HC Deb 06 May 1903 vol 121 cc1593-627
MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid)

said when Parliament dealt with the hours of labour under Factory Acts, these Acts did not include railway servants engaged in working railway traffic. In limiting the hours of labour in factories and workshops, Parliament had mainly in view the prevention of injury to the health of the workmen employed, and the preventing of the deterioration of the race which was likely to be caused by excessive hours of labour. These objects were as essential and important in the case of railway servants as in the case of factory workers, whilst there was this additional reason in the case of railway servants, that, owing to the dangerous nature of the occupation, there was not only the risk to the life and the possible injury to the person of the workman himself, but there was likewise the risk of loss of life and possible injury to the persons of his fellow workmen and the travelling public, through excessive hours of labour depriving a workman of that amount of vigilance which was so necessary in so dangerous an occupation. It was felt, however, that the case of railways was in a somewhat different position from that of an ordinary factory and workshop. As a rule, the hours of labour could be fixed generally for factories, whilst a latitude was given to certain specified trades owing to special circumstances or being season trades. In the case of a railway, however, punctuality of locomotion was desirable in the public interest, and to avoid the risks of accidents railways were liable to be interfered with by breakdowns, by the state of the weather, and by exceptional public demands. This made it difficult for Parliament to legislate with regard to hours on railways. Railway companies were slow to co-operate in the shortening of hours of labour, so long, at least, as they could get a supply of men willing to work long hours, whilst the men themselves were tempted by the higher wages earnable to work long hours. Of late years, however, the interest of public safety has come to the front. The number of railway accidents, the appalling loss of life of railway servants and the public, and injuries to the person, had directed inquiries to be made into the causes of accidents, and the length of hours during which those concerned were on duty. All accidents, no doubt, were not traceable to excessive hours of labour; but still a good many were, and Parliament was induced to take a first and very important step with regard to the hours of labour of railway servants when it passed the Regulation of Railways Act, 1889, which provided, by Section 4, that every railway should make for the Board of Trade a periodical return of the excessive hours of work on its system. That was a most important statute, but it had happened that the Board of Trade had done very little in the way of attempting to get these periodical returns. Parliament had calculated not on spasmodic but periodical returns. The Act was passed in 1889 and the first return was made in 1891, and that return had been made the basis of the return for 1901. The next return made under the Act was made in 1893, when a Liberal Government was in power, and from then until last year, when the President of the Board of Trade was pressed to obtain a return in accordance with the Act of 1889, no return had been made. The President of the Board of Trade then raised every obstacle in his power, and a Resolution was passed in this House, voted against by the Government, and the Government was defeated.

The Board of Trade took up the position that it was not for them to act on their own initiative in this matter, that there was nothing in the Act which required the intervention of anybody to set the Board of Trade in motion to compel these returns. The Act laid the obligation on the railway companies, and gave power to the Board of Trade to compel the return. The Board of Trade could not shift the responsibility which the Act had imposed on it by saying they had not been asked to move. The result had been that it had been necessary to bring another Resolution before Parliament in order to compel the right hon. Gentleman to take action on the Act of Parliament. The returns that had been made showed that an enormous benefit had been brought about in the reduction of hours of labour, and he could quite understand the position of the right hon. Gentleman in that regard; but did it not occur to the right hon. Gentleman that the very fact of that improvement rendered it necessary to enforce these returns? It had been proved that legislation had effected this result, and that it had not been brought about by anything the Board of Trade had done. It was mainly due to the Act of 1889, which provided that returns as to excessive hours might be called for at any moment. The subsequent Act of 1893 gave drastic powers to the Board of Trade with regard to excessive hours of labour, and on whom it imposed the duty of investigating as to these excessive hours of labour. Under that Act the Board of Trade were not only bound to take into consideration complaints made by any outsider, but were also bound to take into consideration "either any such representations or otherwise." That word "otherwise" had been inserted there in order that the Act of 1893 should be read with the Act of 1889. If it appeared to the Board of Trade, either through representations after the event, or by the returns which the Board of Trade had received under the Act of 1889, or if it appeared to the Board of Trade as a result of an inspection by their own inspectors, that there were men being worked an excessive number of hours, it was their duty to intervene. He was not surprised that there should be discontent at the inaction of the Board of Trade, which took so narrow a view of their duty. The Board of Trade took the narrow view that they were not expected to act on their own initiative, but it would be most unfair to say that a servant of a railway company should have to make complaint, and thereby run a risk of losing either his employment or his promotion.

So much for the workman; but the travelling public were interested in this matter. Their safety was at stake, and when it was shown that accidents were largely the result of excessive hours of labour, it was in the interest of the public that these workmen should not be allowed to work an excessive number of hours. Nothing could be more obvious than that in this matter the Board of Trade had mistaken their duty. They had assumed that they had to wait for complaints, but that was not so. Although they were bound to attend to a complaint, that did not relieve them from acting on their own responsibility. They should take action on their own initiative in the same way as the Home Office did with regard to factories.

Then again, with regard to the prevention of accidents, obligations were imposed on the Board of Trade to make new rules. That should not depend on the initiative of any person whatever; that was a requirement of the Act of Parliament. The Board of Trade might say it was not compulsory, but when Parliament gave instructions to a Department they relied on their instructions being carried out without a word. The difficulty was to convince the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade that he was to carry out the policy of Parliament and do certain things. These rules affected the safety of those employed, and the Act laid it on the Board of Trade to see that the rules were carried out. If they were not carried out, the Board of Trade must appeal to the Railway and Canal Commissioners, and if that Board were satisfied that these rules were reasonable, and that they were not carried out, they could impose penalties for their not being carried out. It was obvious that if we were to have rules it was necessary that there should be power given to see them carried out. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade could not say that he could not get the money. The money had been voted for two years for two additional sub-inspectors, and therefore he could not complain against the House of Commons or the Treasury. But the right hon. Gentleman had not yet appointed these additional sub-inspectors, which it was his duty to do. If there were any defects in existing legislation they could ask the President of the Board of Trade to bring in that legislation. But it was the first time he had ever heard that it was necessary to apply for an Act of Parliament to compel the Board of Trade to do that which the law permitted them to do. He was sure that no Member of the House would grudge the employment of additional sub-inspectors if that would tend to promote the safety of railway servants. He begged to move.

MR. BELL (Derby),

in seconding the Motion, expressed his obligation to his hon. friend the Member for Mid Lanark for bringing it forward, and for the opportunity afforded him of meeting such a large number of railway directors. He was pleased to see these Gentlemen turn up when a Motion of this kind was being discussed. His hon. friend had referred very fully to the long hours worked by railway servants in this country. He found from the return which the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade had obtained, that in December, 1901, there were no less than 216,219 cases of hours worked over twelve on railways in the United Kingdom. There were 109,000 cases of men who had been on duty for thirteen hours, 58,000 for fourteen hours, 21,000 for fifteen hours, 13,000 for sixteen hours, 6,500 for seventeen hours, and 8,000 for eighteen hours and over. Out of the total of 8,087 cases where the men were on duty for eighteen hours and over, 2,890 were credited to the Great Central Railway, with only 3,029 men employed. The total number of cases in which thirteen to eighteen hours had been worked were on the Great Central Railway. 20,922; London and North Western, 10,222; Great Northern, 10,618; Great Western, 34,349; South-Eastern and Chatham, 10,051; Caledonian, 7,995; North British, 20,175; and one small Welsh railway which employed only ninety had a record of 878 cases of men working from thirteen to eighteen hours and over. There was another side to the question, perhaps equally as unpleasant, if not so dangerous, and that was when the men resumed duty with an insufficient interval for rest. There were 21,000 cases where the men resumed duty with less than nine hours rest after having worked from thirteen to eighteen hours and over on the previous day. There were thirty-one cases where work was resumed with only one hour's interval for rest, twenty-two cases with two hours interval, thirty-three cases with three hours interval, sixty-two with four hours, 173 with five hours, 495 with six hours, 1,414 with seven hours, and 18,746 with eight hours interval. One hundred and eighteen of these cases occurred in Ireland, where there was not a very large number of railway men employed. One thousand one hundred and ninety of the cases occurred on the South Eastern Railway, and the little Welsh railway that he had formerly referred to had the worst record.

It might be said by some hon. Members that it was practically impossible to work railways within reasonable limits of time for the men. Now the London and North Western Railway employed considerably more men than any other company, and they had only 3,771 cases of men who worked above twelve hours. Surely if one great railway could do that the other great railways could follow suit if they chose. Last year, when this subject was being discussed, the late Member for Leeds, Mr. Jackson, said that he had known cases where men had been on duty for four or five hours and not able to go on waiting for connection, and yet these men were counted as having done full duty; and when the hon. Member for Battersea talked of a driver being twenty hours on the foot-plate of his engine Mr. Jackson interjected that there was no such case. Now, on the Great Northern Railway, of which Mr. Jackson is Chairman, 3,958 engine drivers worked thirteen hours, 1,789 worked fourteen hours, 706 worked fifteen hours, 237 worked sixteen hours, 91 worked seventeen hours, and 127 worked eighteen hours, and upwards. The return did not show details above eighteen hours, and he ventured to suggest that of the 127 who had worked eighteen hours and upwards, a considerable proportion must have been twenty hours on the foot-plate.

The powers possessed by the President of the Board of Trade had been well demonstrated by his hon. friend, and he wished to emphasise all that his hon. friend had said in regard to that matter. All that he asked was that the right hon. Gentleman should exercise these powers. The right hon. Gentleman had admitted to the House last year that the return obtained for December, 1901, was not satisfactory, and that he would call for another return last December. That, however, was giving the railway companies four months notice of what he was going to do. Special efforts were therefore made by the railway companies to keep down the number of hours worked by the men for that particular month, and the right hon. Gentleman would find, if he made close inquiry, that some of the companies had definitely stated to the superintendents and foremen that for certain reasons the return of the number of men who worked more than twelve hours should be nil for that month. Large bodies of men were distributed from the centres all over the line in order that relief might be provided for keeping down the number of hours worked; but when December was over these men returned to the centres from whence they came, and the number of hours worked was afterwards con- siderably longer than in December. He ventured to predict than when the return for December last is issued the number of cases where the men worked more than twelve hours would be nearly blank. He wanted to impress on the President of the Board of Trade that he should not accept that return as satisfactory, or as typical of the number of hours worked; and that in future a return should be got without warning being given to the railway companies. So much on the question of the number of hours worked. He now desired to call the attention of the House to the serious number of accidents which occurred on the railways in the United Kingdom. He knew there was not a single member interested in railways who did not desire to see the number of accidents reduced. It would be inhuman to suggest that any director wished to see the existing number of serious accidents maintained; but he was candidly of opinion that there was insufficient supervision by the responsible officials of the companies, and, might he say, insufficient pressure put upon them to reduce the accidents to the lowest possible limits. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, in his reply a fortnight ago compared the number of accidents with the number of miles run. That was a very unfair comparison, because the railway companies, for economic reasons, were turning out more powerful locomotives and the consequence was that the number of miles run showed a great deal less than formerly, although the traffic was greater. For instance, the London and North Western Company's engines ran 1,100,000 less miles in 1902 than they did in the previous year, not with standing an increase in the volume of traffic to the extent of £1,000,000 sterling.

The Return for 1902 showed that 443 men were killed, and 3,713 injured in connection with the working of trains and the movement of vehicles; while thirty-three were killed, and 9,929 were injured otherwise than by the movement of vehicles, making a grand total of 476 killed, and 13,642 injured. In considering the percentage of deaths and injuries to the number of men employed it was manifestly absurd to take the total number of railway employees, which included clerks and many others who ran no risks in their occupations. The object of the Motion before the House did not apply to those employed in offices, but only to what might be termed dangerous employments on railways. He had extracted half a-dozen grades whose occupations might be said to be dangerous, and those who suffered from excessive hours. There were twenty drivers killed, and 313 injured; forty-six porters killed and 480 injured; twenty three firemen killed, and 470 injured; 101 platelayers killed, and 128 injured; forty-four goods guards and brakes men killed, and 779 injured. The total number of the latter employed was 15,708, and the proportion of killed was one in 357, and of injured, one in twenty. There were thirty-four shunters killed and 587 injured. The number of these was 10,841 and the proportion of killed was one in 318, and of injured one in eighteen. The total number in these six grades was 268 killed, and 2,747 injured, or an average over the whole lot of one killed to 719 employed, and one injured to every seventy men employed. Now these were the grades of occupation upon which they were asking the right hon. Gentleman to exercise the powers already conferred upon him of inspection with a view to prevent these accidents occurring.

There were certain railway premises already inspected under the Workshops and Factories Acts. The number of men employed in these premises was 70,922, and of these thirteen were killed, and thirty-seven were injured, which worked out at one killed in every 5,455 employed, and one injured in every 4,917 employed. That was a comparatively satisfactory result, and his point was that with proper inspection of the dangerous grades the same satisfactory results would ensue. The right hon. Gentleman had referred with a good deal of satisfaction to the fact that the accidents last year were considerably below the preceding year. That was correct, and he appreciated it, but as a counter-blast to that he would point out that the Return in the Labour Gazette recently published showed that the number of fatal railway accidents in March last was sixteen above the corresponding month last year, and twelve above the February of this year. There was consequently an upward tendency this year. The Board of Trade issued a return for the ten years ending 1897, and he had extracted the particulars in respect of goods, guards and shunters for the ensuing five years, making a total of fifteen years. The total number of goods guards and shunters employed in 1888 was 13,678. The total employed in 1902 was 26,549. During that period of fifteen years, 1,176 of these men were killed and 16,508 were injured, making a total of killed and injured in the two grades he had mentioned of 17,684. Taking the mean number of men employed over the period of fifteen years, viz., 20,108, no less than 17,684 were killed or injured during that period. That was certainly too horrible to be allowed to continue, and he hope the right hon. Gentleman would not si with equanimity and calculate those accidents per mile.

