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view document PDF (0.6Mb download)Regulation of Railways Act

Document Summary

This act introduced government regulation to the railways which were springing up around the country at this time; the Railways Department of the Board of Trade (the predecessor of Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate) was created to fulfil this task.

Measures contained in the Act were;

  • No railway to be opened without notice;
  • Returns to be made by railway companies;
  • Appointment of Board of Trade inspectors;
  • Railway byelaws to be approved by the Board;
  • Prohibition of drunkenness by railway employees;
  • Prohibition of trespass on railways.

  • Please note that this Act is presented in its original form as passed. This Act may have been amended by subsequent legislation. For details of amendments please see the UK Statute Law Database at

    This document was published on 10th August 1840 by Her Majesty's Stationery Office.

    It was written by Her Majesty's Government.

    The original document format was Paper, and comprised 7 pages.

    This document was kindly sourced from Parliamentary Archives and is in our Primary legislation collection. It was added to the Archive on 24th January 2005.

    Copyright Information

    This document is Crown Copyright, and is subject to the terms governing the reproduction of crown copyright material. Depending on the status and age of the original document, you may need an OPSI click-use license if you wish to reproduce this material, and other restrictions may apply. Please see this explanation for further details.

"Whereas it is expedient for the Safety of the Public to provide for the due Supervision of Railways: Be it therefore enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty That, after Two Months from the passing of this Act, no Railway, or Portion of any Railway, shall be opened for the public Conveyance of Passengers or Goods until One Calendar Month after Notice in Writing of the Intention of opening the same shall been given, by the Company to whom such Railway shall belong, to the Lords of the Committee of Her Majesty's Privy Council appointed for Trade and Foreign Plantations;

That the Lords of the said Committee may order and direct every Railway Company to make up and deliver to them Returns, according to a Form to be provided by the Lords of the said Committee, of the aggregate Traffic in Passengers, according to the several Classes, and of the aggregate Traffic in Cattle and Goods respectively, on the said Railway, as well as of all Accidents which shall have occurred thereon attended with personal Injury, and also a Table of all Tolls, Rates, and Charges from Time to Time levied on each Class [of] Passengers, and on Cattle and Goods, conveyed on the said Railway;

that it shall be lawful for the Lords of the said Committee to authorize any proper Person or Persons to inspect any Railway; and it shall be lawful for every Person so authorized, at all reasonable Times, upon producing his Authority, if required, to enter upon and examine the said Railway, and the Stations, Works, and Buildings, and the Engines and Carriages belonging thereto;"

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