§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ MR. A. C. MORTON (Peterborough)
I do not propose to trouble the House as regards the rates and charges of this railway, because I understand they have given way—and given way more readily than some other Companies—and I desire to give them credit for it. However, I may leave that till later on to see if they comply with the wishes of the agriculturists and traders of the country. I have another complaint to make against this Company, and that is as regards the accommodation given to third-class passengers. I, of course, do not desire to divide on the matter to-day, and I am only calling attention to it as a warning to the Railway Company. Last year I called attention to a similar matter in connection with the South-Eastern Company, who, however, did not take much notice of that warning, as their third-class passengers are treated as badly as ever. Some day, if Railway Companies do not do what is right and fair with regard to their third-class passengers, they will find the Radical and Democratic Party strong enough in this House to throw out their Bills regardless of any consequences whatever. Everyone knows, who studies the reports and balance-sheets of the Railway Companies, that they make their profits out of third-class passengers. In past times they used to treat these passengers like cattle, but the better they treated them the more profit they made out of them, so that in asking them to do what is right and proper with regard to third-class passengers, one is not asking them to lose money by them. With re- 1330 gard to this particular Company, I have myself on several occasions noticed five, six, or seven first and second-class carriages almost empty, whilst the two or three third-class carriages were so crowded that the people were packed like herrings in a barrel. Why cannot the Company get more third-class carriages and give their third-class passengers plenty of room? That would cost them no more. The Companies on the north side of the Thames—such as the London and North-Western, the Great Northern, the Midland, the Great Western, and even the Great Eastern, treat their third-class passengers much better than the lines on the southern side of the Thames, I notice that the South-Western Railway Company are putting on a very luxurious train from Southampton to London. This, probably, will not pay, and the third class passengers in other trains will be called upon to pay for the loss. This matter has been seriously considered by those who are compelled to travel in third-class carriages, and as time goes on they will certainly call on their Representatives in this House who grant these monopolies to see that justice is done to the third-class passengers. I hope therefore, that, without having recourse to throwing out a Private Bill which may have many good things in it, this Company will do what the Companies on the northern side of the Thames have done, to a large extent, with regard to their third-class passengers, and give them better accommodation, and treat them as they ought to be treated. I hope that the fact of attention having been called to the matter will induce this Company to do something speedily in that direction, and in that hope I beg for the present to withdraw my notice of opposition to this Bill.
§ MR. J. S. WALLACE (Tower Hamlets, Limehouse)
I do not desire to detain the House by going over the ground which has already been covered by my hon. Friend. I have, however, been requested to speak here on behalf of the third-class passengers, who complain of the overcrowding of the carriages of this Company, insufficiency of light, and want of cleanliness in the compartments. I think it desirable to draw the attention of the Company to these three 1331 matters in the hope that they will be remedied.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed.