§ MR. BELL (Derby)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will say what, if anything, is being done to ensure the adoption of the rules made by the Board of Trade; and whether he is making any arrangements for testing either-side brakes on waggons as desired 751 by the Railway and Canal Commissioners in July of last year.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The first part of this inquiry hardly lends itself to reply within the limits of an Answer to a Question in the House. The following general statement will, however, serve to indicate the nature of the steps taken by the Board. The Board have addressed letters of inquiry to the several railway companies as to the action taken by them to carry out the rules dealing with (1) propping and tow-roping, (2) the lighting of stations and sidings, and (3) the protection of permanent-way men. The replies received have been examined by the Board's technical officers, to whom also have been submitted such complaints as have been received from time to time of alleged infractions of the rules. Upon the advice of their officers the Board have, in numerous cases, ordered inspections to be made under Section 13 (1) of the Railway Employment (Prevention of Accidents) Act. Such inspections have been ordered and are in course of being carried out at thirty-six of the places where railway companies have represented that, in their opinion, the operations of propping or tow-roping must be continued for the present. It is satisfactory to note that propping has now, for the most part, been discontinued, and that at numerous places railway companies have provided crossover roads, so as to avoid the necessity of tow-roping. Inspections in regard to alleged insufficiency of lighting at places falling within the rule on the subject have been, or are about to be made, in eighty-three cases, and I am glad to say that where the Board's officers have considered further lighting to be needed, the companies generally have agreed to carry out their recommendations. As further rules become operative, I propose, in the first instance, to make inquiry as to the steps taken by the companies to comply with them. There has been some difficulty in making arrangements for the tests of either-side brakes to which the hon. Member refers. I understand, however, that the tests will be made early next month.
§ MR. GALLOWAY (Manchester, S.W.)
Is it not the fact that the difficulty in testing the either-side brakes has been caused by the Board of Trade itself?