§ MR. J. F. HOGAN (Tipperary, Mid)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether, concurrently with the acceleration of the sea carriage of the Australian mails by four days under the new contract, any steps are in contemplation to improve the overland transit of these mails from Naples and Brindisi to London, with a view to the avoidance of the delays that occur from time to time on this section, and occasion considerable inconvenience to business men?
§ MR. HANBURY
Although the question of acceleration of Australian mails across the continent of Europe has no connection whatever with that of increasing the speed at sea, the hon. Member may rest assured that the train service through France and Italy is most carefully watched by the Post Office, and that no opportunity of obtaining an improvement has been lost or will be lost in the future. The outward mails, for the land conveyance of which the Postmaster General pays, are invariably carried by special train whether to Brindisi or to Naples; but the homeward mails, for the land conveyance of which the Colonies pay, though carried by special train from Brindisi in one 868 week, are carried by ordinary train from Naples in the other week. This cheaper means of transport is, of course, somewhat slower, and occasionally there have been delays from causes that do not arise in the special service. It is believed that the Colonies would be unwilling to face the expense of a special service from Naples to Calais; but when, occasionally, delay occurs in the ordinary service, representations are made to the French or Italian Post Office, as the case may be; and the service is considered to work well on the whole.