§ MR. PROVAND (Glasgow, Blackfriars)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade if his attention has been called to Major Marindin's Report to the Board of Trade on the causes of the fatal accident near Eastleigh on the London and South-Western Railway on the 12th July last, which he found was due to the non-observance of signals by the driver and fireman of a locomotive, and especially to the paragraph—It is not difficult to account for the conduct of these men who, I feel convinced, must, have been asleep, or nearly so, upon the engine, for they had at the time been on duty for nearly sixteen and a-half hours, and the driver had, he states, been suffering from neuralgia for some days; and that a driver cannot be considered to be in a fit and proper state to perform his very responsible duties after working for such a length of time, even when in the best of health.And his recommendation that—The employment of drivers for more than a reasonable number of consecutive hours should he absolutely prohibited.And whether he will bring in a Bill to carry out this recommendation, and prohibit the employment of locomotive drivers and firemen beyond a fixed number of hours, or, if not, will he oppose any Bill brought in by a private Member to effect this purpose?
§ The PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE (Sir MICHAEL HICKS BEACH, Bristol, W.)
Yes, Sir; my attention has been called to this important question, and I am in communication upon it with the Railway Association. I hope that the Railway Companies may themselves take action in the matter. In the meantime, I could not express an opinion with regard to the advisability of legislation.
§ MR. PROVAND
Arising out of the answer of the right hon. Baronet, may I ask what length of time the Railway Association has taken to return a reply?
§ SIR M. HICKS BEACH
The communication to the Railway Association has only recently been made. It is based upon certain accidents which have only occurred in the course of the present year.