§ MR. JOHN ELLIS (Nottinghamshire, Rushcliffe)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he will state the steps which have been taken by his Department since March, 1903, to carry out the Railway Employment (Prevention of Accidents) Act, 1900, particularly as to the making of rules under Section 1, the inspection of railways under Section 13, and the making of inquiries and experiments under Section 15.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE (Mr. GERALD BALFOUR,) Leeds, Central
As the hon. Member is aware, the Board of Trade put forward an amended rule under Section 1 of the Act respecting the provision of either-side brake levers on goods wagons, such rule being drawn on lines indicated by the Court of the Railway and Canal Commission when this subject was previously before the court. Certain objections were made to this amended rule by railway companies and were referred to the court. These objections were heard by the court in July last, but the hearing was adjourned in order that experiments might be conducted on certain forms of brake with regard to which evidence had been given. The Board are also proposing a rule to meet an application by the Taff Vale Railway Company for an exemption of certain trains from the operation of No. 8 of the rules made in 1902. The application was not in the first instance entertained by the Board of Trade, but the Commissioners to whom the matter was referred in pursuance of the Act decided that in the particular circumstances some exemption was reasonable. Since I replied to a Question by the hon. Member on the 25th March last year, sixty-eight additional inspections have been ordered of stations and sidings in connection with either the lighting thereof or the operations of propping and tow-roping. The reports of the inspecting officers on thirty-five of these cases have been received, and I am glad to be able to say that so far the railway companies seem generally willing to carry out any improvements the Board's officers have thought necessary. Arrangements areSee (4) Debates, cxx., 170.584 being made for the experiments to which I have already referred on particular forms of either-side brakes and I hope they will shortly be carried out.