§ LORD BRAYE
asked, Whether the railway companies in the United Kingdom are under any obligation to Parliament to abolish their level crossings; and, if so, during what period of time; and, if this is not the case, whether the Government intend to take any steps towards prohibiting the construction of level crossings for the future, or to compel the railway companies to gradually reduce the number of such crossings with a view to their total abolition; and, if so, during what period of time this gradual reduction is to extend?
§ LORD SUDELEY
, in reply, said: All level crossings of public roads are specifically authorized by the special Act which sanctions the construction of the railway. Railway Companies are under no obligation to abolish such level crossings unless the special Act contains a provision to that effect. The Railway Clauses Act, 1863, which applies to all railways authorized since that date, empowers the Board of Trade to require a Company to carry any turnpike or public carriage road over or under the railway by means of an arch or bridge, instead of crossing the same on the level, if it appears to them necessary for the public safety. In addition to this, the Board of Trade have since the year 1859, and in compliance with the Standing Orders, reported to Parliament on all level crossings of public roads proposed in the various Railway Bills. There is, 1479 however, no compulsion upon Select Committees to adopt these Reports, and the recommendations of the officers of the Board of Trade are occasionally disregarded, and level crossings which they have objected to are sometimes sanctioned.