HC Deb 23 July 1896 vol 43 cc475-7

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether he is aware of the strong feeling of dissatisfaction existing in Ireland respecting the proposed changes in the time table of the Dublin and London mail service; whether, considering that the Dublin Steam Packet Company have supplied boats that can easily save half an hour across channel on all four services, he will see that the London and North Western Railway Company will save, as it was understood they would, half an hour on the land part of the journey on all the services; whether he is aware that it would be a great convenience to passengers from either side, and no postal disadvantage, to make the hours of departure from Euston and Kingstown an hour later, with the exception of the 8.20 p.m. leaving Euston; whether he is aware that to bring passengers into Euston at 5.50 a.m. would be a grievance without any postal advantage; and, whether he will make inquiry, and consult the convenience of the people in Dublin and the provinces before finally making arrangements?


I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, if he will give an undertaking that the proposed arrangement for the new postal service between Ireland and England will not be put in force without an opportunity being given for discussing the same in Parliament next Session.


I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, with reference to the proposed changes in the mail service between Dublin and London, whether he will insist on the saving of an hour on all the four services between Euston and Kingstown; whether he will arrange that the time so saved will be utilised by making the hour of leaving one hour later in all the mail services except the night train from Euston; and, whether he will embrace the opportunity for providing third class accommodation for passengers on the mail trains between Holyhead and Euston?


The Postmaster General is aware that the proposed changes in the time table of the London and Dublin mail service do not meet with unanimous acceptance in Ireland. Whilst provision has been made in the new contract with the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company that the sea passage between Holyhead and Kingstown shall be performed half an hour quicker than at present on all the four daily services, the acceleration of half an hour on land will be confined to the two services in connection with the night mail. Neither the Postmaster General nor his predecessors ever contemplated an acceleration of the day mail trains, which would be of no postal importance, and which would be attended with very considerable additional expense. It might be a convenience to passengers if the departure of three of the mail trains were made an hour later as suggested, but this could not be done without postal disadvantage in every case. In regard to the up-night mail, which is specially mentioned by the hon. Member for South Down, an arrival at Euston at 5.50 a.m. instead of at 6.15 a.m. would be a distinct advantage to the postal service in London, and a later running of the train throughout from Holyhead would result in the failure of an important connection via. Chester and Warrington with the mail to the north by the 10 p.m. train from Euston. As stated on previous occasions, the railway company cannot see their way to provide third-class accommodation for passengers in the mail trains between London and Holyhead. It would not be possible to carry out the accelerated services between Ireland and England on 1st April next, if the suggestion of the hon. Member for West Kerry were adopted and the arrangements were to be left undecided till next Session. The time table framed for the service between London and Dublin, which has recently been made public, appears to the Postmaster General the only table compatible with all the conditions of the problem, and on the basis of this table, it is proposed to proceed with the necessary negotiations for carrying on the acceleration of the night mail into the Irish provinces.