HISTORIC UK ROAD LEGISLATION

Locomotives Act 1865

This is all about the famous (or infamous) so-called "Red Flag Act".

 

Now, some writers have gone so far as to insist that the red flag preceding cars is an actually an urban myth. Hmm.

Here at It's My Classic we simply can't resist the lure of a mystery, so we set out to discover the real facts behind the

rhetoric. Surprisingly, it took some doing, which is presumably where  the myth denying the red flag rule may have arisen.

The Locomotives Act, 1865 has yet to be digitised and uploaded to the official home of UK legislation, and even the National Records Office lacks a digital copy. Forget red flags. This was simply

waving a red rag in front of the IMC bull. There had to be a copy somewhere.

Abortive telephone calls to regional archivists and much digital excavation later and - Eureka! It was a scanned copy, but that was all we needed.

So here it is - the full text of the much criticised "Red Flag Act".

Hint: read Section 3 "Secondly"

THE LOCOMOTIVES ACT, 1865

28 7 29 VICT. CAP. 88

An Act for further regulating the Use of Locomotives On Turnpike and other Roads for Agricultural and other Purposes.
5th July 1865

Whereas by the "Locomotive Act, 1861," certain provision was made for regulating the use of locomotives on turnpike and other roads, and it is expedient that further and fuller provision should be made for that object. Be it therefore enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:

Commencement of Act.

1. This Act shall not come into operation till the first day of September one thousand eight hundred and sixty-five, which day is hereinafter referred to as the commencement of the Act, and shall cease and determine on the first of September one thousand eight hundred and sixty-seven, (a)

Certain Sections of 24 d 25 Vict, c, 70, repealed.

(a) The Act has from time to time been continued by various Acts of Parliament, the last of which, the Expiring Laws Continuance Act, 1878 (41 & 42 Vict. o. 70) continues it to the 31st December, 1879.

2. After the commencement of this Act, and so long as the same shall continue in force, (b) the fifth, ninth, eleventh, and fifteenth sections of the said recited Act, and all orders made in pursuance of the said fifth section, (c) are hereby repealed.

(b) See the preceding section and note

(c) See note (k), ante, p. 231.

Rules for the Manner of working Locomotives on Turnpike Boards and Highways as herein stated.

3. Every locomotive propelled by steam or any other than animal power on any turnpike road or public highway shall be worked according to the following rules and regulations; (d) viz.

  • Firstly, at least three persons shall be employed to drive or conduct such locomotive, and if more than two waggons or carriages he attached thereto, an additional person shall be employed, who shall take charge of such waggons or carriages;

  • Secondly, one of such persons, while any locomotive is in motion, shall precede such locomotive on foot by not less than sixty yards, and shall carry a red flag constantly displayed, and shall warn the riders and drivers of horses of the approach of such locomotives, and shall signal the driver thereof when it shall he necessary to stop, and shall assist horses, and carriages drawn by horses, passing the same, (e)

  • Thirdly, the drivers of such locomotives shall give as much space as possible for the passing of other traffic;

  • Fourthly, the whistle of such locomotive shall not be sounded for any purpose whatever: nor shall the cylinder taps be opened within sight of any person riding, driving, leading or in charge of a horse upon the road; nor shall the steam be allowed to attain a pressure such as to exceed the limit fixed by the safety valve, so that no steam shall blow off when the locomotive is upon the road;

  • Fifthly, every such locomotive shall be instantly stopped on the person preceding the same, or any other person with a horse or carriage drawn by a horse, putting up his hand as a signal to require such locomotive to be stopped;

  • Sixthly, any person in charge of any such locomotive shall provide two efficient lights, to be affixed conspicuously, one at each side on the front of the same, between the hours of one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise. (f)

(d) Byelaws for regulating the use of locomotives upon highways, for preventing the use of them on bridges in certain cases, and for determining the hours during which they are not to pass along highways, may be made by the Corporation of the City of London, the Metropolitan Board of Works, the council of any borough having a separate Court of Quarter Sessions, and the county authority of any county, under 41 & 42 Vict. c. 77, s. 31, post, p. 250 ; a county authority may also make byelaws under s. 32 of the same Act requiring locomotives to be licensed, and byelaws under s. 26, ante, p. 212, for regulating the use of waggons, &c., drawn by animal power.

(e) This paragraph is repealed, so far as relates to England, by 41 & 42 Vict. c. 77, s. 29, post, and the following is substituted for it: “Secondly, one of such persons, while the locomotive is in motion, shall precede by at least twenty yards the locomotive on foot, and shall in case of need assist horses, and carriages drawn by horses, passing the same."

(f) The hours during which locomotives may be used on highways may be limited by byelaws made under 41 & 42 Vict. o. 77, s. 31, post, p. 250.

Penalty on Non-compliance with Rules.

