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3rd. All provisions of magnitude which may be novel in their principle, or may involve extended consideration of public policy; for example, amalgamation and agreements between separate companies; extension of capital; powers enabling railway companies to pursue purposes different in kind from those for which they were incorporated; modifications of the general law; also, fares and charges; and generally, all points connected with the bills to which my Lords may think it right, on public grounds, to draw the attention of Parliament. Such report to be signed by the President or Vice-President of this committee; but it shall in no case pronounce an opinion on the actual or comparative merits of any railway scheme.
6. My lords direct that the annual report of the officers of the railway department, to the Lords of the Committee of Privy Council for Trade, shall be laid, as heretofore, on the table of both Houses of Parliament.
The rules which my Lords have now laid down for the transaction of railway business, will be subject to reconsideration hereafter, if, from further change of circumstances, or otherwise, they should be found inapplicable or inconvenient.
II. Jurisdiction of the Board of Trade, by the Statute Law.
The existing regulations for the management of railway business in the Board of Trade having been pointed out in the foregoing section, it is now proposed to consider the extent of the powers, which have been entrusted to that body, by the statute law.
It must be observed,—1st, that this subject is discussed, without reference to any powers which may be conferred on the Board of Trade, by any special railway act, and which have, therefore, reference only to the particular railway; 2ndly, that, as a clause is now usually inserted in the special acts, by which new companies are made subject to the provisions, of all general acts relating to railways, the following provisions are applicable to all such new companies:—
1. By the Railway Clauses Consolidation Act, 8 Vict. c. 20, the Board of Trade are enabled to sanction deviations in executing engineering works upon railways, in certain specified cases. That act requires that the railway shall be kept at certain levels, as referred to the common datum line, in the parliamentary section, unless the consent of the owners of adjoining property, or of two justices, can be obtained; but in all such cases of consent, the company are required to give public notice of the intended deviations, and the owner of any lands prejudicially affected thereby, may apply to the Board of Trade, who are empowered to decide whether, having regard to the interests of the applicants, such proposed deviation is proper to be made, and they may decide such question accordingly, and, by their certificate, either disallow the making of such deviation, or authorise its being made (y).
The same statute forbids companies from deviating from or altering the gradients, curves, tunnels, or other engineering works, as described in the Parliamentary section, except within certain prescribed limits; but it is provided, that gradients may be altered to any further extent, which shall be certified by the Board of Trade to be consistent with public safety, and not prejudicial to the public interest; and in like manner the radius of a curve may be diminished, or a tunnel substituted for an open cutting, if such alterations be authorised by certificate from the Board (z). And the 66th section of the same act—after reciting that expense might frequently be avoided, and public convenience promoted, by a reference to the Board of Trade, upon the construction of public works of an engineering nature, connected with the railway, where a strict compliance with that act, or the special act, might be impossible, or attended with inconvenience to the company, and without adequate advantage
(y) 8 Vict. c. 20, ss. 11, 12, post, Appendix, 160.
Authority of the Board of Trade, to inspect a railway, before It is
to the public,-enacts, that, if any difference in regard to the construction, alteration, or restoration of any road, or bridge, or other public work of an engineering nature, should arise between the company and any trustees, &c., or other persons, either party, after giving notice to the other, may apply to the Board of Trade, to decide on the proper manner of constructing, &c., such work, and the Board may then, if they think fit, decide the same accordingly, and authorise, by certificate, any arrangement or mode of construction, in regard to such work, which shall appear to them, either to be in substantial compliance with the provisions of that and the special act, or to be calculated to afford equal or greater accommodation to the public; but no such certificate can be granted, unless the Board are satisfied that existing private rights or interests, will not be injuriously affected thereby (a).
