§ Sir Robert Peel
did not know to what member of her Majesty's Government he should address his question, not knowing what officer was connected with railways, or that branch of the public service. He wished to know whether there existed at present a commission of engineers for the purpose of reporting upon contested lines of railway in England; and if there were, what were the lines referred to that commission for its decision?
§ Mr. Labouchere
was not aware that he could answer the right hon. Gentleman's question with perfect accuracy. He believed the matter stood thus:—There were two addresses in the course of the last session of Parliament—one for an inquiry into two lines of railway, which were in contemplation in the north of England, with a view to ascertain their respective merits—he meant the line leading from London towards Edinburgh and Glasgow —the other address referred to the lines contemplated towards Ireland. In consequence of these addresses to the Crown, in the course of last session, engineers were appointed to investigate those lines which had been surveyed, and he knew that the engineers were at present prosecuting the inquiry; and, he would add, with all convenient speed the result of those inquiries would be made public. When that commission was appointed, he believed express care was taken to guard against its being supposed that it was a general commission of engineers to inquire into all competing lines, or to inquire generally into the subject of railways. On the contrary, it was stated that the commission would merely apply to the lines already surveyed, and which might be supposed to have reference to the great lines of communication with the North, and with England.
§ Sir R. Peel
presumed that it was not intended to take these lines out of the hands of private companies for the purpose of having them executed by the Government.
§ Mr. Labouchere
said, decidedly not. The Government, viewing the importance of the subject, had considered itself authorised to interfere merely to see that the best lines were selected.
§ Subject dropped.