He would take it in another way. During that period of fifteen years 1,180 men were killed or injured each year, out of 20,108 men employed. That was too serious for the House of Commons or any Government Department to trifle with. He was bound to say that the responsibility for that high mortality which fell on the Board of Trade continued to be very great; and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would exercise his powers and do what he could to reduce the number of those terrible accidents. He did not wish to weary the House; but it was necessary for him to give facts and figures in order to make his case clear. He would quote extracts from the reports of the Inspecting Officers, the Assistant Inspecting Officers and the Sub-Inspectors of the Railway Department of the Board of Trade. In a report of an accident on the North British Railway on the 14th May, Major Pringle, the Inspecting Officer, said— The derailment may be directly ascribed to the fact that guard Wilson whilst holding a pole in position during a sticking or propping operation stumbled over a crossing and fell; in doing so he allowed the pole to fall to the ground; one end of the pole became jambed against one of the chairs or rails on the siding road, and the other struck the axle-box moving on the down line, thus causing the wagon to be derailed into the 6-foot way. Major Pringle added— Of the two methods of use on railways, namely, roping and propping, both are dangerous to the men engaged in the operation. Reporting on an accident on the Great Western Railway on the 22nd August, the Inspector said that the accident was one which might be expected where tow-roping was used. On the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway there was an accident on 8th July in which goods guard Joseph Bates was injured, and the Inspector reported:— This method of coupling brake vans appears to be a common operation both at Normanton and at other places of this Company's system, and I do not think that Bates can be blamed for adopting it in this case. I consider that the operation is unnecessarily dangerous, and it is to be hoped that the company will issue and enforce instructions for its discontinuance. On the same railway an accident occurred on 18th July at the Exchange Station at Liverpool, and the inspecting officer said in his report:— The loop line leading from No. 1 siding is not the most desirable position to place carriages requiring such attention, but I understand that arrangements will be made to perform this work while the carriages are standing on the platform road in future. Reporting on an accident on the North British Railway on July 25th the inspector said— In accordance with special instructions issued by the company it is necessary for the guard to ride on the leading vehicle of every train while it is being propelled up the Tranent branch, which is about a mile in length. In order to enable the guards to perform this duty safely I consider that a brake van or other suitable vehicle should be provided for their use. In a report on an accident on the South Eastern and Central Railway on the 16th of July the inspector said— Tow-roping is always attended with considerable risk, and at this place the danger of such an operation is greatly increased by the presence of some point-rod boxing which stands about fifteen inches high and occupies most of the six feet space between the main line and the siding "— the very place where the men had to work. The inspector proceeded— The work can be performed by other means, and to avoid the recurrence of such an accident I would recommend that the company should strictly prohibit the use of a tow rope at this place. The point-rod boxing referred to should also be altered so that it will cause less obstruction than at present. Seeing that the operation of tow roping has been performed at this place with the knowledge of the responsible officers, I am of opinion that the company must bear a certain amount of responsibility for failing to put a stop to such a dangerous practice, and it is desirable that immediate effect should be given to the above recommendations. An accident occurred on the same railway on the 12th of August. The driver, Roots was unfortunately charged with manslaughter, hauled from court to court, but, happily, was acquitted at the Assizes. The inspector reported as follows— Taking all the facts into consideration, I am of opinion that, although Roots was undoubtedly very much to blame, there were extenuating circumstances which cannot be overlooked. The inspector then detailed the extenuating circumstances, and added— I would also recommend that the signal arms should be painted more regularly and kept in a cleaner condition. He would now quote from the sub-inspector's reports. There was an accident on the Caledonian Railway at Mother well goods yard, in which Alexander Frazer, chief yardsman, was killed, and the sub-inspector in his report said— There are no lamps fixed for lighting up the shunting neck in question. The night shunting is heavy, and for future safety I recommend that at least one good lamp should be fixed near the steps leading to the shunters cabin. There was an accident on the Cheshire lines at Warrington on the 1st September, 1902, in which Thomas Beckett, acting shunter, was killed, and the inspector reported— There is no doubt that Beckett did not give the attention necessary for his own safety, but at the same time it; should be noticed that at the time of the mishap he had been on duty for thirteen hours. That, in my opinion, would prevent him moving as freely and being as watchful as is necessary with men engaged in shunting operations. He could quote a number of other cases in which inspectors and sub inspectors condemned the system. For the three months ending December, the inspectors and sub-inspectors of the Board of Trade condemned the railway companies in five cases of accidents from riding on buffers where brake vans ought to be provided; in two cases of fly shunting; in three cases of tow-roping; in one case of signal wires being unprotected; in six cases where look-out men should be provided; and in nine cases of insufficient lighting. On the 22nd of April, when the matter was discussed in the House, the President of the Board of Trade said that he did not blame the railway companies, and that they had to safeguard their interests. Neither did he blame the railway companies; but he was trying to safeguard the interests of their employees and to make their position better and safer. The Board of Trade issued rules early in the year before last. Objection was taken to nearly all the rules by the railway companies, and he made objections on behalf of the workmen. The objections were considered, and after consideration the rules were again re-issued; and he understood that it was practically agreed that no further objection was to be taken. However, some of the railway companies took further objection, and the rules had to be referred to the Rail way and Canal Commissioners. He was sorry to have to say it, but the action of the railway companies looked like a little bit of conspiracy, although he hoped he was wrong in that conclusion. The railway companies said to the Railway and Canal Commissioners that they were only going to object to a certain number of the rules. He himself was present, and assisted the Board of Trade, in the interests of the men, to defend their own rules. The rules to which the English companies did not object were, however, objected to by the Irish companies, and were taken before the Irish courts. The Irish companies said they were not objecting to all the rules, but they objected to three rules to. which the English companies had agreed, with the result that each of the rules had to be fought either in England or Ireland. The rules had now been issued by the Board of Trade, and immediately the railway companies revised their own rules and regulations. He would read one which was typical of the others. One of the Caledonian Company's rules was as follows— The movement of vehicles by means of a prop or pole, or by towing with a rope or chain attached to a locomotive, is prohibited except in cases where specially authorised by the superintendent of the line. That looked exceedingly well, but the authority of the superintendent of the line was very easy to obtain. On the 29th of August, the Caledonian Railway issued a list of stations and sidings where propping could be carried on, and they numbered no less than 261. That was simply playing with the Board of Trade. In the North British list there were 298; on the Great Eastern list, 261; and on the Great Southern and Western list, 98 stations and sidings where propping was to be allowed to continue. His plea was that the right hon. Gentleman should exercise the power conferred on him and appoint the two sub-inspectors for whom he obtained money three years ago. In the debate on 22nd of April, the right hon. Gentleman said that he himself had asked him to apply the Home Office system of factory inspection to railways, and he said that that had never been adopted by the Board of Trade. But that was the very reason why he was asking the right hon. Gentleman to adopt it now. The right hon. Gentleman had the power, but he was afraid he had not made himself familiar with the Report of the Royal Commission to inquire into the causes of Accidents to Railway Servants, on which the railway companies were represented by the Chairman of the Midland Company and a Director of the London and South-Western Company. After hearing scores of witnesses, the Commissioners reported as follows— Having carefully considered the facts and figures above setout, we have come to the conclusion that the deaths incurred from injuries sustained are unnecessarily great in number, and could be diminished. Why should there be any hesitation on the part of the Board of Trade? Why did not the right hon. Gentleman exercise his power? The Commission also said— Lives that could be saved are lost, and men are injured unnecessarily. That was a terrible indictment, and he could not understand why a State Department, having the power, should allow such a state of things to continue. Even the present general manager of the London and North-Western Railway, when under examination before the Commission, practically admitted that shunting yards ought to be inspected. The Railways Employment (Prevention of Accidents) Act, 1900, as he read it, gave definite power to the Board of Trade to appoint officials for the purpose of inspecting railways and seeing that the rules were carried out. The question of inspection was specifically mentioned, and he failed to see upon what the President of the Board of Trade based his contention that he had no power to inspect. Worse still, the right hon. Gentleman declared that inspection was unnecessary. Perhaps he would tell the House how many more railway servants must be killed and injured before he took action. He heartily seconded the Motion, and hoped the evidence he had adduced would satisfy Members there was a case for inspection.

