Correspondence collected by the Board of Trade on the subject of locking passenger doors, a practise condemned forever by the terrible train fire at Versailles.
This document was published on 14th June 1842 by Her Majesty's Government.
It was written by Board of Trade.
The original document format was Bound Volume, and comprised 13 pages.
This document was kindly sourced from Graham Teal and is in our Letters & telegraphs collection. It was added to the Archive on 25th July 2008.
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"The attention of the Lords of the Committee of Privy Council for Trade having been drawn to the practice of locking the doors of railway carriages, in consequence of the recent disaster on the Paris and Versailles Railway, their Lordships have referred the subject to the Inspector-general of Railways, Major-general Pasley, who has reported to the following effect :-
"That his opinion is decided that passengers in a railway carriage ought not to be shut in, by locking both doors, without the power of getting out, though it is proper and useful to lock all the carriage-doors on the off-side towards the middle of the railway, where they might he crushed by a train moving on the other line of rails; that if the passengers have the power of getting out on the near side of the train only, it may be the means of saving their lives under many circumstances, which are too obvious to require explanation, and that the opposite practice of locking up the passengers is said to have caused the loss of many lives which might otherwise have been saved in the late lamentable railway catastrophe at Paris.
"That the practice of locking both doors has been adopted by one or two Companies in this country, from a belief that it is safer to deprive passengers of the means of jumping out when the train is in motion; but that this precaution is of little use in the case of third-class passengers, who travel in open carriages, and can seldom be of use, except in the case of persons reckless from the effect of liquor, or devoid of common prudence, in which case any accident that might occur would be justly attributed to the individual himself; while in the case of lives being lost in consequence of the passengers being locked up, the blame would be properly attributed to the Directors""
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