HL Deb 18 June 1866 vol 184 cc502-3

Bill read 3a.


moved the omission of Clause 42, which proposed to limit the amount of compensation for accidents to be paid to passengers holding workmen's tickets to £100, and to substitute the arbitration of the Board of Trade for proceedings in a Court of Law in such cases.


was in favour of retaining the clause. A similar clause had been inserted in the Metropolitan Railway Extension Act of 1864, in the East London Railway Bill of 1865, and in the London, Chatham, and Dover Bill. But the clause objected to in the Bill under consideration would work more beneficially for mechanics and others of their class, than the similar clauses in the Acts to which he had referred. Railways which were at present bound to run workmen's trains were not liable, except to an extent limited by law, for accidents to passengers by them; and since the companies chose to permit workmen to travel by more trains than the single train each way at the penny fares, he thought it only right that the principle of limited compensation should be accorded to the companies in respect to those passengers, in the same way as if they travelled by the special morning or evening workmen's trains. If the principle were found to be just when applied to the single train, surely it would be equally just to extend it to the several trains. The fact was that the limitation would work advantageously for the working classes. If it were not so extended, the result would be that the additional accommodation would be discontinued.


said, that in his opinion the railway companies should be liable to the full extent, as estimated by a jury, for injuries done to passengers through the negligence of their servants. He knew of no sufficient reason to induce the Legislature to order that the family of an artizan should not be compensated to the full extent of their loss in case he should be killed by an accident in a railway train which had arisen, in the opinion of a jury, in consequence of the negligence of the railway company's servants. It might be urged that, under the circumstances, it would be advisable to limit the amount of compensation in case of accident in proportion to the fare paid; but he thought it very probable that if the principle were once admitted in a general way it would be framed into a precedent, and their Lordships would be asked to admit the principle again and again. If he gave his consent to retain the clause, it would be on the distinct understanding that it should not be made a precedent.


said, the noble Earl spoke as if it were proposed to introduce the principle of the clause into a Bill for the first time. That was not the case. It was part of the arrangement, when metropolitan railway companies were required to run workmen's trains, that they should not be liable for more than £100 on account of an accident to a passenger by these trains. Now that the railway companies had at their own risk allowed workmen to travel at the penny fares by any train, he thought it fair to extend the limit of compensation to passengers, travelling with workmen's tickets by those trains.

Resolved in the Negative.

Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.