HL Deb 04 March 1897 vol 46 cc1568-70

rose to ask the Postmaster General whether, when the accelerated mail service to Ireland should have come into operation, whereby the mails then, due at Dundalk about 8 a.m., were expected to be due there before 7.30 a.m., provision would be made for forwarding the mails for Enniskillen, Cavan, and other places in the north-west of Ire-bind, so as to do away with their detention at Dundalk which at present existed, and which would be otherwise considerably aggravated. He said he believed that in about a month's time the new accelerated mail service between tins country and Ireland would come into force, and that about an hour would be gained between London and Dublin, about 25 minutes, he understood, upon this side, and about 35 minutes in the sea passage. At present the mails going to the north of Ireland left the Dublin Station of the Great Northern Railway of Ireland at a quarter before seven, and they were carried direct to Belfast and Londonderry, and certain towns between those places and Dublin. The mails which went in the direction of the north-west went by a branch line from Dundalk, formerly called the Irish North Western Railway, which was now a branch of the main system of the Great Northern of Ireland, and were detained nearly an hour at Dundalk, and then they went on by a stopping train, called the boat train, as it was connected with the steamer from Greenore to Holyhead. Under the altered system the mails would arrive at 26 minutes after seven, instead of a little after eight. Unless some change were made by the Post Office, the mails to the north-west would be delayed between an hour and an hour and a-half. As regarded Enniskillen and Cavan, which were both about the same distance from Dundalk, the train reached the former at 11.25, and the latter about 11.20. The time left for answering letters was about half an hour, but under the new system, if the mails could be sent off at once, they would have about three hours. He had been in private communication with the manager of the Great Northern, who was an old friend, and he found it was impossible to interfere with the nine o'clock train from Dundalk, owing to its being in connection with Greenore, and necessary for the traffic from Newry and places north of Dundalk. There could be no acceleration of that train; and the only remedy was to put on an extra train. That was a question of terms with the Post Office. All the business people in that part of the country were very anxious that that should be done, and, therefore, he asked the noble Duke if he could see his way to approach the Great Northern so that the extra train might be put on?


The point raised by the noble Earl is only one point in a larger scheme for the acceleration of the mails which is at present engaging earnest attention, and I feel I cannot de more than read to him the answer I have prepared. The matter referred to is being considered in connection with the revision of the Irish day mail services consequent on the acceleration of the mail service between England and Ireland. I shall not fail to place before the railway company the strong desire that exists for improvement, in the hope that some arrangement may be found to be practicable. I am glad to hear that the noble Earl is on terms of friendship with the general manager of the Great Northern of Ireland, and I trust that pressure will be made use of. I trust, also, that with the efforts to give every facility, those who have influence will not be slow to point out that it will be to their own interest that the companies should do everything they can to carry out this acceleration.


Can the noble Duke tell us when the general scheme of acceleration will come into force?


On the 1st of April.