Motion made and Question proposed, "That, in the opinion of this House, the Board of Trade should exercise more vigorously the powers conferred on it by the Railway Regulation Act, 1893, and other Acts with a view of preventing excessive hours of labour by railway servants engaged in working the traffic, and of securing sufficient intervals of uninterrupted rest between the periods of duty and sufficient relief in respect of Sunday duty, and that with a view to the diminution of accidents to railway servants the appointment of additional sub-inspectors is necessary to ensure that the rules adopted under the Railways Employment (Prevention of Accidents) Act, 1900, are strictly observed."—(Mr. Caldwell.)


moved, as an Amendment to the Motion— To leave out all the words after the word 'that,' and add 'this House notes with satisfaction the steady improvement shown in the returns of accidents on railways in the United Kingdom, and expresses the hope that the Board of Trade will continue to use all due diligence in exercising the statutory powers which it possesses under the Act relating to the regulation of the hours of railway servants and the prevention of accidents on railways.' He said that no one of ordinary susceptibilities could have listened to the speeches in which this Motion had been brought before the House without feeling that there was indeed considerable reason for bringing the matter forward. The roll of accidents, as recited by the seconder of the Motion, could only be described, in the words used by the late Mr. Bright on an historical occasion from those Benches, as "horrible and heart-rending." He was brought largely into contact with railway men, and he felt acutely the dangers to which they were exposed and the necessity that existed for stringent measures for the prevention of accidents. But he parted company with the mover and seconder of the Motion on the question as to where to fix the responsibility. He was not satisfied that the President of the Board of Trade was at fault. He did not rise, however, as an apologist for the right hon. Gentleman; he, doubtless, would be able to meet many of the objections and charges which had been made. He desired to express the sympathy which they on that side of the House felt for the railway men in the work they performed, and in the course of which such terrible accidents so frequently befell them. The hon. Member for Derby had directed attention to the long hours during which work was carried on, and to the nature of the accidents from which the men suffered. It had not been proved that the length of hours was due to any cause other than emergency. If it could be satisfactorily proved that railway companies deliberately, and for long periods, caused long hours to be served, it would be a strong reason for assenting to this Resolution. He was not a railway director, nor had he any connection whatever with railway companies, but he believed that railway directors had the ordinary sense of other men, and were as anxious to avoid having to give compensation and have a contented body of workmen under them as other employers were. It required more proof to establish the proposition that these long hours were worked deliberately and habitually by the companies in question. He could not see that sufficient proof had been given of neglect of duty on their part or on the part of the President of the Board of Trade. The right hon. Gentleman's humanity and his anxiety to serve the public were well known, and it was impossible to believe that he would be guilty of any neglect of duty. At the same time, he thought it was most valuable and useful that this question should be brought before the House, as great benefit might arise from the discussion. He desired, however, that the blame should be placed on the right shoulders, and therefore begged to move the Amendment.


in seconding the Amendment, said he could not admit that any body of Members in the House were callous to the dangers of railway servants. He cordially agreed that if it was shown by the facts to be necessary, Parliament ought to exercise a supervision over not only the legislation regulating the companies but also over the Government Department to whom the administration of that legislation was entrusted. He did not pose as the champion of the Board of Trade or of the railway companies. He sympathised with the spirit in which this Resolution had been brought forward, but he had heard nothing to substantiate the charges which had been made. The essence of the case was that the Board of Trade had not exercised its powers. The hon. Member for Derby had adopted a course of argument much to be deprecated. He had accused a leading railway company of "cooking" their return of the hours of labour.


said he had not accused the company of 'cooking" their return. What he said was that they made a special effort during the month of December to avoid extra hours being worked.


accepted the explanation, which practically meant that the company produced a return which did not represent the ordinary state of things on the railway, and that they did it with a desire to deceive the House and the Board of Trade. He did not think that that was the kind of argument that should be advanced in the House.


said that circulars were issued by railway officials in which it was distinctly stated that for particular reasons it was specially desired that the return for December should be nil. He had forwarded copies of those circulars to the Board of Trade.


thought he had accurately stated the substance of the charge, and he simply desired to deprecate that line of argument. The hon. Member then went on to say that before the Railway Commissioners the companies entered into a conspiracy. He could not think that such statements tended to strengthen the case for the Resolution. While not desiring in any way to minimise the importance of the statistics of accidents on railways quoted by the hon. Member for Derby, he contended that such statistics were absolutely worthless unless considered in relation to all the circumstances of the case and in comparison with other statistics. He had in his possession figures which he thought put a different complexion on the case. In 1891 there were 381,000 servants employed on British railways, of whom in that year 541 died from accidents. That was a large number in itself, but it was only one-sixth of 1 per cent. of the total employed. On the American railways in the same year, there were 784,000 men employed, and the number of fatal accidents was 2,660—a percentage of one-third of 1, or about I double the percentage in this country. The obvious argument was that the railways in this country were safer than those in the United States, although the latter were often held up as an example for us to copy. In 1901, the number of servants on British railways had increased to 575,000, the fatal accidents had fallen to 491, and the number of non-fatal accidents was 4,200, while in 1902 the numbers had fallen still further to 435 and 3,800 respectively. In the United States in 1901, the number of railway servants was 1,071,000, and the fatal accidents numbered 2,675. That was an improvement, but the percentage was not yet so good as that on British railways. He submitted that these figures justified the statement that the British railway management was at any rate better than the American system, and that it had improved between 1891 and 1901. Another matter was with regard to the number of men killed by the coupling and uncoupling process. In the United States 198 men, as compared with fourteen in this country, were killed in the same period and 2,768 were injured. That was a larger percentage than in the United Kingdom. Another important point to be considered was in regard to the density of traffic per mile and the number of railway servants employed. The density in this country was far greater than in the United States. This meant that although our figures and percentage were lower, the conditions under which the men in this country worked were more conducive to fatal accidents than in the United States. Therefore the figures did not bear out the case put forward by the mover and seconder of this Motion. He desired to call attention to what the Board of Trade had done. In April, 1901, the Board of Trade gave notice of their intention to make thirteen rules, and the railway companies objected to various particulars in those rules, with the result that certain modifications were made in them. The railway companies accepted ten of the rules, but on one of them they appealed to the Railway Commissioners, which was an important tribunal to whom the railway employees could forward their grievances. The Commissioners had absolute power either to reject grievances or to see that they were remedied. This appeal to the Railway Commissioners was made on 29th July, 1902, and they heard the objections of the railway companies to No. 1. of the draft rules. After due consideration they decided that those objections were reasonable. He did not suggest that there was any conspiracy in this matter, for he believed the question was treated with absolute fairness and justice. The Railway Commissioners, while passing the rules which were not objected to, ordered the Board of Trade to bring in a fresh Rule No. 1. Mr. Justice Wright, in his judgment in 1902, said the Board of Trade had been extremely successful with the bulk of these rules, and that the railway companies had accepted them with public spirit. It seemed to him that that opinion disposed of a good deal of what the mover and seconder had said.

