HC Deb 07 March 1902 vol 104 cc706-8

Order for Second Reading read.

MR. PIRIE (Aberdeen, N.)

said he desired to explain to the House the reasons he had for deeming it a duty on behalf of his constituents in the first instance to oppose the Bill, and also to express at the same time the pleasure which he had in being able to withdraw his opposition to it and as far as he could to facilitate its Second Reading. He was aware that the blocking of such a Bill was to be avoided, but the matter was so closely connected with his constituents that there was no other course open to him. But whatever the conduct of the Company had been in the past, he had now every reason to believe they earnestly intended to proceed with the works in question. He understood that the doubling of the line from the South was to be proceeded with at the beginning of July; the extra traffic which would be incurred on account of the Highland show was to be met for the safety of the public; and last, but not least, the alterations which had already been sanctioned by the House were to be gone on with, irrespective and apart from any local dispute that might arise—and that was no small matter. There would be no further occasion for him or any Member connected with the South-east of Scotland to oppose any further measure or powers which the Caledonian Railway Company might put forward this year or in the future, and the main works would be proceeded with with the utmost despatch, and eventually the termini Glasgow and Aberdeen might possess the finest stations in Scotland.

MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)

said he too wished to take the opportunity to say one or two words on the subject of the Bill, and to express his pleasure that his hon. friend was able to withdraw his opposition, and also to say that he earnestly hoped the discussions which had passed upon the subject privately would not be lost on neighbouring companies. The existing station at Aberdeen, in respect of which the complaint was made, was practically the station of forty years ago, while in the meantime the population of the city had doubled and the traffic had prodigiously increased. Under these circumstances it had been a great grievance for a long time, not only in Aberdeen but in the surrounding districts, that better provision was not made for the growing traffic. Under the circumstances his hon. friend and others felt it was their duty to take the opportunity of calling attention to the matter upon this Bill. Of course, as he had often had occasion to observe before when these questions had arisen, it was very undesirable to oppose railway companies' Bills on the Second Reading if it could possibly be avoided, and particularly when the matter in hand was not one directly concerned with the Bill. At the same time the House knew that these opportunities were necessary for calling attention to delays, however regrettable and however desirable to the Company itself, which occasionally occurred in the completion of work sanctioned by Parliament, and he thought this was a case of the kind. He repeated the hope expressed by his hon. friend that the railway companies concerned would take steps at the earliest possible moment to execute the works which they had power to execute, and that the inhabitants of Aberdeen and its neighbourhood would no longer have cause to complain of the want of facilities for traffic from which they had long suffered.

MR. RENSHAW (Renfrewshire)

only wanted to say that as far as he was concerned in the interests of the Caledonian Railway Company he thanked the hon. Members for the way they had approached him in regard to the matter, and that so far from thinking they had done the Company any injury by the threats they had held out in regard to the smooth passage of the Bill through the House, he was disposed on behalf of the Railway Company to thank them. He repeated publicly the assurance which had been given personally that on their part they were most anxious to carry out all the undertakings they had pledged themselves to.

MR. CROMBIE (Kincardineshire)

said as a representative of one of the outlying counties he endorsed all that had been said by his two hon. friends, and felt very grateful that a subject like this, of such enormous interest to his constituents, was having attention.

Bill read a second time and committed.