§ MR. CHANNING (Northampton, E.)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether the Report of Sir John Fowler to the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway as to the bridges, includes a Report as to the stability of the bridge over the Thames; whether he will consider the advisability of issuing a General Order, under the provisions of Section 32 of "The Railway and Canal Traffic Act, 1888," directing the companies to furnish a statement of the condition and stability of the bridges, and as to the dates of the inspection and testing of such bridges; and whether, having regard to the evidence that the bridge which failed at Norwood Junction had not been inspected from below for 10 years, he will represent to the companies the urgent necessity of adequate inspection of railway bridges every year?
§ *SIR M. HICKS BEACH
The hon. Member will find in the Report of Sir John Fowler—a copy of which was presented to Parliament on Thursday last—that it is stated thatThe Victoria Bridge is a strong and good bridge in every respect, and will be so for very many years. The timber of the permanent 1065 way now requires renewal, and this is being done; being an arched bridge, passing trains cause a movement which may be termed a 'vibration' as distinguished from a movement or deflection of an ordinary girder bridge, which has less vibration although probably more movement. No anxiety whatever need be felt about the Victoria Bridge.In 1885 the Board of Trade issued a Circular calling the attention of all Railway Companies to the subject of railway bridges constructed of iron, and it appeared from the replies to that Circular that the companies were carefully and continuously watching the bridges. During the period which has elapsed since that Circular was sent, the Railway Companies, generally, have, to a large extent, renewed and repaired the bridges upon their systems. The whole subject is now receiving my careful consideration, and I may have occasion to address a farther Circular to the companies generally on it.
§ MR. CHANNING
Is the point which the right hon. Gentleman is contemplating the propriety of calling the attention of the company to the desirability of a periodical inspection?
§ *SIR M. HICKS BEACH
I have in-formed the hon. Gentleman that I am considering the propriety of addressing a further Circular to the companies.