HC Deb 14 March 1905 vol 142 cc1378-9

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Board of Trade, having regard to the fact that the North Eastern Railway Company have electrified a portion of their system without obtaining specific statutory powers, will he state whether he proposes to notify other railway companies in the United Kingdom of the irregularity of such a course; will he state how many miles of the North Eastern system have been electrified, on what date the system came into force, the number of accidents resulting therefrom, and the number of persons besides Alice Maughan who have lost their lives through contact with unprotected rails; whether compensation has been granted in the case of each accident; and whether the Board of Trade inspectors are now quite satisfied that the rails are sufficiently protected.


The Board of Trade are not prepared to say that the North Eastern has been guilty of any irregularity, and see no necessity, therefore, to call the attention of the companies generally to the course adopted by that railway. I understand that the length of that company's line which has been electrically equipped is thirty-three miles, and that electrical working was begun towards the end of last March. Up to the present time twenty-eight accidents have occurred from the use of electrical power on this railway; this number includes four fatal accidents, in addition to that mentioned by the hon. Member, resulting from contact with the electrically charged rail. The Board of Trade are not aware whether compensation has been paid by the railway company in each case. An inquiry has been held into the accident to Alice Maughan, but the Board of Trade have not yet received the inspecting officer's report. The railway company has carried out the recommendations of the inspecting officers in so far as they have been made at present.