1902 Encyclopedia > Railway, Railways (Railroad) > Railway Law and Legislative Measures

Railway, Railways
(Part 43)


Railway Law and Legislative Measures

Parliament soon began to exercise control over railways by means of standing orders; and in 1832 a passenger duty of 1/2d. per mile for every four passengers carried was levied on railway companies. In 1842 a Government department was instituted whereby the Board of Trade was empowered to appoint inspectors of railways, to postpone the opening of railways, to disallow bye-laws and to institute legal proceedings against companies for infringing the law. The Board of Trade was further empowered to direct companies to make returns of accidents, of traffic, and of tolls levied. The passenger duty was fixed at 5 per cent. of the gross receipts from passengers. In 1846 the Commissioners of Railways, five in number, were appointed, to whom the jurisdiction of the Board of Trade was transferred, but in 1851 it was re-transferred to the Board of Trade. The Railway and Canal Traffic Act, 1854, requires railway companies to provide "reasonable facilities" for receiving, forwarding, and delivering their own traffic and the traffic of other companies, and to abstain from "unreasonable" preference. It appears to have been of small practical utility until 1873. The Regulation of Railways Act, 1873, establishes a new tribunal, "The Railway Commissioners," not more than three in number, one to be of experience in the law and one of experience in railway business. The principal duty of the commissioners is to enforce the observance of the "reasonable facilities" section of the Act of 1854. The commissioners have power to enjoin the forwarding of through traffic at through rates, the power being set in motion by the companies only. The commissioners are empowered whenever there is a dispute between two companies that can be referred to arbitration to decide such dispute. The Employers’ Liability Act, 1880, provides that where personal injury is caused to a workman by reason of the negligence of any person in the service of the employer, who has the charge or control of any signal, points, locomotive engine, or train upon a railway, he or his representatives shall have the same right of compensation or remedy against the employer as if the workman had not been in the service of the employer nor engaged in his work. The amount of compensation is not to exceed three years’ earnings of the workman.

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