August 15, 1935 B.R.C. File No. 39310.19 (Otterville Sub. - Simcoe Jct. to Otterville) (Ottawa)

The Board of
Railway Commissioners for Canada

Application of the Canadian National Railways for an Order granting it leave to abandon the operation of that portion of its Otterville Subdivision in the Province of Ontario, between Simcoe Junction (M. 9.1) and Otterville (M. 23.3), a distance of 14.2 miles.

(File 39310.19)


McLean, Assistant Chief Commissioner:

What is involved is a portion of the Otterville Subdivision of the Canadian National Railways, province of Ontario, said portion being located between Simcoe Junction and Otterville, a distance of some fourteen miles. The railway was opened for operation in 1875, and was built under the charter of the Port Dover and Lake Huron Railway under the statutory authority of the Ontario Act, 35 Victoria, Chapter 53 of 1872. Later by amalgamation it became part of the Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada, which in turn was amalgamated with the Canadian National Railway Company in 1923.

The territory served is not a good farming district on account of the sandy nature of the soil. Agricultural production is limited to tobacco, vegetables and small fruits. The district in question is connected up with the main highways by means of country roads which are kept open all year. It is not contended that there is any great amount of bus competition, but, at the same time, it is stated considerable trucking operations are maintained, which would result in loss of revenues. There has been no train service operated over and no maintenance done on the line since November, 1933.

At the hearing in Simcoe on May 8, 1935, there was no local opposition to the granting of the application of the railway. It was pointed out by counsel for the railway that with the application allowed, no point would be more than two miles away from the railway centre. Mr. Wardell, councillor for the township of South Norwich, appeared and stated his request on behalf of the municipality was that if the road were abandoned, they would like to have the roadbed retained for the township so that the gravel would be available for highway use. Counsel for the railway said he was not in a position to commit the railway, but its general practice was to dispose of rights of way to the adjoining owners. In some cases rights of way had been transferred for highway purposes. Each case had to be considered on its own merits. Intimated the railway which he represented was quite agreeable to entering into a discussion with the municipality in regard to the use by it of the highway material or gravel which had been on the roadbed. This was the only point the municipality desired to emphasize.

The Board had received a communication from the Tip-Top Canners, Limited, per W. B. Hislop, president thereof, located at Greensville, Ontario. This was dated April 15, 1935. It referred to Mr. Hislop having seen in the newspapers the reference to the application to abandon the branch line. He stated that his company had a canning factory situated at Otterville, and that it required the railway service for shipping its cans from Simcoe to Otterville, and canned goods from Otterville to points outside. Stated he would be pleased to be advised whether the Board thought there was a possibility of this line being abandoned.

Mr. Hislop was not present at the hearing, but it was set out in the record that the Assistant Chief Commissioner stated that Mr. Hislop would be advised of the hearing, and asked to give a written statement setting forth his position, and a copy would be ent forth to the Canadian National Railways. Mr. Hislop was written to accordingly, and in letter dated May 25, 1935, answered as follows:—

In further reference to your letter of May 14, we beg to advise that we have a canning factory situated at Otterville and one of the reasons that we built the plant at Otterville was because of the short distance from Simcoe to Otterville, from which we receive the cans.

We have no objection to the operation of a portion of the Otterville subdivision between Simcoe Junction and Otterville, a distance of 14.2 miles being abandoned, as we understand our cans now go around by Brantford and we receive good service.

We trust that the Board will not eventually close the service from Brantford to Otterville, as this would necessitate bringing all our cans in by truck, at an added cost. For your information might say that our freight account with Otterville each year amounts to approximately $15,000.

Under date of June 19, 1935, Mr. Rand, Commission Counsel, Canadian National Railways, wrote as follows:—

Your letter of the 4th instant: at the present time owing to the condition of the line between Simcoe and Otterville, traffic is routed via Jarvis, Caledonia, Brantford and Norwich Junction to Otterville. There is of course no intention at the present time to abandon the service between Brantford and Norwich Junction and thence to Otterville.

The shortest route between Simcoe and Otterville, other than the Otterville Subdivision, is via Tillsonburg, the mileage of which is 42 miles as against 70 miles via Brantford. In the event of the abandonment the rate between Simcoe and Otterville will be governed by the shortest mileage route, namely, via Tillsonburg, although in fact the carriage may continue to be made via Jarvis and Brantford owing to a better service available.

;According to our information, in 1933 the Tip-Top Canners received 32 cars via rail from Simcoe and in 1934, 29 cars by rail and 2 cars by truck. This shows that there is an actual truck competition, although we have no information as to the rates. It is obvious that the small number of cans shipped from Simcoe to Otterville would not of itself warrant the continuance of operation of this branch.

I am sending a copy of this letter to Tip-Top Canners, Limited.

The Tip-Top Canners, Limited, were written to referring to Mr. Rand's letter of June 19, and asking them for their comments, if any, thereon. There being a delay in recciving an answer, they were further traced for same. The Board is now in receipt of a communication acknowledging receipt of the Board's letters, and saying that they beg to advise the Board that they have no objection to the abandoning of the above portion of the Canadian National Railway which is involved in the present application.

The application of the railway may, therefore, be allowed.

S. J. McLean.

I concur. The special conditions of this case justify the Board in granting the application.

F. N. G.

I concur,

T. C. Norris

August 15, 1935.

Railways: C.N.Rys.