2. No railway, or any portion of a railway, can be opened for the public conveyance of passengers, until one calendar opened for public month after notice of the intention of opening it, has been given to the Board of Trade, by the company, and until ten days after notice has also been given, of the time when the railway will be, in the opinion of the company, sufficiently completed for the safe conveyance of passengers, and ready for inspection (6). If the officer appointed to inspect any new railway, shall report that the opening would be attended with danger to the public, by reason of the incompleteness of the works or permanent way, or the insufficiency of the establishment, together with the grounds of his opinion, the Board of Trade may, from time to time, order and direct the company to postpone the opening, for any period not exceeding one month at any one time, until it shall at last appear that such opening may take place
(a) 8 Vict. c. 20, s. 66, post, Appendix, 176.
(b) 5 & 6 Vict. c. 55, s. 4, post,
Appendix, 21; repealing 3 & 4 Vict. c. 97, ss. 1, 2, post, Appendix, 15.
without danger to the public: but it is provided, that no such order shall be binding on the company, unless a copy of the report of the officer be delivered to the company with the order (c). It is further provided, that, if any company open a railway without giving the before-mentioned notices, or in contravention of any such order and direction of the Board of Trade, they shall forfeit £20 for every day during which the railway shall so continue open (d). And, lastly, to enable the officers of the Board of Trade to execute their duties, they are authorised at all reasonable times to enter upon and examine railways, and the stations, works, and buildings, and the engines and carriages (e); and if any person wilfully obstructs an officer in the execution of his duty, a justice may fine the party offending £10 (ƒ).
3. Several provisions are to be found in the statutes with respect to the superintendence of railways, when constructed; and, first, if the railways of two or more companies have a common terminus, or a portion of the same line of rails in common, or which form separate portions of one continued line of railway communication, and they shall not be able to agree upon arrangements, for conducting their joint traffic with safety to the public, the Board of Trade are authorised, upon the application of either of the parties, to decide the questions in dispute, so far as the same relate to the safety of the public, and to order and determine by whom the expenses attending on the arrangements shall be borne (g). So, where railway companies are bound by their acts of incorporation to make, at the expense of the owner or occupier of lands adjoining a railway, open
(e) 5 & 6 Vict. c. 55, s. 6, post, Appendix, 21.
(d) 5 & 6 Vict. c. 55, ss. 5, 6, post, Appendix, 21.
(e) 3 & 4 Vict. c. 97, s. 5, post, Appendix, 16; and 7 & 8 Vict.
c. 85, s. 16, post, Appendix, 34.
(f) 3 & 4 Vict. c. 97, s. 6, post, Appendix, 16.
(g) 5 & 6 Vict. c. 55, s. 11, post, Appendix, 23.
ings in the ledges or flanches thereof, for effecting communications with any collateral or branch railway, and any disagreement or difference arises between the company and such owner or occupier or other persons, as to the proper places for making such communication, then the Board of Trade are empowered to hear and determine the same, in such way as they shall think fit, and their determination is binding on all parties (h). And, although by the act of incorporation of any company, such disagreements as those above mentioned, are therein directed to be heard by justices of the peace, their jurisdiction is taken away (i). A clause in a subsequent statute, (which is not, as will be seen, applicable to all railways),-after reciting that powers of laying down branch lines opening into the ledges or flanches of main lines of railway, and of passing along such main lines, with carriages and waggons drawn by locomotive engines, or by other mechanical or animal power, and also powers to form roads or railways across existing railways on a level, had been given by various acts relative to railways, to the owners or occupiers of lands adjoining the railway, and to other persons with their consent,-enacts, that if, in the case of any railway on which passengers (k) are conveyed by steam or other mechanical power, it shall appear to the Board of Trade, that such power cannot be so exercised, without seriously endangering the public safety, and that an arrangement may be made, with a due regard to existing rights of property, the Board are authorised to order and direct that such powers shall only be exercised, subject to such conditions as they shall direct (?).
(h) 3 & 4 Vict. c. 97, ss. 18, 19, post, Appendix, 19.
(i) 3 & 4 Vict. c. 97, s. 18, post, Appendix, 19.
() No railway is to be considered a passenger railway within this clause, if two-thirds of its gross annual re
venue is derived from the carriage of coals, iron, stone, or other metals or minerals. See 5 & 6 Vict. c. 55, s. 12, post, Appendix, 23.
(1) 5 & 6 Vict. c. 55, s. Appendix, 23.