The Act of 1893 gave railway servants the right to appeal against excessive hours; but since 1895 the number of such representations to the Board of Trade had largely decreased, and in 1901 the Board of Trade stated that the object of the Act seemed to have been gained. That was a fact and incident which seemed to undermine the whole case, and it seemed to indicate that the Board of Trade were doing their utmost to carry out the powers conferred upon them. On the 25th February, 1902, there was a debate upon this question in the House of Commons, and the hon. Member for Derby brought forward a number of cases of long hours. Prior to that date a considerable number of cases had been inquired into under the Act, and they increased to 123 in that year. If the object of that debate was to stimulate the action of the Board of Trade, then it had that effect. He thought he had said enough to show [that another complexion could be put upon the facts of the case brought forward by the hon. Members for Mid Lanark and Derby. In the first place, he asked the House to remember, in regard to the hours of labour, that they were not entitled to assume that the railway companies wanted to work their employees unreasonably long hours. There was one practical reason why they should not, and it was, that overtime was an expensive business, because the men had to be paid time and a quarter. As a matter of fact he believed that the men rather liked to work overtime, because they got good pay for it. Another reason why it was against the interests of the railway companies to work the men long hours was, that they were not likely to get such good service from them. Therefore, in their own interests, the railway companies would not work their servants longer than was necessary. No evidence had been submitted to show that the men had been worked unreasonable hours. The seconder of this proposition had read out a long array of figures, which he did not think could be treated seriously, with the object of showing that the Board of Trade were not carrying out their duty. There were cases in which the companies were bound to work their men long hours—cases of fog and accident; but it had not been shown that railway servants were continuously overworked. Long hours, under such circumstances, were the inevitable result of the conditions under which railway servants worked. The same argument applied to sailors during a storm at sea, and to firemen at some great fire. In all employment where the conditions of labour were dangerous, there were bound to be hours of labour which occasionally would be far longer than men ought to be called upon to work. He wished to point out that not a single instance had been given where railway men had been regularly worked for hours which were injurious to their health. He could quote cases of alleged overworking, which, upon examination, had had an entirely different complexion put upon them. He did not think the House of Commons was a tribunal in which the actual facts of any particular case could be fairly judged. If it could be shown that the Board of Trade had not carried out their duties in this respect, he for one would be only too glad to support this proposal. He would conclude by reminding the House that the railway system of the country was not a benevolent institution, but a great commercial undertaking on which the prosperity of the country depended. They were bound, within reasonable limits, to look after the conditions under which the men were employed; but, on the other hand, it was very easy for the House to go too far and interfere in a great industry so as to seriously injure its financial prosperity. Therefore, this was an argument which they must keep within its proper limits. Some hon. Members, in their anxiety to show themselves as the champions of the working classes, seemed to forget that the workmen had to earn their bread and butter, and therefore the financial prosperity of the railways was as important to them as to any other class. He begged to second the Amendment.

Amendment proposed— To leave out from the word 'that' to the end of the Question, and add the words, 'this House notes with satisfaction the steady improvement shown in the Returns of Accidents on Railways in the United Kingdom, and expresses the hope that the Board of Trade will continue to use all due diligence in exercising the statutory powers which it possesses under the Acts relating to the Regulation of the Hours of Railway Servants and the Prevention of Accidents on Railways.'"—(Mr. Arthur Morton.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

MR. CHANNING (Northamptonshire, E.)

said he had given very close attention to these matters for many years. There were two points with regard to the question of hours which he could not help thinking that the President of the Board of Trade had left out of sight. He wondered whether the right hon. Gentleman was aware that his colleague the Colonial Secretary, in 1884, proposed that every railway company should furnish to the Board of Trade every month the details of instances of work in excess of twelve hours per day. This proposal was embodied in a Bill which he (Mr. Channing) carried to a Second Reading on May 19, 1886, and that Bill would then have passed into law but for the dissolution of 1886. The principle of these returns was then sanctioned by Parliament. Notwithstanding this nothing was done till after the Act of 1889, when returns of excessive hours were obtained for two or three different months in 1890 and 1892. These returns were, in one case, for work over twelve, in the other, for work over ten hours. Then they had an interval of some ten years, in which no return had been brought before Parliament until the one asked for by the hon. Member for Derby was granted by the President of the Board of Trade. He thought that showed a gross neglect of duty on the part of the Board of Trade. His second point was this. He wondered whether the right hon. Gentleman recollected the Select Committee, appointed in 1891, after the great debate on railway hours of January 23, 1891, which was reported in 1892. That Report, which, was presented by the right hon. Member for Bristol, then President of the Board of Trade, stated that these returns should be periodically made, and recommended that the hours of signalmen should be not more than eight hours, and of all other branches, ten hours, These recommendations had been absolutely neglected. He would point out to the right hon. Gentleman that a return of work over twelve hours was practically valueless. They had had the opinion of a former Conservative President of the Board of Trade that ten hours was the fair limit, and returns had been presented on that basis, and in view of the decision of the House and of the Committee, it was futile to present this House with a return of work in excess of twelve hours. He would give one brief illustration of this. In the Report of the Committee which sat upon the question of railway hours, to which he had referred, lie found, from the returns for December 1890, that the number off hours worked by goods railway drivers and firemen in excess of twelve was 263,369. But the return of the number of hours worked in excess of ten by the same body of men showed that they worked no less than 416,539 hours. That was at least 60 or 70 per cent. in excess of the instances of working over twelve hours. Ten years ago the House pronounced that ten hours were sufficient, and now they were still working upon the basis that twelve hours was the first point from which they could challenge whether a man was overworked or not. Those were the specific points to which he called the right lion. Gentleman's attention.


The practical effect of the Resolution which has been moved by the hon. Member for Mid Lanark is a censure on the Board of Trade for not having adequately exercised its powers under the Acts relating to the regulation of the hours of railway servants and for the prevention of railway accidents. It may be worth while for the House to know that both sets of Acts are really directed to securing the safety of railway servants and the public. Therefore, the question which we have to decide is whether the Board of Trade has or has not adequately exercised the powers which it possesses to secure the safety of railway servants and the travelling public. I admit fully the importance of that question. It is a lamentable fact that there is a deplorable loss of life in connection with the working of our railways; nobody can read the Report of the Royal Commission on the Prevention of Railway Accidents without being painfully impressed with that fact. There are certain special branches of railway work which are more dangerous than any other employment except that of the mercantile marine. It is not surprising, under the circumstances, that Parliament should have endeavoured, as far as it can reasonably be done, to check this great loss of life. There are, however, some points in connection with this matter which ought not to be lost sight of. In the first place, although the number of accidents recorded on our railways is enormous—I think that in 1902 no fewer than 10,000 railway servants suffered injuries—yet the vast majority of the accidents are not of a serious character. Under the existing regulations every accident is reported which keeps a railway servant from his work for five hours. A Committee, appointed by the Home Office, which has been inquiring into this question has recommended that no accident shall be recorded which does not involve absence from work for at least twenty-four hours. If that change is made it would greatly diminish the number of accidents which now find their way into the reports issued by the Board of Trade.

