HC Deb 15 May 1893 vol 12 cc904-6

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that five houses have recently been set on fire by sparks from engines of the Tralee and Dingle Railway, and two of them burned to the ground; whether any recommendations have heretofore been made by the Board of Trade to the Tralee and Dingle Railway, with a view to preventing such occurrences; and, if so, with what effect; if he can state the number of houses set on fire, and the number of horses and cattle killed and injured by the Tralee and Dingle Railway during the past 12 months; and whether any steps will be taken by the Board of Trade to prevent the continuance of the injuries done by this railway to the inhabitants of the district through which it runs, and for which injuries they and not the railway have to pay?


I have been in communication with the Company with reference to the hon. Member's question, and I am informed that only one house has been completely burned, another slightly damaged, and a forge belonging to the Company partially destroyed. I am also informed that ten head of cattle were killed and four injured by the Company's trains within the last 12 months; but in all these cases they were trespassing on the public road by night. All the engines are fitted with the most approved appliances to prevent the emission of sparks.


I beg also to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that lately a train on the Tralee and Dingle line left Tralee at 2 p.m. for Castlegrogory, and had to pull up twice between Camp and Castlegregory to raise steam, the delay on each occasion being for about half-an-hour; that when near Castlegregory, at a place called Kelly's Height, it was found that the engine was unable to pull the carriages up the hill, and that two of them were detached while the engine ran on with one for Castlegregory; that, before going far, the engine, going round a sharp curve, ran off the rails; that the travellers by the train had to walk into Castlegregory, where they were detained until 11 p.m., then another engine was sent from Dingle to take them back to Tralee, which place they reached after midnight; and whether, in view of the circumstance that this railway was passed by the Board of Trade Inspector as properly constructed and properly equipped, against the protest of the representative of the ratepayers of the district, the Board of Trade will take steps to have the condition of the line and the capacity of the engines investigated?


The facts are as stated. A light engine was run with the train in question in place of the heavy engine, which was undergoing repairs. The engine left the rails (partially) on a straight between two curves; but the Company can assign no reason for the accident except expansion of the rails caused by the very warm weather. An inquiry will be held into the cause of the accident; but it must be remembered that the circumstances of these light railways differ from those of an ordinary railway. I am not aware of any protest against the opening of the railway in 1891.