House of Lords Debate, 25 July 1834
Lord Wharncliffe moved the second reading of the Great Western Railway Bill.
The Earl of Cadogan rose to oppose the Motion. He observed, that the road front Windsor to London was the first which had been projected through this part of the country, and this road, which on that account deserved their Lordships’ favour, would be materially affected, and its projectors injured by this Bill. There were roads extending along different parts of this line, which only required to be connected together in order to render them perfect. That object might be effected at less expense, and with greater advantage, than the road which was called by the high-sounding appellation of the great Western Railway. This project had been so altered in the Committee in the Commons, that it was no longer capable of performing the promise at first held out, but would, at least at the London end, leave the parties at a distance of three or four miles from London, to bring their goods hither how they could. The road was now to terminate at Brompton, which would have the effect he had stated. This was his first objection. His next objection was, that the line now contemplated was not a complete line, as the road came from Bristol to Bath, but left goods between Bath and Reading to be brought by the Kennet and Avon Canal Company, and from Reading to Brompton by the Rail-road. The third objection he had was, that the number of the assents was not so great, nor was their property so considerable, as that of the dissents; and the fourth objection was, that their Lordships had already given their assent to the London and Southampton Railway Bill, which would be rendered almost good for nothing, for at least a considerable part of the distance, if this Bill should be carried. Under these circumstances he should move, “That the Bill be read a second time this day six Months.”
House of Commons Debate
10 March 1834
Lord Granville Somerset moved the second reading of the Western Rail-road Bill.
The Earl of Kerry, having been requested by the Great Western Railway Company to second the Motion for the Second Reading, would take that opportunity of stating the reason which induced him to support the measure. It was well known that Bristol was the great “entrepot” of the imports from Ireland, and in that respect the railway would be one of great national importance, for by it the best and most wholesome food would be obtained by the labouring classes of this great metropolis more cheaply. It would be of great advantage also to all the western counties, allowing their produce to be brought cheaper than at present to the London market. As to the objection that the advocates of the Bill were supporting a measure which had no body, but merely a head and a tail, it was one that had been argued a considerable time before the Committee. He admitted that it was so, but, in explanation of it he would beg to state how the speculation was got up. It only commenced last August; and every Gentleman who was acquainted with the proceedings must know that, before the end of October, notices were served upon all the persons whose property was likely to be affected by it, as it was necessary that the Company should order a survey of the whole line of the proposed Railway. The evil complained of, therefore, would be remedied in time. He considered this a great national undertaking, and he was sure that the grounds of opposition to it which he had heard frequently out of the House would have no weight in it. He regretted that some opposition was made to this Bill by a learned body, the Provost and Fellows of Eton College; but he had learned that the nearest point to the College at which the Railway touched was a mile and a half distant. Now the governors of Harrow and Rugby, within a quarter of a mile of the first of which the Birmingham Rail-road would pass, had not objected to that, nor did they think that the interests of those establishments would be affected by it. If there were any objections to be made to this Bill, he thought the proper time would be when it was in Committee. Out of 1,368 landowners on the proposed line of road, only 135 had expressed their dissent to it. He did not think it was necessary for him to add any more as he hoped that the House would agree to the Second Reading, and they would then have a full opportunity of discussing it in Committee.