asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, since oil had been found in large quantities in the district, it had been thought practicable to continue at once the San Fernando—Siparia Railway in a westerly direction through the Morne L'Enfer reserve, to a point on the Cap de Ville— Erin Road, about midway between the seas or even further west; and whether 1302 there was any scheme to accomplish this at present under consideration?
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Colonel Seely)
This matter has engaged the attention of the Colonial Government, but was dropped last year for financial reasons. The Secretary of State has not heard that the project has been revived.
asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies if he can state the cause of the continued delay in the commencement of the construction of the various railway lines in Trinidad; whether he is now in a position to state the estimated cost of construction, respectively, of the Tabaquite Rio Clara and the San Fernando—Siparia Railways, and in what particulars the present estimated costs differ, if at all, from previous estimates; what has caused the difference; and whether any additional cost has been incurred owing to surveys being taken in directions not authorised?
§ Colonel SEELY
Some time has been occupied in discussion of the manner in which construction should be organised and controlled, and of certain legal questions in connection with the extension from San Fernando to Siparia. The general manager of the Trinidad Government Railways is now on his way to England to discuss plans and estimates with the consulting engineers. The estimates for the cost of construction which have lately been approved by the Legislative Council are £123,708 for the line from Tabaquite to Rio Clara and £141,891 for the line from San Fernando to Siparia. These sums, amounting to £265,599, are in excess of the rough estimate of £225,000 which was approved by the Council in March, 1908, and the difference is due to the more exact knowledge of the country to be traversed which has been acquired by the surveys made in the meantime, and to the alteration which it was found necessary to make in the route of the Rio Clara line, in the circumstances stated in my answer to a question by my hon. Friend on 3rd November last. In regard to the last part of the present question I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by me to another question on the same date.