§ Sir HAROLD ELVERSTON
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the most serious loss of life in recent railway accidents has been caused by rolling stock taking fire after collisions; and whether he is prepared to issue an Order making it obligatory that all new railway carriages shall be constructed of material which is naturally un- 500W inflamable or has been rendered uninflammable by special treatment?
I presume that my hon. Friend has in mind the recent accident on the North Eastern Railway, and that on the Caledonian Railway in May at Quintinshill. The report on the accident on the former line has not been received, but from the report on the Caledonian accident it would not seem that the most serious loss of life was due to the fire. The inspecting officer who held the inquiry made a recommendation in his report that coaches should be constructed of steel as far as possible, and that any timber used should be rendered non-inflammable. Some of the principal companies are understood to be carrying out this recommendation, but the Board have no powers as regards ordinary railways to make such an order as that suggested by my hon. Friend. On underground electric railways on which the rolling stock must be of a type approved by the Board of Trade woodwork on the cars has to be non-inflammable.