HC Deb 27 November 1893 vol 18 cc1789-91
MR. SNAPE (Lancashire, S.E., Hey-wood)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether Railway Companies are required in the construction of new lines to provide other than level crossings for the use of the public; whether the same obligations apply to existing railways; and on what grounds General Hutchinson recommends that the Ramsbottom Local Board should be asked to pay a portion of the cost of providing a vehicular and passenger subway under the level crossing at Ramsbottom Station, and that the Railway Company should bear only the remaining portion of the expense?


In the case of railways constructed prior to 1863, the Board of Trade have no power to order the construction of bridges or subways in lieu of level crossings; but where railways have been made since that date, the Railways Clauses Act, 1863, applies, and the Board may order the execution of such works as may appear best adapted for removing or diminishing danger. The Ramsbottom level crossing was authorised long prior to the date I have mentioned, and the Board of Trade have, therefore, no powers to compel the company to construct a subway. Under these circumstances, as there were already two foot-bridges in existence—one for communicating between the platforms and the other for the benefit of the public—General Hutchinson felt that it would facilitate the making of a subway if the Urban Sanitary Authority were disposed to contribute to the cost. General Hutchinson did not recommend a vehicular subway as suggested by the hon. Member's question. We have again communicated with the Railway Company on the subject.

MR. CIIANNING (Northampton, E.)

Arising out of the question, I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he did not in 1886 assent to the Second Reading of the Railway Regulation Bill, which gave powers to the Board of Trade to deal compulsorily with this question? Also, is it usual or desirable for an Inspector of the Department, in recommending the adoption of a safety arrangement, to express an opinion that the Local Authority should contribute towards the expense incurred by the Railway Company in carrying it out?


I did give my assent to the Bill referred to. The Inspector may make a suggestion of the kind indicated, but we have no power to enforce it.


Is it desirable that he should recommend such a contribution in cases of this kind where the Board of Trade has no power to compel such safety arrangements in the case of new lines without any local contribution?


was understood to say he saw no objection to the course taken by the Inspector.