November 23, 1935 B.R.C. File No. 39310.12 (Otterville Sub. - Burgessville to Woodstock) (Ottawa)

The Board of
Railway Commissioners for Canada

Application of the Canadian National Railways for an Order granting leave to abandon the operation of its Otterville Subdivision in the Province of Ontario, between Burgessville (M. 31.0) and Woodstock (M. 40.2)—a distance of 9.2 miles.

File 39310.12

Judgment

McLean, Assistant Chief Commissioner:

An application was made by the Canadian National Railways under section 165A of the Railway Act, section 2, subsection 3, of the Canadian National-Canadian Pacific Act, 1933, and all other appropriate statutory provisions, for an order granting it leave to abandon the operation of the following line of railway, namely:—

A portion of the Otterville subdivision in the province of Ontario, between Burgessville (M. 31.0) and Woodstock (M. 40.2)—a distance of 9.2 miles.

The line in question was opened for operation in 1875. It was built under the charter of the Port Dover and Lake Huron Railway Company under the following statutory authority Ontario, Act 35 Victoria, Chapter 53 of 1872. In 1881, the Port Dover and Lake Huron Railway Company, by an amalgamation, formed the Grand Trunk, Georgian Bay and Lake Erie Railway Company of Canada. The Grand Trunk Railway of Canada amalgamated with the Canadian National Railway Company in 1923. The portion of track involved was laid with rail which was mostly 60-pound steel, and is noted to be in poor condition. The ties are 90 per cent untreated, and are stated to be in poor condition. No train service has been operated over the line in question since September, 1932 nor has there been any maintenance. It is now used for storage purposes. The district is served by an improved county highway which parallels the railway line and connects with main highway at Woodstock. The only stopping place on the line is Currie's, which is five miles from the nearest railway station. From October 1, 1930 to September 30, 1931, the total earnings at this point amounted to $276.

Exception was taken at the hearing by the Board of Trade of Woodstock to the proposed abandonment. The city of Woodstock expressed, through its mayor, the opinion that there was some justification for the abandonment of some of the railways on the ground of economy, and that this might be applicable in the present case. The Purina Mills (Ralston Purina Company, Limited) of Woodstock, took exception to any change in the present system of mileage rates claiming it would be detrimental to them. It is stated by this company that—As the freight rates on live stock and poultry feed are based on mileage rates—any increase in published mileage would increase the freight rate  ..  and while the abandonment of the line referred to may save the railway the upkeep—we trust your Board will see fit to continue the present mileage scale of rates, as these rates have been in effect for many years, and industry has relied on these mileages when locating their plants in this territory.

In its application, the railway in describing the territory involved states—this line passes through a prosperous, well settled farming territory; there are no industries. There is a good improved county highway  ..  Snow conditions are rather bad at times, but as a rule roads are kept opened all through winter. Although there are no regularly operated bus lines serving this territory, there are a large number of independent truckers operating every day of the year and taking the traffic wherever it is offered.

The representative of the Purina Mills Company states in evidence that until recently their shipments to nearby points had been handled in truckload lots by the dealers. Reference as made to the railway having published rates on a lower basis to meet truck competition. These low truck competitive rates were established April 15, 1935, and have been tariffed to continue in effect until April 14, 1936, unless sooner cancelled or extended. They are still in operation.

Mr. Marsh testified that the freight rates in question, coupled with the transit allowances on grain, of which their feed is largely composed, had enabled the company to ship feed to a good many local points by freight at a considerable reduction under what they were able to do by truckload. He stated that comparatively little grain had been moved to nearby points.

There is no passenger traffic moving; the line is closed for traffic. The latest figures of earnings at Currie's show a negligible volume of traffic. On the evidence, truck competition plays a very considerable part in the territory in question. All things considered, I think the application of the railway is justified.

S.J. McLean

I concur,

T.C. Norris

November 23, 1935.

Railways: C.N.Rys.