HC Deb 16 February 1899 vol 66 cc1101-2
MR. SCHWANN (Manchester, N.)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether, in the case of the loss of life by two platelayers on the South Eastern Railway, near Spa Road, on Wednesday, 8th instant, any scout or look-out man was posted to warn the workmen of the approach of any train whilst they were absorbed in their work; and whether he has the power to make regulations as to the posting of scouts on railways to prevent the occurrence of such accidents; and, if not, will he apply to Parliament for powers to take this and other steps to diminish the heavy death roll of railway servants?


No, Sir; the Board of Trade have no power to make such regulations, but such an arrangement as that suggested might very well be made the subject of regulation by railway companies themselves without legislative enactment. I have received a letter from the general manager of the South Eastern deploring the accident, and intimating that instructions have been given to the engineer that during the busy hours of the day the men shall cease working on the particular section of the line where the disaster occurred. He adds: With reference to a look-out man, the men have had the option of having a man appointed for this duty, but have always, and do still, decline to have anyone responsible for their safety; they prefer to look out for themselves.