§ MR. WEIR
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Board of Trade, in view of the fact that the North Eastern Railway Company adopted the system of electric traction last March on their own responsibility and without obtaining specific statutory powers, involving preliminary inspection on behalf of the Board of Trade, and that, although only thirty-three miles of the line is at the present time thus worked, as many as twenty-eight accidents have occurred through contact with the electrically charged rail, five fatal, will he take steps to warn other railway companies that they should obtain specific statutory powers before adopting this system of traction.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE BOARD OF TRADE (Mr. BONAR LAW, Glasgow, Blackfriars)
No, Sir, As I explained to the hon. Member in my reply of March 14th,† the Board of Trade are not able to take the steps suggested. With regard to the figures given by the hon. Member, I should perhaps explain that, while twenty-eight accidents have occurred from the use of electrical power on the railway in question, seven of these were not due to actual contact with the live rail.
§ MR. BONAR LAW
The hon. Member is, I think, under a misconception. We have considered the question from a legal point of view, but I am not prepared to say that they have not such powers.