§ MR. MACARTNEY (Antrim, S.)
I beg to ask the Postmaster General if he will explain why the English night mails for Belfast and other places in the North of Ireland, which have been carried over the City of Dublin Junction Railway (Loop Line) from 4th February until 27th July, have since that date been carted from Westland Row Station to Amiens Street Station, although the through passenger service is still carried on over the loop line; whether the Railway Company offered to continue the mail service as hitherto; and whether their offer has been accepted; and, if not, what arrangements have been made for the carriage of the northern mails over the loop line on and after 1st August, when the accelerated service will commence.
§ MR. RAIKES
The conveyance of the Belfast mails over the loop line has hitherto been purely experimental, and at the suggestion of the Railway Companies interested. So long as a fortnight ago I inquired of the companies on what terms they would enter upon a permanent arrangement. Their reply, naming what appears to me an excessive payment, only reached my hands an hour or two ago. The hon. Member will see that it is out of the question that I can make any definite arrangement without consideration. Meanwhile, the mails are being efficiently carried as formerly by road over a distance less than a mile now traversed by the railway as quick or even quicker than by rail.
§ MR. MACARTNEY
Will the right hon. Gentleman be prepared to make a binding agreement with the Railway Companies to carry the mails as they were carried up to a recent period?
§ MR. RAIKES
If the companies approach me in a reasonable spirit I am prepared to enter into an arrangement with them.