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Within the laet few months a scheme which has for some time boon ia progress at the "War Office, with the ohjoct of largely strengthening the Army Keaerve m the important Item of railway troops for home defence, has been further developed The Great Northern Railway Company has consented to a large number of its employes principally engaged at the King'o -cross establishment and the imtroftolitan ftubnrbta stations, being enlisted n the Royal Engineers m ordur to form a railway battalion, and it 1b understood that the movement will be further extended to the principal stations of the system ia the north. As at present proposed, the man will be drafted to the Ist Glass Army Beßervo, being therefore placed on much the same footing as the men of the Railway Volunteer Corps foimod from the North- Western system at Crowe and the Army Poetal Corps m London, and therefore, liable to be called out for service, at home or abroad, whenever a call may be made on the reserve. The strftDgth of the proposed new corps is put down at 400, and the men will, for purposes of drill and adrainistrat'on, be attached to the Eaßt Lond n Engineer Volunteers. Thus the Great Northern and North-Westorn systems will eupply over 1000 officers and men to the defensive strength of the country. Similar measures ara it is understood, m contemplation on the principal Southern, Eastern, and Western railways. The whole subj jet has attracted mu?h attention Binoe the recent conference at Alderehot, where it waß pointed out that m case of emergency the Government has the power of taking possession and control of ull railways ; but, it being recogniied that m suoh a time it would be most desirable that the working should remain m the hands of those who are accustomed, to their management, the proposals before the authorities are mainly m the direction of laying simple and practical regulations which shall ensure effectual combination between the military authorities at a time when the quick transport of troops, with their, guns, horßes, and stores, may bo necessary. Amongst the suggestions^ whioh have been submitted to attain this end, onerecelving eapeplal attention la that a commission aomawh*t similar to that existing i;i the Frenoh eervloe be formed of two or more military staff offioere, the Bjard of Trade railway Inspectors, and a few engineers and general managers of railway companies belonging to the Engineer Railway Volunteer Staff Corps — a body composed entirely of the chief railway managers, contrnotcrs and engineers—the duty of the commission being to revise and extend the regulations now laid down, with the assistance of the railway oorps mentioned, and which hat already drawn up several ■ohemea for aid on mobilisation, It is further proposed that Royal Engineer officers should be appointed to aot with tbe general manager and an engineer cfihial of eaoh oompany In preparing complete Information for the Quartermaster-General's Department ■■ to the line, works, and rolling stook of the railway and the possibilities of entraining and detraining troops at eaoh station. Another matter which Is being strongly urged from the railway Interest Is the need of frequently practising troops m the process of entering and leaving trains it having been foaod by experiment that by a few drills of this kind the time oooupled by Infantry can be reduced by &0 per oent; bat still higher Importance is attaohed to practice In loading up truoks with guns and store waggons, a deaorlptlon of work whloh has hitherto not had muoh attention, Tbe readiness of the railway companies to co-operate with tho War Department In preparation for mobilisation Is highly »ppreolated by the Oommander-ln-Ohlef and the Secretary for War, and there la the best reason to anticipate that very shortly the whole of the railways will be so far prospected and organised as that their oblef officials may know their exact duties ia the event of a general mobilisation for homo defence, and be prepared for their performanoe a

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2070, 22 February 1889

Word Count

RAILWAY TROOPS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2070, 22 February 1889