A strange principle has just been introduced into our railway
legislation. The Great Eastern lately proposed a line to the north which, in consequence of its easy gradients, would have cheapened coal enormously in the four counties where it is dearest, reduced its price three shillings per ton throughout all east London, and materially benefited the whole district through which it passed. The Great Northern opposed it before a Committee of the House of Commons, but were unable either to invalidate the statements Of the promoters or offer similar advantages themselves. The Bill was thrown out on the ground, formally stated by the chairman, that as the Great Northern could not carry coal below a certain rate no one else should be permitted to do so. As the promoters pertinently ask, why should a bad and inefficient railway be pro- tected against supercession by a better, any more than a clumsy cotton-spinning machine? The Great Northern saved in prime cast by steep gradients, and now the public is to be taxed to pay their expenses of haulage.