HC Deb 01 August 1912 vol 41 cc2276-7W

asked the Postmaster-General, with reference to the answer given by him on the 19th August, 1911, when he stated that he anticipated that the occasions would probably be more numerous when the mails would reach New York in time for despatch by the night trains on Thursday nights, if he would state on how many occasions from that date to the present was there an arrival at New York in time for the mails to be despatched to the West by the ordinary night mail trains, in addition to the arrival of the "Mauretania" on the 28th September, when her mail was in time to go forward by such trains, but that ship was not detained at Queenstown to embark mails as, owing to the railway strike, all were put on board at Liverpool; was he aware that since the disaster to the "Titanic" the vessels are taking longer courses and that, as far as the homeward bound ships are concerned, earlier starts have been arranged for the Cunard steamers so as to ensure early arrival; and, in these circumstances, would he take into consideration the whole question and arrange for despatching the mails from Liverpool and so save the time expended at Queenstown, thus, ensuring an early arrival at New York?


On the occasion to which the hon. Member refers, when the "Mauretania" reached New York on Thursday evening the 28th of September last, a call had been made at Queenstown and mails from Ireland had been embarked there on the morning of the 24th. The mails for Canada, Chicago and the West of the United States were forwarded from New York by trains leaving at 12.25 a.m. and 3.5 a.m. on Friday the 29th. The mails for the West were forwarded at the same time on Friday on four other occasions at about the same pediod of last year. I am aware that a longer course to and from New York is now being taken, and that an earlier start from New York is being made by homeward bound Cunard steamers. The omission of the call at Queenstown by the Cunard Packets sailing from Liverpool would, as I have previously stated, involve in present circumstances a serious curtailment of the facilities for late posting throughout the United Kingdom. This would be the case even in Liverpool. The only return for this positive inconvenience, which would operate every week, would be the problematic advantage of an occasional earlier delivery of the correspondence in the United States of America; and I think there can be no doubt that in present circumstances the balance of advantage rests with the maintenance of the existing arrangement.