§ Sir JOHN DEWAR
asked the President of the Board of Trade if any progress has been made with the negotiations for the future working of the Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway; and if he will endeavour to prevent the line being closed for traffic at the conclusion of the present agreement?
The Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway Company inform me there is at present an arrangement to carry on the working of the line until 31st July next, but that no arrangement has been made to continue the working beyond that date. The company also point out that since the railway was opened for traffic it has cost several of the shareholders practically £1,000 per annum to meet the loss on working and maintenance, and that these shareholders are not now in a position to contribute towards this loss. It is, therefore, feared that unless assistance is received to meet the loss 23 in future, it will not be possible to continue the working of the line after the date named above. The Board of Trade can take no steps to prevent the closing of the line for traffic, and it would seem to be for those interested locally to see whether some arrangement cannot be come to for the continuance of the working.
§ Sir JOHN DEWAR
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the local committee in charge of this matter has already raised a considerable sum, £1,000, I think, from the local small holders and others, and that this has exhausted their present resources; that they have also exhausted their resources of negotiation because the negotiations are between unwilling buyers and unwilling sellers; and, whether he is aware or not, will the right hon. Gentleman endeavour to use a little friendly negotiation, and perhaps secure a little assistance from the Development Fund to carry on the railway?
I shall be very glad to do all I can in a friendly way, but as I have pointed out, I have no powers in the matter. I shall be very sorry indeed if the negotiations break down. I shall be glad if my hon. Friend will communicate anything further to me.