HC Deb 03 May 1911 vol 25 cc440-1

asked whether when a Cunard steamer arrived at Fishguard her mails were at once landed by tender and despatched immediately to London by the Great Western Railway Company, but that when, owing to the weather, as had happened on several occasions since the beginning of last month, the Cunard vessels had not been able to land their mails at Fishguard, and had carried them on to Liverpool, they had been seriously delayed there; for example, in the case of the "Lusitania," which vessel passed the Fastnet about 10.15 a.m. on the 6th March and was understood to have reached the Mersey about midnight, her mails were not landed for ninny hours after, and were alleged not to have reached London until 3.30 p.m. on the 7th March; and, in the circumstances, whether lie would make arrangements so that when the mails cannot be landed at Fishguard they shall be forwarded from Liverpool without delay after arrival there?


The mails conveyed by the Cunard packets arriving at Liverpool are landed and despatched to their destinations as expeditiously as possible in the varying circumstances. In the case of an arrival at night the mails are landed by tender when weather permits. On the occasion to which the hon. Member refers, the "Lusitania" came to anchor in the Mersey at 3.55 a.m. The mail consisted of over 3,400 bags, and the weather conditions were such that it was found impracticable to land the whole mail by tender. The packet came along- side the landing stage at 6.40 a.m., but the congestion of traffic at the Riverside Station made it impossible to despatch the mail train to London until 11.40 a.m. I have since taken measures which will, I hope, prevent any future occurrence of the kind.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Irish mails are carried to Fishguard and Liverpool, and is it not a fact that by that means they are delayed about tweny-four hours?


There is, on the whole, no delay compared with the old system, under which the boats stopped at Queenstown.