§ MR. CHANNING (Northampton, E.)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that at an inquest held on Thursday 4th February, at Portsmouth, near Todmorden, on James Hamworth, who was killed on 2nd February at Portsmouth level crossing, the jury requested the Coroner to make representations to the Directors of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company as to the dangerous arrangements at Portsmouth Station; also that at an inquest held in 1891 on a little girl named Sarah Dawson, who was killed at Walsden level crossing on the same branch of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, the jury gave their opinionthat the company are practically responsible for this death, which would have been avoided had they constructed the bridge according to the plans deposited with the Todmorden Local Board two years ago, and that they are deserving of the severest censure for their negligence in this matter";whether he has observed that it appears from the evidence that about 30 children have to pass this crossing three times a day to attend school; whether he is aware that on the same branch line there are seven other dangerous level crossings, some of which are daily used by several hundreds of persons; and whether, having regard to the repeated accidents at these crossings, he will direct an inquiry to be held by an Inspector of the Board of Trade into the circumstances of the fatal accidents at Walsden and Portsmouth level crossings, and make urgent representations to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company that they should promptly provide bridges or subways where necessary?
§ * SIR MICHAEL HICKS BEACH
The facts are as stated in the first paragraph of the hon. Member's question. As regards the accident to James Ham-worth, the Board of Trade have been in communication with the company, who have stated that their engineer had, prior to the accident in question, been instructed to prepare plans for providing additional accommodation. I think it right, however, to state that the unfortunate man who was killed refused to follow the warnings of the company's servants. As regards the accident to Sarah Dawson at the Walden level 889 crossing, I have also been in communication with the company, who have undertaken, pending the erection of a bridge, that a man shall be stationed at the level crossing to superintend the gates. I am informed by the company that the delay in erecting a bridge has been caused by difficulties in obtaining the necessary land. The Board of Trade had no information of the deposit of plans for the construction of a bridge with the Todmorden Local Board, but the necessity for the erection of a bridge will be further pressed on the company. There appear to be only three other crossings on the Todmorden and Burnley branch which cross public roads. I am informed that the traffic is not large on these roads; the crossings have been duly authorised by Parliament, and I have no power to order the erection of bridges.