Last year 447 railway servants were killed by accidents to trains or the movement of vehicles, and 38 were killed by other accidents, making a total of 485. To these should be added the more serious, though not fatal, accidents, and I find there were 128 cases of loss of limb, and 586 cases of fracture, a total of 714. I do not wish to minimise the importance of this question, but these figures are not large when compared with the total number of non-fatal accidents, which was 10,858. I do not say this because I wish to minimise the importance of these accidents, but I want only to point out that in reading these vast figures it must not be supposed that every case represents a serious accident. It is also important to distinguish between preventable and non-preventable accidents. I am afraid that no care that could be exercised by the railway companies, no precautions which could be imposed upon them by this House, would do more than diminish to some extent the number of accidents upon railways. I fear that the nature of the employment is such that there will always be a large number both of fatal and serious accidents. But we should guard against language which is calculated to imply that even a majority of the accidents are of a character which can properly be laid to the negligence of the railway companies or to failure on the part of the Government Department to exercise the powers which Parliament has entrusted to it. I feel sure that is not so. I am perfectly ready to admit that every effort within reason should be made to diminish the number of accidents, but it must not be imagined that our utmost efforts would entirely preventthem.

Lastly, in connection with this subject, it should not be forgotten that during the last forty years there has been a remarkable diminution in the number of accidents that have occurred on railways. The Royal Commission which sat on this question has drawn attention to the fact that the accidents in 1872 were no less than three times the number that occurred in 1898, a remarkable diminution considering the large increase in the number of railway servants employed. The number of railway servants killed in 1892 was 435, and going back to 1893 I find it was 446. I do not wish to attach too much importance to the figures for any one year. It is better to take the average of years and it will be found to be not very far from the truth to say that the actual number of accidents during the ten years has not shown any marked tendency to diminish in any one year. The total for one year is about the average for the ten years. But we have to look at the comparison of the figures of accidents with the total number of railway servants. Taking into account the number of men engaged, the result is encouraging; for in 1893 the number of employees was 381,000 and in 1902 the number was 575,000; the percentage, therefore, of accidents as compared with the number of men employed has very largely diminished. A few days ago, in discussing the Board of Trade Vote I referred to the increase in train mileage, which, of course, is a material fact in estimating whether the number of accidents has or has not increased, though the hon. Member for Derby has warned me not to rely too much upon this. I do not quite understand the purport of that.


What I intended to convey was that in consequence of more powerful locomotives being used more work is done, though there is actually less train mileage. The mileage is decreasing though the traffic is increasing.


That refers to the future, but my figures have reference to the past. The hon. Member seemed to infer I was using an argument which would hereafter prove a broken reed, but allow me to say that I used the figures as I found them; and if hereafter the train mileage can be shown to have decreased, that will be cited as a circum stance to modify my calculation in an opposite direction. I have cited train mileage increase as supporting my conclusion, justified by facts, that safety of life on railways is steadily increasing; year by year. The hon. Member for Mid Lanark has complained that the Board of Trade have not exercised all the powers they possess under the Prevention of Accidents Act, and he referred to a report by an inspector on an accident which occurred on the Caledonian Railway on 8th October, 1902, quoting the inspector's account of the condition of things he found on the scene of the accident. But I am entirely at a loss to understand how that argument proves that the Board of Trade has not carried out its duties under the Act, or exercised the powers conferred on it. Wherever an inspector makes a report of the kind in question, the attention of the company is called to it by the Board of Trade, and the Board invariably presses, and generally presses with success, that the deficiency of appliances or arrangements which have been the cause, or partly the cause, of the accident shall be remedied. It so happens that in this case one of the deficiencies to which the inspector called attention was the absence of sufficient lighting. The accident occurred on 8th October, 1902, and it was only in August, 1902, that the Board of Trade, by their rules under the Accidents Act, became possessed of the power to insist that the companies should make this change. I hope and believe that by this time the company have taken steps, or are taking steps, to remedy these defects.

With regard to the question of appointing two additional sub-inspectors, whose salaries have already been provided for, it is probable that the appointments will be made during the current year, Under the Accidents Act two additional officers—assistant inspecting officers—have already been appointed. They were appointed early in 1901, when we had some reason to hope that the rules would come into operation much earlier than, as a matter of fact, they have done. Since the rules came into operation these inspectors have inspected a number of shunting yards which have been alleged to be insufficiently lighted. They have inspected forty-six such yards, and I understand that the companies have expressed their readiness to carry out the changes which are considered necessary. The Lon. Member for Derby has not sufficiently borne in mind this fact. The Act mentions twelve special subjects in respect to which the Board is authorised to make rules; and the Board have made rules with respect to nine of those subjects. A rule on another subject is still before the Railway Commissioners, and with regard to the other two it is thought better to proceed by special order rather than by rule. The nine rules have been in a sense operative since August last year, but in five cases the time at which they will become really effective has been fixed at a year, two years, or even a longer period from the time when the rules were made. That has been done in full accordance with the views of the Royal Commission, which recognised the necessity for giving the railway companies time to deal with these matters. It was also done on the advice of the Expert Committee appointed by the Board of Trade—a Committee of which Lord James, the Chairman of the Railway Commission, was president. I do not think I have heard any complaints from the hon. Member for Hereford that the postponement of the effective operation of these rules was in itself unreasonable. I can assure the House that the Board of Trade are fully conscious of the desirability of carrying out these rules and insisting on their observance by the railway companies. The whole of the inspecting staff has full instructions to call the attention of the companies to any infringement of the rules, and, in addition, they have the great advantage of the complaints made to them by the society represented by the hon. Member for Derby. In view of the fact that we have had only a few months experience of the working of the rules under the Act, I think it is a little early to charge the Board of Trade with neglect in giving effect to the powers which they possess under that Act. We shall watch the working of the Act most carefully, and will certainly appoint an additional staff as it appears necessary; but I cannot honestly think that up to the present time any case has been made out against the Board of Trade for not having properly exercised their powers under that Act.

As to the complaint of the hon. Member for Mid Lanark in regard to the action of the Board of Trade under the Hours Act of 1893, I think he treated the Board rather unfairly. The circumstances are within the recollection of the House. There was no desire to resist the Motion for a return under that Act; I only desired to make the return correspond in all points to the previous return under the Act. That demand, I submit, was only reasonable, but it was resisted from the other side of the House, and, on a division, the Government were defeated by a small majority. The hon. Member complained that the Board waited to be moved to call for this return by a Motion of the House. Again the hon. Member has done us scant justice, for the real fact is that the Act of 1889 was commonly supposed to have been superseded altogether by the Act of 1893. I am perfectly willing to admit that the Act of 1889, which enables the Board of Trade to call for returns, was not repealed by the Act of 1893.


They are to be read together.


It is not repealed, but the general idea undoubtedly was, and it was an opinion shared by the Board of Trade, that the Act of 1889 had been superseded by the Act of 1893. The hon. Member I may possibly say that I ought to have known that the powers conferred by the Act of 1889 were still in force. I admit that, but I think the error was venial, considering that it was shared by all the officials of the Board of Trade. But at any rate when I came to see that the Board had still the power I was perfectly ready to call for a Return under the Act of 1899, and I did call for it, and since then, without being moved to do so at all, I have called for a second Return. I really think that the best reply I can give to the allegation that the Board of Trade has not sufficiently discharged its duty under the Act of 1893 is to give the House a statement of what we actually have done under that statute. In the first place we have recorded and looked into over 700 complaints. Of these 223 have related to the hours of signalmen, 139 affected guards and brakesmen, 124 enginemen, and 115 fixed station men. These numbers, however, give really no idea whatever of the number of men actually affected, for each complaint may affect a very considerable number of men.

