Hide Articles List

16 articles on this Page















BARRY RAILWAY (STEAM VESSELS) BILL. The Select Committee of the House of Commons, presided over by Mr de Tatton Egerton, on Thursday, the 28th ultimo, considered the Barry Railway (Steam Vessels) Bill to authorise the Barry Railway Company to provide steam vessels, and enter into arrangements with steamship companies, in order to facilitate the transmission of traffic from their railways and docks to ports and places in the Bristol Channel. The Bill had already passsd the House of Lords. Mr Worsley Taylor, Q.C., in opening the case for the Bill, said the Barry Railway Company had spent some £5,000,000 upon their docks and works, and they now asked for power to provide steam vessels to ply between Barry and places in the Bristol Channel, within a line drawn from Tenby on the north, through Lundy Island to a point on the south side, near Clovelly. There was a proviso in the Bill that the passenger traffic should start from and return to Barry. In Glamorgan, Carmarthenshire, and Monmouthshire ) there were over a million people, and by the provision of these steamers an enormous summer excursion traffic would be provided for. It was to the interests of the people of these districts that power should be granted to the Barry Company to provide facilities for people desiring to visit the neighbouring seaside resorts. Barry was in process of becoming a great port for imports, and there was a large quantity of goods landed there which people wished to have at places around the Bristol Channel, and it was well that, if these vessels were provided, they should be permitted to carry these goods. Messrs Campbell, who opposed the Bill, were the owners of a number of boats calling at Barry from Cardiff. In competition with Messrs Campbell there was originally a Mr Robinson, but that gentleman's boats had been run off by Messrs Campbell, who, having thus created a manopoly, desired naturally to keep it. This year there had been communications between the Barry Company and Messrs Campbell, who had asked the Barry Company to give a guarantee of £6,500 before they would provide a fixed service. The Barry Company had no power to give such a guarantee, but they were now asking powers to provide a service at their own risk to meet the demands of the pleasure-seeking public. The opposition of the Great Western Railway Company was mainly directed to the question of the carriage of goods. Mr T. R. Thompson, a director of the Barry Railway Company, in giving evidence in support of the Bill, said the Barry Company had con- structed a deep-water pontoon, which had been equipped so as to provide for a cross Channel service independent of the tide. The pontoon would serve both for goods and passenger service. The Barry Railway communicated with all the mining districts and also with the Midlands, and there was a great excursion traffic to Barry. People, if the proposals of the Bill were carried out, would be able to come down to Barry in the morning, go by boat to Ilfracombe, and return to their homes at night. That could at present only be done when the tide served. In erecting the pontoon and the bridge to Barry Island the Barry Company had spent some £ 200,000, which would remain idle if the vessels were not provided. On the completion of the pontoon last year, Messrs Campbell had carried on a service for two months, and so great was the traffic that passengers often had to be left behind. Messrs Campbell now refused, unless under a guarantee of £ 6,500. If Messrs Campbell succeeded in stopping the Barry service now proposed, miners would have to go to Cardiff and pay 4s 6d to go to Ilfracombe, instead of 3s 6d to go from Barry. In regard to the goods traffic, there were many places desiring goods to be obtained at Barry. Small parcels brought by vessels into Barry would be able to pass by these proposed steamers to other parts of the Channel, which would be a great convenience to the public. Witness was cross-examined on bebalf of Messrs Campbell to show that there would be no grea.t advantage to the pleasure seeking public from the proposed service. Cross-examined for the Great Western Railway, he said the steamers would run to Ilfracombe so long as there was any appreciable traffic. They would run to Weston all the year round daily. With regard to Minehead, it would depend on circumstances. He had no doubt the traffic would largely develope. Mr D. A. Thomas, M.P., said he employed some 3,000 men in his collieries. He was well acquainted with the whole district, and considered the proposals of the Bill were to the public interest. The facilities offered of a time-table service would be much appreciated by the working population, and also by many business men who desired ready access between the places where they carried on business and these pleasure resorts. He considered that if the proposals of the Bill were carried out the traffic between places on the channel would be much stimulated. Mr Lay bourne (chairman of the Weston Pier Comnanv* gave evidence as to the facilities for IsmdFng passengers at. Weston and the necessity for the proposed service. The extension of the Weston Pier was being pushed on, and would be completed within the five years allowed by Parlia- Mr J. Andrews (past president of the Cardiff Chamber of Commerce), having also given evidence in favour of the Bill, the Committee adjourned. Mr Balfour Browne, Q.C., in addressing the com- mittee in opposition, referring to Barry said :-So much for the three great towns-the two that are supplied and the other that is going to supply (Swansea), and for which a large amount of money has been expended. Now Barry has not, at the present time, got a supply, and I do not wonder at it When the Barry Railway was promoted Barry Island was a desert. There, was one inn, I think, at the place there was nothing else but a few rabbits on the Island, I believe. That was in 1884, when the Bill was dropped. In 1889, when the dock was practically opened, there was a population of 10,000 at Barry. In 1899 a popula- tion of 31,436. The houses each year that have been erected I see vary from 1,034 down to 514. The rateable valuable, of course, when the railway was began to be constructed was practically nil; when it was opened it was. £ 17,646 In March, 