In the event of a non-compliance with any of the provisions of this section, the owner of the locomotive shall, on summary conviction thereof before two justices, be liable to a penalty not exceeding ten pounds ; but it shall be lawful for such owner on proving that he has incurred such penalty by reason of the negligence or wilful default of any person in charge of or in attendance on such locomotive, to recover summarily from such person the whole or any part of the penalty he may have incurred as owner.

Limit of speed of Locomotives on Turnpike Roads and Highways.

4. Subject and without prejudice to the regulations hereinafter authorized to be made by local authorities (g) it shall not be lawful to drive any such locomotive along any turnpike road or public highway at a greater speed than four miles an hour, or through any city, town, or village at a greater speed than two miles an hour; and any person acting contrary thereto shall for every such offence, on summary conviction thereof, forfeit any sum not exceeding ten pounds.

Size and weight of Locomotives which may he used. (h)

5. Subject to the provisions of this Act, any locomotive which shall not exceed nine feet in width or fourteen tons in weight may be used on any turnpike road #r public highway, provided that the wheels of such locomotive be constructed according to the requirements of the said recited Act; and no locomotive exceeding nine feet in width or fourteen tons in weight shall be used on any such road, except subject to the provisions contained in the third section of the said Act as to the use of locomotives exceeding seven feet in width and twelve tons in weight, (h)

Restrictions as to the Use of Steam-Engines within 25 Yards of Roads not to apply to Locomotives used for ploughing purposes.

6. Any provisions in any Act contained prohibiting, under penalty, the erection and use of any steam-engine, gin, or other like machine, or any machinery attached thereto within the distance of twenty-five yards from any part of any turnpike road, highway, carriageway, or cart- way, unless such steam-engine, gin, or other like engine or machinery be within some house or other building, or behind some wall, fence, or screen sufficient to conceal or screen the same from such turnpike road, highway, carriage- way, or cartway, (i) shall not extend to prohibit the use of any locomotive steam-engine for the purpose of ploughing within such distance of any such turnpike road, highway, carriageway, or cartway, provided a person shall be stationed in the road, and employed to signal the driver when it shall be necessary to stop, and to assist horses, and carriages drawn by horses, passing the same, and provided the driver of the engine do stop in proper time.

Name and Residence of Owner to be affixed to Locomotives.

7. The name and residence of the owner of every locomotive shall be affixed thereto in a conspicuous manner. If it is not so affixed the owner shall, on summary conviction, be liable to a penalty not exceeding two pounds. (j)

Power to Local Authorities to make orders as to Hours, &c., Locomotives may pass through Cities, &c. Penalty on acting contrary to such Orders.

8. The following local authorities, (that is to say,)

In any borough or town in Scotland the population of which shall have exceeded ten thousand at the last census, within the jurisdiction of a town council, the town council, and in any such town in Scotland not within the jurisdiction of a town council, but subject to the jurisdiction of police commissioners, or of trustees exercising under any public or private Act of Parliament the functions of police commissioners, the police commissioners, or, where there are no police commissioners, then the trustees,

— may make orders as to the hours during which (and as to the speed, not in any case to exceed two miles an hour, at which) locomotives are to pass through the city or place subject to their respective jurisdictions; and any person in charge of a locomotive acting contrary to such regulations shall, on summary conviction be liable to a penalty not exceeding ten pounds;

Every order made in pursuant of this section shall be reduced into writing, and shall have affixed thereto the common seal, of the local authority, where they have a common seal, and shall be signed by the members of the local authority, or any two of them, where they have not a common seal;

A copy of such order shall he affixed to some public place within the jurisdiction of the local authority, and advertised  in some newspaper circulating within the jurisdiction of the local authority, and the production of a newspaper containing such advertisement shall he evidence of the copy having been advertised in pursuance of this Act.

In Ireland the County Surveyor to be deemed the Conservator of the Roads in his County, and Proceedings for Damages to be taken in his Name. (I)

9. For the purposes of this Act, the county surveyor of each county in Ireland shall be deemed to be the conservator of all the roads in the county of which he is surveyor, made or repaired by grand jury presentment ; and it shall not he lawful to use any locomotive, other than those specially authorized by this Act, on any such road in any county in Ireland, without the consent in writing of the county surveyor thereof, approved of by one or more justices sitting at petty sessions ; and all compensation for damage done by any locomotive to any bridge, gullet, or arch, or any of the walls, buttresses, or supports thereof, on any such road in any county in Ireland, shall he recoverable in the name of the county surveyor thereof, for and on behalf of the county, from the party liable to pay the same, such compensation, if not exceeding ten pounds, to he recovered in a summary way by summons at petty sessions, and if over ten pounds to be recovered by process in the Civil Bill Court,

How penalties to be recovered and applied in Ireland. (l)

10. Every penalty imposed by the provisions of this Act shall in Ireland, be recoverable before a justice or justices of the peace in petty sessions, subject and according to the provisions of “The Petty Sessions (Ireland) Act, 1851," and any Act amending the same, and shall be applied according to the provisions of “The Fines (Ireland) Act, 1851” and any Act amending the same.