The Board of Trade, when it receives a complaint from any locality, invariably asks for a Return from the railway company concerned, and sometimes from the neighbouring companies. It usually demands a revised schedule of hours, and that schedule affects the hours of work in many cases of a large number of men who have not been referred to in the original complaint. As regards the success of the action taken by the Board of Trade under the Act, it is necessary to distinguish between the men employed at fixed stations and the men employed in connection with trains and the moving of vehicles. I believe the effect of the Act has been very materially to reduce the hours of men at fixed stations, such as signalmen and shunters. I confess we have not been so successful in the Base of men working in trains, such as enginemen, guards, and brakemen, in whose case the difficulty encountered by the companies is much greater, owing to fogs, bad weather, and other causes which it is impossible for any railway company entirely to guard against. But, nevertheless, I am convinced that, even in their case, the effect of the Act has been to very considerably reduce their total hours of work. I admit that the actual hours worked do not always compare favourably with the book time, but it is the constant effort of the Board of Trade to bring the actual hours more into correspondence with the book hours.

Now I come to the Returns which we have asked for under the Act of 1889 in the last two years, showing the hours worked in excess of twelve. In asking for these Returns we have followed the precedent set by the 1893 Returns. The Return of 1901 undoubtedly did show a very considerable improvement over the Return of 1893, and, as that was a surprise Return, none of these influences to which the hon. Member for Derby called attention could have had effect upon it. It is satisfactory to notice that the greatest improvement has taken place in connection with the largest railway companies. I do not wish to weary the House, but it may interest hon. Members to hear a statement of the figures showing, as regards goods guards and brakemen, and goods engine drivers and firemen, the percentage of days in excess of twelve hours worked in December, 1901 as compared with December, 1891. On the London and North Western Railway the percentage in 1901 was .562 against 1.24 in 1891 for goods guards and brakemen, and 1.26 against 14.25 for goods engine drivers and firemen; on the Great Western Railway the figures were 14.90 against 19.98 for goods guards; and brakemen and 23.15 against 38.96 for goods engine drivers and firemen; on the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway 6.10 against 40.58 for goods guards and brakemen, and 9.37 against 58.43 for goods engine drivers and firemen; on the Midland Railway 18.04 against 25.05 for goods guards and brakemen, and 10.53 against 30.59 for goods engine drivers and firemen; on the Cambrian Railway 5.10 against 43.91 for goods guards and brakemen, and 9.13 against 35.55 for goods engine drivers and firemen; on the Caledonian Railway 6.82 against 20.08 for goods guards and brakemen, and 11.31 against 32.18 for goods engine drivers and firemen; and on the Great Northern of Ireland .76 against 25.31 for goods guards and brakemen, and 7.18 against 11.18 for goods engine drivers and firemen. I think all the great companies show similar improvements. These are very I remarkable figures, and I do not think they can be attributed to anything else but the working of the Act of 1893.

The hon. Member for Derby tells us, and I think he is perfectly right so far as my knowledge goes, that the Return for 1902 will be a great deal better. The hon. Member has been good enough to send me the circulars to which he referred. I do agree with him that in two or three cases these circulars are of a very improper character. At the same time I do not myself think that the results, whatever they may be, in the Return for 1903, will be very much vitiated by the few circulars which I am ready to acknowledge were sent out. On the whole I think from what I have said it will appear that the working of the Act by the Board of Trade shows very great improvement, both as regards hours and the number of accidents. I do not question for a moment that further improvement is desirable, and it will be the earnest endeavour of the Board of Trade to bring about that improvement as far as we can by a vigorous working of the Act; but I submit that we are not amenable to the charge the Resolution brings against us, and therefore I shall vote for the Amendment of my hon. friend, which appears to give the hon. Member for Derby all he really desires. I venture to say that he and the mover should be content to withdraw the Motion in the form in which they have put it on the Paper, and accept the Amendment moved by my hon. friend the Member for Deptford, in order that it may be passed by the unanimous vote of the House.

MR. BRYCE (Aberdeenshire, S.)

The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade has had so many facts to give us, and he has felt it his duty to go so minutely into the case, that the time left for comments on his reply is extremely short. I do not complain of that. The House will easily understand that it is absolutely impossible for me or any other Member to deal in detail with the statistics which my hon. friend the Member for Derby has brought before the House, or with the answer given by the President of the Board of Trade. All I can do is to try to state to the House what is the general impression left on my mind by the case made for the Motion and the case made by the President of the Board of Trade. We have before us a Motion and an Amendment. The Motion says that the Board of Trade has not been sufficiently energetic in using the powers Parliament has placed at its disposal. The Amendment implies that the Board of Trade has been sufficiently active, and expresses a benevolent wish that it may continue to act with due diligence in the matter. Therefore we are asked to say whether we think that the Department has done all that might have been done during the last ten years in the case of the Act of 1893, and during the last three years in the case of the Act of 1900. I have listened with great attention to the President of the Board of Trade I do not complain of the tone and spirit in which the right hon. Gentleman approached the question, and I feel perfectly certain there exists at the Board of Trade a genuine desire to put the powers of the Act in force and to reduce the number of accidents, which, as has been admitted, is deplorable, and which I would say, considering the progress that has been made, is not creditable to a country like ours. We cannot make any comparison with the United States. I entirely deprecate comparisons of that kind. The United States are not so careful of human life as it is our habit in this country to be. What does the answer of the right hon. Gentleman amount to? With respect to the question of accidents it is substantially this, that many accidents are not preventable. That might have been said ten, twenty, or thirty years ago. Every action Parliament has taken has reduced the number of accidents, and we have every reason to believe that there are still a number of preventable accidents which the energetic carrying out of the powers Parliament has given would further reduce. Then the President of the Board of Trade says he has got power, and even a vote of money, to appoint two additional sub-inspectors and that, he has not yet done so. I confess that I did not gather why these two sub-inspectors have not been appointed, except for the reason that only four of the rules have been put in force. But if there are only four rules in force now, the opportunity would be an excellent one for endeavouring to ascertain at once by the examination of a number of yards whether these four rules are being properly observed, and I cannot conceive that there would not be enough work for the two new inspectors. It would be better to deal with that branch of the subject before the remaining rules come into force. Further than that, sub-inspectors are able to do a kind of work which, I understand, the chief inspectors cannot very well do. The sub-inspectors must be practical railway men taken from the railway service, and therefore they will be conversant with a number of matters which the chief inspectors do not know so well about.

On the question of hours the plea of the President of the Board of Trade is substantially that considerable improvements have been effected, but he admits that the improvements have been least in the case of the men employed in the moving of trains. These are the men who are concerned, not only with the safety of themselves, but of the public, and therefore I look upon that as a serious drawback. The real question for the House to consider is whether enough has been done. I do not wish to underrate or ignore the difficulties of the Department and the necessity of carrying the Railway Commission with them, when cases are carried before the Commissioners. But I cannot say that as much has been achieved as might have been achieved, or that the Board of Trade

is entitled to receive that complete approval of their action which the adoption of the Amendment would give them. I do not think, however, that the Motion of my hon. friend ought to be regarded as hostile to the Board of Trade, I hope that my remarks will be received as having been offered rather with the desire to strengthen its hands in the performance of a duty which Parliament has laid upon it.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 126; Noes, 161. (Division List No. 75.)

