HC Deb 21 April 1891 vol 352 cc1021-4

Motion made, and Question proposed, " That the Bill be now read a second time."

MR. JORDAN (Clare, W.)

In rising to move that the Bill be read a second time on this day six months, I very much regret the necessity which compels me to take this course; but it arises simply from the fact that we have not been able to secure a satisfactory arrangement with the company. The company seeks powers (page 2 of the Bill) to divert a public road to Newry, to abolish a level crossing, and to acquire additional lands at Enniskillen in the county of Fermanagh, for the purpose of their undertaking. They say the powers they ask are for public and local convenience. That is the ostensible reason for which they promote the Bill, and if this were an honest effort to meet the requirements of the public, no one would be more willing than myself to assist them. But, in my opinion, their object is not to meet the local and public convenience, but to provide the minimum of convenience to the maximum of dividend. My charge against them is that they are adopting a cheese-paring policy, that their line and stations are untidy and insanitary, that their accommodation for third class passengers is inadequate and discreditable, and that their train service is insufficient for local purposes.


I rise to order. I wish to know if it is competent for the hon. Member to discuss the whole works and policy of this company upon a Motion for the rejection of a Bill which relates only to certain particulars and which is to be referred to a Select Committee.


I do not think that the hon. Member, although he is entering into a wide field, is altogether irregular. The Bill is down for Second Reading.


I was about to point out that this company have provided neither sufficient lavatory nor urinal accommodation for their passengers. Inmost cases their third-class carriages are not only old, but badly constructed and filthy, and they provide compartments with 8 or 10 rows of seats, instead of two, as you have in England, with draughts which, especially in winter, are insufferable. Then, again, there is an insufficient arrangement for smoking and nonsmoking compartments, to go into a non-smoking compartment is no protection against smokers, and the carriages are not upholstered as they are in England. I fail to see why a rich company paying 5 or 6 per cent. should not adapt their usages to those of England. I know it may be said that the company propose to alter this, but it is only a bare effort, and the seats upholstered as a trial were never so intended, and when upholstered will be too narrow and perpendicular. Then, again, there is very inadequate provision for the company's workmen, and they are allowed to enter the ordinary carriages in the dirtiest weather in their ordinary working clothes. [A laugh.] I quite understand that. The aristocracy know nothing about third class travelling, but in Ireland we are not overburdened with wealth, and we desire to make that which we have go as far as we can. For my own part, I would rather travel third class and be independent, than travel first on other people's money; but I do not object to workmen as such, but coming and going to their work, and in their working dress, they should have separate compartments. The train service by this company is most defective. No train arrives at Enniskillen from Dublin, Greenore, Dundalk, Belfast, and intermediate stations earlier than half-past 11 o'clock in the morning, and there is no train to those places from Enniskillen later than 4.25. Yet the company say that they are anxious to secure the convenience of the public. There can be no wonder that the trade and commerce of the district do not flourish when so little provision is made for it. Enniskillen has a population of 5,000 or 6,000, two weekly markets, a monthly fair, two Courts of Assizes, County Court sittings, and a sitting of the Land Commission every year. The Courts sit from 10 o'clock in the morning until 5 or 6 in the evening, and Judges demand the attendance of suitors, witnesses, and solicitors long before the arrival of the first train, detaining them until long after the departure of the last. The result is, that all of them have to drive into the town, or to remain until the following morning. Then, again, there is a flourishing school.


Order, order! I think the hon. Member is now going into too much detail. He is certainly exceeding the usual limits in giving reasons for moving the rejection of the Bill, and in opposing the powers asked for by this Railway Company.

SIR E. HARLAND (Belfast, N.)

I wish to inform the hon. Member that the Ardee branch of the Bill has been withdrawn.


As I was about to remark, at Enniskillen we have a large school.


I have already pointed out to the hon. Member that it is irregular to enter into these minute details.

MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)

By Clause 70 of their Bill the company ask for power to raise £120,000 additional capital, and also to borrow on mortgage, and I would humbly submit that in regard to these large powers it is legitimate to refer to their policy in the past. *MR. SPEAKER: The points raised by the hon. Member are details unsuitable to be urged in opposition to this Bill, and the particular objections he was making when I interposed were rather for the consideration of the Railway Commissioners.


As the company asks for large and extended powers on the ground that they are anxious to make Provision for the public convenience, I thought the manner in which they have provided for the public convenience in the past was a legitimate question to raise. Deputations from this part of the country have waited upon the Directors to endeavour to secure the reforms I have indicated, but I am afraid that their representations have been received with very scant courtesy. We have asked for the 7.15 train to be continued from Enniskillen to Clones in the evening. They now stop at Enniskillen, and we ask that they should go on 26 miles further to Clones, and for a train to leave Clones so as to arrive at Enniskillen between 9 and 10 in the morning, to suit pupils to the various schools and all others having business there.


Order, order! The hon. Member is directly violating the ruling I have given, and is pursuing exactly the same line of argument.


I have no desire to trespass upon the patience of the House or to prevent this company from getting their Bill. My only hope was that before the House consents to entrust them with such large and extended powers as the powers of borrowing money on mortgage and of raising additional capital, it would demand that some guarantee should be given as to their future course. I beg to move that the Bill be read a second time on this day six months.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word " now," and at the end of the Question, to add the words, " upon this day six months."—(Mr. Jordan.)

Question put, " That the word now' stand part of the Question."

(2.20.) The House divided:—Ayes 123; Noes 35.—(Div. List, No. 144.)

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read a second time, and committed.

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