Sect. 41 of 25 d 26 Vict. c. 93, not to be affected.

11. Nothing in this Act contained shall repeal, alter, or in any way affect the provisions of the forty-first section of "the Thames Embankment Act, 1862." (m)

Saving as to Actions at Law.

12. Nothing in this Act contained shall authorize any person to use a locomotive which may be so constructed or used as to be a public nuisance at common law, and nothing herein contained shall affect the right of any person to recover damages in respect of any injury he may have sustained in consequence of the use of a locomotive. (n)

13. This Act may be cited as "The Locomotives Act, 1865;" and "The Locomotives Act, 1861," (o) and this Act, shall be construed together as one Act.

(g) Section 8, post, which authorized the making of the regulations here-mentioned is now repealed by 41 & 42 Vict. c. 77, s. 31, and in lieu thereof power is given to certain authorities to make byelaws as to the use of locomotives within their respective jurisdictions

(h) This section is repealed by 41 & 42 Vict. c. 77, s. 28, so far as relates to England, and in lieu thereof other regulations are enacted with respect to the weight of locomotives and the construction of their wheels

(i) By s. 70 of the Highway Act, 1835 (5 & 6 Wm. IV. c. 50), it is enacted that from and after the commencement of this Act it shall not be lawful for any person to sink any pit or shaft, or to erect or cause to be erected any steam-engine, gin, or other like machine, or any machinery attached thereto, within the distance of twenty-five yards, nor any wind-null within fifty yards, from any part of any carriageway or cartway, unless such pit or shaft, or steam-engine, gin, or other like engine or machinery, shall be within some house or other building, or behind some wall or fence, sufficient to conceal or screen the same from the said carriageway or cartway, so that the same may not be dangerous to passengers, horses, or cattle ; nor shall it be lawful for any person to make or cause to be made any fire for calcining or burning of ironstone, limestone, bricks, or clay, or the making of cokes, within the distance of fifteen yards from any part of the said carriageway or cartway, unless the same shall be within some house or other building, or behind some wall or fence, sufficient to screen the same from the same carriageway or cartway as aforesaid; and in case any person shall offend in any of the eases aforesaid, every such person so offending shall forfeit and pay any sum not exceeding five pounds for each and every day such pit, shaft, wind-mill, steam-engine, gin, machine, or fire shall be permitted to continue contrary to the provisions of this Act; which said penalties shall be levied, recovered, and applied in such and the same manner as any penalty or forfeiture for any other offence on any highway may be levied, recovered, and applied; provided, that nothing herein contained shall be construed to restrain any person or persons from using, repairing, rebuilding, or enlarging any wind-mill, steam-engine, gin, or other like machine, or any kiln or other erection used for the purpose of calcining or burning of ironstone, limestone, bricks, or clay, or the making of cokes, which may have been erected and may be in existence at the passing of this Act."

A similar prohibition as to steam-engines, &c., near turnpike roads is contained in 27 & 28 Vict o. 75, s. 1.

(j) The 24 & 25 Vict. c. 70, s. 12, requires that the weight of every locomotive, and the name of the owner or owners shall be conspicuously and legibly affixed thereon, under a penalty of £5. The name and residence of the owner must be painted on every waggon, &c., under 5 & 6 Wm. IV. c. 50, s. 76, and a similar provision is contained in the General Turnpike Act, 4 Geo. IV. c. 95, s. 15

(k) This section is repealed, so far as relates to England, by 41 & 42 Vict. c. 77, s. 31, poet, p. 250, and in lieu thereof power is given to the Corporation in the City of London, the Metropolitan Board of Works in the Metropolis, the town council in any borough having a separate court of quarter sessions, and the county authority in other places, to make byelaws as to the hours during which locomotives are not to pass over roads, and for regulating the use of locomotives on roads, and preventing their use on unsafe bridges. Power is further given to county authorities by s. 32 of the same Act to make byelaws requiring locomotives to be licensed. County authorities may also make byelaws under s. 26 of the Act for regulating the use of waggons, &c., drawn by animal power, to which the Locomotive Acts do not apply.

 (l) As 88. 9 & 10 apply to Ireland only they are printed in italics in the same manner as the clauses which are repealed only so far as they relate to England

(m) The section here mentioned enacts that "it shall not be lawful for any person to use a locomotive engine propelled by steam along the streets or roadways constructed under the provisions of this Act."

(n) A similar provision to this is contained in s. 13 of the Act of 1861, ante, p. 235.

(o) "The Locomotive Act. 1861," not "The Locomotives Act, 1861" is the short title given by 24 & 25 Vict. c.70, s. 14, and, p. 235; and in the 41 & 42 Vict. c. 77, s. 28, both are called "Locomotive" Acts.

Reprinted from "The Highway, Locomotive, and Turnpike Continuance Acts, Alexander Glenn & W. Nethersole (1879) (via Internet Archive)

© Crown copyright. Published under the terms of the Open Government Licence v1.0.

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