§ MR. SMEATON
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether in view of the Report by Colonel Yorke on the cause of the fatal accident at Shrewsbury on the 14th October last, to the effect that Martin, the engine-driver, must have been overcome by sleep while the train was passing Crewe bank at a high speed, and therefore failed to see the signal and apply the brake in time, that Martin had been out of bed the whole of the previous night and most of the preceding four nights, with the exception of the 12th, he intends to take steps to prevent such overworking of engine-drivers, and what these steps are.
§ MR. CHIOZZA MONEY (Paddington N.)
At the same time may I ask the Secretary to the Board of Trade whether his attention has been directed to the fact that the official Report upon the recent Shrewsbury railway disaster attributes the accident to the deceased driver falling asleep on the footplate through overwork and lack of proper and regular rest; if he can state what representations have been made to the railway company concerned; and what steps the Board of Trade purpose to take in order to protect the travelling public from similar disasters.
§ MR. KEARLEY
The point to which Colonel Yorke drew attention was the frequency with which Driver Martin had been put on night duty, and he suggested that it would seem to be a wise precaution to prevent the driver of an express train being out of bed for two nights in succession, or, at any rate, to limit the number of such nights in any one week. The Board of Trade are in communication with the London and North-Western Railway Company regarding this and the other recommendations contained in the Report, and I need hardly say that the matter will receive careful and persistent attention.
§ MR. SMEATON
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that men of experience have declared it is not uncommon for engine-drivers, owing to strain of working at nights, to dose and even fall asleep on their engines?
§ MR. TOMKINSON (Crewe)
Has the attention of the hon. Gentleman been called to a large meeting of engine-drivers and firemen at Crewe the week before last at which the idea of an engine-driver going to sleep on an engine, and particularly one travelling fifty or sixty miles an hour, was condemned as absolutely impossible, and at the same time was it not the decision of the men that the failure of the brakes was most probably the cause of the accident?