HC Deb 30 March 1897 vol 48 cc94-5

On the Order for Second Reading of this Bill,

SIR F. DIXON-HARTLAND (Middlesex, Uxbridge)

, who had an Amendment on the Paper —that the Bill be read a Second time this day six months— said he opposed the Bill on the ground that, if carried, it would have a disastrous effect on the development of Uxbridge and the district. The line was not promoted for the benefit of local traffic, but was part of a scheme by the Great Western to try to obtain London traffic from the London and North Western Railway. The present main line from London to Swindon and Oxford passed 2½ miles on one side of the town, and the new line would pass 2½ miles on the other side, so that Uxbridge would be placed in a hole between two main lines. The place had never had a chance of having its traffic developed, and now it would be entirely ruined. There was, he contended, no real reason for the route of the proposed line; by coming near Uxbridge the gradients would be bettered instead of worsened, and the cost would be not much greater, while, such as it was, it would be easily recouped by the additional traffic they would obtain from Uxbridge and the district. The district they proposed to bring in was entirely an agricultural district. The policy of the Great Western had always been to destroy all local traffic if possible, and never to develop it under any circumstances whatever. He had in his hand a remarkable report brought to the, London County Council in regard to the manner in which the Great Western were accustomed to deal with suburban traffic in the neighbour-hood of London. It stated that there was much cause for dissatisfaction with the utterly inadequate service given by the Great Western Railway in districts through which it runs, and that it had been evident for years past that this had acted as a powerful check to the development of districts compared with the other parts of suburban London. That report was dated 1892, and since that time they had not put one solitary workmen's train on their line. That showed the feeling of the district with regard to the working of the Great Western Railway Company. When the scheme was propounded it was taken up in Uxbridge, and at a large meeting, attended by about a thousand persons, representing every class and interest, held in the Town Hall, at which he himself presided, a unanimous vote was passed as to the way in which the fares at Uxbridge were inserted and the manifest inconvenience caused. At High Wycombe a meeting was also held, where it was stated that the chair industry upon which the town lived might be destroyed, and the town thereby injured. An important meeting was also held at Gerard's Cross, at which it was stated that the line would be most inconvenient to the inhabitants. He did not wish to press his Motion to a Division, but he was anxious that the question should be brought fairly before the Committee.

Bill Read a Second time, and committed.