|Wednesday, February 7, 1906||The Globe (Toronto)||Page 1, col. 7|
Railways war in Don valley.
Grand Trunk and James Bay fight over crossing.
Cars as obstructions.
Steel rail barricade hit by a coal car.
Dynamite digs a hole for the next attacking train, which did not arrive—Grand Trunk forces withdrew—A day of great excitement—Workmen come to blows.
The peaceful Don valley was the scene of corporation strife yesterday which for real strategy and passion puts to shame its many Thanksgiving Day battles. Two great railway companies spent the day in fighting for a right of way, smashed several cars, rent the air with explosions of dynamite, and incidentally endangered the lives of scores of workmen. High officials of the Grand Trunk and the James Bay Railway Companies directed the opposing forces, which had several personal clashes, and when daylight ceased the Grand Trunk forces left the scene and their rivals commenced quietly to carry out their real undertaking of removing a coal car placed with avowed purpose across their route to prevent their grading. Little work was done, and to-day will decide if the Grand Trunk will carry out their threat to offer further opposition.
The scene of these enlivening events is the Don valley near the brick works, a couple of miles above the Queen street bridge. The valley is there occupied by the Canadian Pacific Railway on a high trestle, the James Bay Railway, under construction from Parry Sound to Toronto, and a spur line from the Grand Trunk running from the old belt line easterly to the Don valley paper mills. The James Bay line, which has been graded since last October, crosses the spur at a few feet high level, one hundred yards from the brick works. There is conflict of opinion as to the legal rights in the matter, but the James Bay people had at least a High Court order and a Sheriff's officer on their side. Three months ago the Grand Trunk, believing their rights were in jeopardy, deposited an immense 30-ton car of coal on the spur line, square across the James Bay route. The latter company meantime took proceedings, and yesterday Bailiff James E. Severs went to the scene armed with the Sheriff's warrant on a HighCourt order to get possession of the right of way for the James Bay line and to remove any obstructions there might be.
The companies clash.
Then the real trouble began. Naturally Mr. Severs had the active co-operation of the James Bay people, there being a gang of 20 or 30 men present under the supervision of Mr. R. F. Tate, divisional engineer, and Mr. J. L. Boyd, resident engineer. Their first step was to try to remove theobstruction,to wit, a car of 30 tons of coal. They placed jacks under it and had it nicely raised when the Grand Trunk people, having heard the news, sent along a locomotive, which bunted into the car—as they presumably had the right to do on their own railway—and knocked it off the jacks and off the rails. This rather savored of a temporary gain for the Grand Trunk, for it made the car less easy to remove. Then the James Bay people dug a hole to the west of the big car with a view to dropping it in there out of the way, but the Grand Trunk, with an overweening desire to butt in, came along with another car—this one loaded with a small quantity of wood—and dropped that car into the excavation, leaving the big car just about where it had been and where they wanted it.
Tossing cars aside.
It was now the middle of the afternoon, and the strategists had to devise new orders of battle. The Grand Trunk had hastily mobilized four or five section gangs, including many Italians, who, with spade and stout muscle, were prepared to assist the valiant engine, which panted restlessly nearby. Small fires of old ties warmed the shins of the few spectators who otherwise would have been chilled to the bone by the winds which verily seemed to come from James Bay.
The next move of the James Bay crowd was to dig the hole deeper, in which lay the second car dropped carelessly by the Grand Trunk. While this was being done the Grand Trunk forces, under Mr. H. Ferguson, general roadmaster, took a new tack. The men with pick and shovel were directed to no less a task than to divert the track to the south of the wrecked cars. The men seemed to be moved by the enthusiasm of battle, for surely no trackmen ever worked faster than the twenty-four men with pick and shovel, who in less than half an hour shifted three rail lengths of track to a new position heading straightway for the James Bay grading. With the prescience of generals the James Bay engineers saw what was coming.
A steel rail barricade.
Leave the hole, men, and carry rails down in front of their track,said Engineer Boyd, and the mixed nationalities of laborers, with one common trait, at least, the love of adventure, rushed
(Continued on page 4.)
Railways: G.T.Ry., J.B.Ry.