of last year; and, if so, on what grounds; and whether it is intended to put up to competition the engineering as well as the construction of the light railway lines which may be finally sanctioned by the Treasury?
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. JACKSON, Leeds, N.)
I am informed that the rolling stock belongs to the West Donegal Company, although the line is worked under an agreement by the Finn Valley Company. The Finn Valley Company works the line for a percentage of the gross receipts, guaranteeing a minimum payment to the West Donegal Company, and up to the present the balance over the working expenses has not reached the minimum. The prospects have, I believe, improved since the line was completed into Donegal. I will certainly carefully consider how to secure that the Killybegs line is credited with its full share of the receipts and debited only with its proper share of expenditure in order to safeguard the interests of the county. The Killybegs line has got no precedence over other lines beyond the fact that they have made more progress with the proposals which they submitted to the Treasury. It is not intended to put up to competition 63 the preparation of the plans and working drawings, but care will be taken that the scale of payments for the plans shall be a reasonable one.
§ MR. CLANCY
Is it not a common practice to put up the engineering as well as the construction of these lines to competition, and is Mr. Barton, the promoter and engineer of this line, to be the only person with whom there shall he no competition?
§ MR. JACKSON
I should think it is not customary to put up the engineering to competition, because, until a plan has been prepared, no presentment can be made by the Grand Jury.