Abraham, William (Rhondda) Gilhooly, James Pearson, Sir Weetman D.
Allan, Sir William (Gateshead Gladstone, Rt. Hn Herbert John Power, Patrick Joseph
Allan, CharlesP. (Glouc.Stroud Goddard, Daniel Ford Rea, Russell
Asher, Alexander Grant, Corrie Reddy, M.
Ashton, Thomas Gair Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton Robson, William Snowdon
Barran, Rowland Hirst Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Roche, John
Barry, E. (Cork, S.) Hammond, John Roe, Sir Thomas
Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire) Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tyd Rose, Charles Day
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Harrington, Timothy Russell, T. W.
Brand, Hon. Arthur G. Hayden, John Patrick Samuel, Herbert L. (Clevel and
Brigg, John Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale- Shwann, Charles E.
Broadhurst, Henry Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristl, E Shackleton, David James
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Holland, Sir William Henry Shaw, Charles E. (Stafford)
Bryce, Right Hon. James Hope John Deans (Fife, West Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B )
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk. Shipman, Dr. John G.
Burns, John Jacoby, James Alfred Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire) Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Causton, Richard Knight Jordan, Jeremiah Soares, Ernest J.
Cawley, Frederick Joyce, Michael Spencer, Rt. Hn. CR. (Northants
Channing, Francis Allston Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall Sullivan, Donal
Craig, Robert Hunter(Lanark Layland-Barratt, Francis Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe
Crean, Eugene Leigh, Sir Joseph Tennant, Harold John
Cremer, William Randal Levy, Maurice Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.
Cullinan, J. Lough, Thomas Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)
Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen) Lundon,' W. Thomas, F. Freeman-(Hastings
Delany, William Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)
Devlin, Charles Ramsay(Galwy MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Tomkinson, James
Dewar, JohnA. (Inverness-shire MacVeagh, Jeremiah Toulmin, George
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles M'Arthur, William (Cornwall Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Donelan, Captain A. M'Kenna, Reginald Tully, Jasper
Doogan, P. C. Markham, Arthur Basil Warner, Thomas Courtenay, T.
Duffy, William J. Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh, N. Wason John Cathcart(Orkney
Duncan, J. Hastings Morley, Charles (Breconshire) Weir, James Galloway
Ellis, John Edward Moss, Samuel White, George (Norfolk)
Evans, Sir F. H. (Maidstone) Murphy, John White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Fenwick, Charles Nannetti, Joseph P. Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith Norton, Capt. Cecil William Wilson, F.W. (Norfolk, Mid)
Ffrench, Peter Nussey, Thomas Willans Wilson, H. J. (York, W. R.)
Field, William O'Donnell John (Mayo, S.) Wood, James
Fitanaurice, Lord Edmond O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.) Yoxall, James Henry
Flavin, Michael Joseph O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES, Mr. Caldwell and Mr. Bell.
Flynn, James Christopher Partington, Oswald
Fuller, J. M. F. Paulton, James Mellor
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Bain, Colonel James Robert
Allhusen, Aug. Henry Eden Arrol, Sir William Balcarres, Lord
Anson, Sir William Reynell Atkinson, Right Hon. John Baldwin, Alfred
Arkwright, John Stanhope Aubrey-Fletcher. Rt. Hon Sir H Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Man'r
Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.) Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)
Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch Gore, Hn GR. C. Ormsby-(Salop Penn, John
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Goschen, Hon. Geo. Joachim Percy, Earl
Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin Greene, Hy. D. (Shrewsbury) Platt-Higgins, Frederick
Bignold, Arthur Greville, Hon. Ronald Reid, James (Greenock)
Bigwood, James Groves, James Grimble Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine
Blundell, Colonel Henry Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill Renwick, George
Brassey, Albert Hall, Edward Mai-shall Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Hamilton, Rt Hn Ld. G.(Midx Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)
Brotherton, Edward Allen Hardy, Laurence (Kent,Ashfd Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Butcher, John George Heath, Arthur H. (Hanley) Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter
Campbell, J. H. M.(Dublin Univ Heath, James (Staffs., N.W.) Round, Rt. Hon. James
Cavendish, V C W (Derbysh.) Henderson, Sir Alexander Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Hobhouse, Rt. Hn H. (Soms't, E. Seely, Maj. J. E. B (Isleof Wight
Cecil Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Hogg, Lindsay Seton-Karr, Sir Henry
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J A (Worc Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry Shaw-Stewart, M.H.(Renfrew
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Hoult, Joseph Simeon, Sir Barrington
Chapman, Edward Houston, Robert Paterson Smith, H C(North'mb. Tyneside
Charrington, Spencer Howard, John (KentFaversham Smith, Hon. W. F. D.(Strand)
Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E. Johnstone, Heywood Spear, John Ward
Coghill, Douglas Harry, Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W.(Salop Stanley, E. Jas. (Somerset)
Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready Keswick, William Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)
Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasg.) Lawrence, Sir Joseph (Monm'th Stroyan, John
Craig, Charles Curtis(Antrim,S. Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool. Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Cranborne, Lord Lawson, John Grant(Yorks N.R Sturt, Hon. Humphrey Napier
Crossley, Sir Savile Lees, Sir Elliot (Birkenhead) Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Davenport, William Bromley- Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Tallot, Rt. Hn. J G. (Oxf'd Uni.
Denny, Colonel Leveson-Gower, Frederick, N.S Thornton, Percy M.
Dickson, Charles Scott Llewellyn, Evan Henry Valencia, Viscount
Digby, John K. D. Wingfield Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R. Walrond, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. H.
Dorington. Rt. Hon. Sir J. E. Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Webb, Colonel William George
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S. Wharton, Rt. Hon. J. Lloyd
Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth Whiteley, H. (Ashton-u.-Lyne)
Duke, Henry Edward Maclver, David (Liverpool) Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir William Hart Maconochie, A. W. Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset.
Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton M'Calmont, Colonel James Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas M'Iver, Sir Lewis(Edinburgh W Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Faber, Edmund B. (Hants, W. M'Killop, Jas. (Stirlingshire) Wilson-Todd, Wm. H.(Yorks.)
Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Ed. Mildmay, Francis Bingham Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)
Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Mitchell, William (Burnley) Wolff. Gustav Wilhelm
Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Moon, Edward Robert Pacy Worsley-Taylor, Hy. Wilson
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire) Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart
FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose- Morgan, David J(Walthamstow Wrightson, Sir Thomas
Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon Morrison, James Archibald Wylie, Alexander
Flower, Ernest Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.
Forster, Henry William Mount, William Arthur Younger, William
Foster, P. S. (Warwick, S. W. Muntz, Sir Philip A. TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Mr. Anstruther.
Galloway, William Johnson Murray, Rt. Hn A Graham(Bute
Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk. Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)
Gordon, Hon. J. E.(Elgin & Nrn. Murray, Col. Wyndham(Bath

Words added.

Main Question, as amended, proposed.

Debate arising.

And, it being after Midnight, and objection being taken to further proceeding, the debate stood adjourned.