1900, the rateable value was £ 230,172. It is absolutely phenomenal. We have not yet got electricity. I do not wonder, because when you find, in this short number of years, that all the municipal work has to be done, drains have to be carried out, water and gas supply has to be got, a gas supply by some of these very substantial promoters that my learned friend spoke of-a gas supply inagurated by a company and passed over intc> the hands, of the local authority at £ 210 for the £ 100 share. I think that is what they want to do with the electricity. Now we have provided, amongst other things, a depot for storage of carts, a refuse destructor, at which Mr Harris sneered yesterday, a fire engine station, a sanatorium with a great number of beds on a freehold site of two acres, a small pox hospital, allotments, and so on. Now this is significent. At the beginning of the dock there was no tonnage at all, but the tonnage of the dock now is 3,328,000; the total exports and imports are calculated at close upon 8,000,000 tons. Now is this the time for this authority to be Now is this the time for this authority to be invaded? The Chairman You might add for the informa- tion of the committee that you have a system of cranes at the Barry Dock worked by hydraulic pressure, rather than by electricity. Mr Balfour Browne I am obliged to you I did not know that the dock appliances are first rate I venture to say that there is no dock in the country better equipped than the Barry Docks, and none better managed than the Barry Dock and Railways. RESUMED HEARING. The Select Committee continued the considera- tion of the Bill on Friday, and evidence in support was given by Mr Ede, harbour master at Ilfra- combe Mr C. G. Barnett, clerk to < e Ilfracombe District Council; Mr Holman, c cctor of the Minehead Pier Company Mr W. S..ith, late clerk to the Weston District Council; and Mr J. A. Hughes, clerk to the Barry District Council. Sir J. Wolfe Barry, C.E., said there would be 16ft. or 18ft. of water alongside the pontoon on Barry Island at low water spring tides, a depth not to be obtained elsewhere on the north side. The vessels would come alongside the pontoon, lifts had been provided for luggage, and rising and falling gangways for passengers. The extensions to Barry Island and the construction of the pontoon and dredging had cost the Barry Com- pany £200,000, which sum would be absolutely unremunerative without the powers of the Bill.- Cross-examined, witness said the Barry Company did not desire to run boats to or from Cardiff or Bristol. This concluded the case for the promoters, and the Committee adjourned. THE PREAMBLE NOT PROVED. The Select Committee of the House of Commons on Monday continued the consideration of the Barry Railway Steam Vessels Bill. Mr Balfour Brown, Q.C., addressing the Committee on behalf of Messrs Campbell, said the Bill raised an important question of principle. The preamble of the Bill was not borne out by the clauses. The preamble said that it would be for the public convenience that the railway company should have the powers asked for in order to facilitate the transmission of traffic from their railway to places on the Bristol Channel. That pointed to a ferry service. There had been no real evidence offered of any other public want. There had been talk of an excursion traffic, but that was not within the meaning of the preamble of the Bill, and he would asked the Committee to say that it was not right for a railway com- pany to undertake such traffic. The railway company s business was to carry their ordindary traffic, and if there was an excursion traffic to be carried across the Bristol Channel, arrangements could easily be made with private owners to accommodate that traffic, There was a Standing Order of the House against granting such powers to a railway company as were now asked, unless the Committee were satisfied that such a restric- tion ought not to be enforced. It was contrary to public policy to allow a railway company to become a monopolist, not only of their own line, but of the things at the end of that railway, like piers, harbours, or steamboats, because the result would be that steamboat proprietors would inevitably be run off the road, and private enter- prise upon the sea would be killed. If there was an excursion traffic that would pay to carry, Messrs Campbell were quite willing to run boats to accommodate it. If, however, the Committee thought fit to pass the Bill he would ask that the service should be confined to the ferry traffic in connection with the Company's trains, and that the railway company should be excluded from plying between Bristol and Barry. If these restrictions were not placed on the railway com- pany. Messrs Campbell would be driven off the Channel, and the whole traffic would pass into the hands of the Barry Railway Company. Captain Alex. Campbell, manager and director of Messrs Campbell and Company, gave evidence in opposition. At this point Mr Balfour Browne said the promoters had accepted words to be inserted in the Bill limiting the powers of the Barry Railway Company, so as to remove the necessity for Messrs Campbell continuing their opposition. Under the agreement come to the Barry Company would not be able to carry passengers out of Bristol other than those carried there by them, and would not be able to run excursions from Cardiff, Newport, or Chepstow. Mr Baggallay, Q.C., for the Great Western Com- pany, said the question of public policy had to be considered by the Committee under the Standing Order of the House. He asked the Committee to reject the Bill. or, at least, to restrict the Barry Company to a ferry service to particular places.. Mr Pember, replying for the promoters, con- tended there were dozens of precedents for allow- ing railway companies to conduct undertakings in connection with their lines. Barry was the best port for a steamer service in the Bristol Channel. The railway company had spent £ 200,000, under the sanction of Parliament, on the provision of a pontoon and other facilities, and unless the Bill were passed no such service could be provided, or any benefit be derived from this great expenditure of money. The Committee having deliberated, declared that the preamble of the Bill was not proved. The measure is, therefore, lost for the present session.