|Wednesday, January 7, 1903
|The Globe (Toronto)
|Page 4, col. 1
Cost of maintaining crossings an issue.
Canadian Northern's appeal against an order dismissed—Avenue Road crossing—Automatic electric bells.
Special Despatch to The Globe.
Ottawa, Jan. 6.—Although it was a departmental holiday today, being the Feast of Epiphany, the Railway Committee of the Privy Council held a meeting. The Ministers present were Hon. A. G. Blair, Chairman; Sir William Mulock, Hon. Chas. Fitzpatrick and Hon. James Sutherland. The last-named Minister took his seat at the committee for the first time. The Canadian Northern Railway Co., through Mr. Z. A. Lash, K.C., made application for a variation of the terms of a previous order, requiring his clients to put in an interlocking and derailing apparatus at the crossing of the C.P.R. by the Canadian Northern at Port Arthur and Fort William. Under the order in question the Canadian Northern had to pay all the expenses of establishing the interlocking and derailing apparatus and of its future maintenance. Mr. Lash raised a question as to the necessity of apparatus of this kind at the points mentioned, and also asked the committee to apportion in some equitable and fair way, the cost as between the two companies.
Mr. A. R. Creelman, in behalf of the C.P.R., supported the order made, and said not a word had been advanced that would justify the committee in setting it aside. He went on to argue that nothing had occurred which warranted the committee in interfering, or varying the terms of the order.
The committee told Mr. Creelman that he need not argue upon the question of the apparatus to be installed. They were of [the] opinion that there should be no variation of the order in this case as to the installation of an interlocking and derailing appliance. They would like to hear his views, however, upon the question of the apportionment of the cost. It seemed unfair that the whole burden should fall upon one railway. Mr. Creelman argued that the apportionment of cost was not made because one line was a senior and the other a junior railway. It was because the principle of of compensation had been followed in the past, and ought to be adopted in this case. The senior railway had acquired vested rights at immense cost, and another line, wishing to use its right-of-way, ought to pay for the privilege. In fifteen cases in the past the committee had decided that the cost of installing an interlocking switch should fall upon the junior company.
Sir William Mulock and Mr. Blair pointed out that as to the question of cost the committee had fixed no arbitrary rule, although the position of the senior company was a circumstance that largely influenced the committee. If a weaker company were making application against a wealthy corporation like the C.P.R., it would not be fair to charge the former with the whole cost.
Hon. Mr. Blair admitted that the committee had decided to dismiss the application. He commented upon the fact that the Canadian Northern had made no effort to carry out the order made in July last, and said this was treating the committee with disrespect. The order would have to be carried out by June 1 next.
An application for approval of the C.P.R.'s plans for laying tracks across Lake street, Toronto, was postponed at the request of the civic authorities.
Mr. McMurchy for the C.P.R. and Mr. Travers Lewis, on behalf of the Toronto Street Railway Company, had quite an argument over an application to cross the former company's second track across Avenue road. At a previous meeting the street railway was authorized to cross the C.P.R. single track, but since then another track has been laid. It was decided that the Street Railway Company should put in a diamond crossing, but that it must also bear any additional cost of maintenance of protections at the crossing over and above the cost of operating them.
Approval was given to an overhead and also a level crossing of the Grand Trunk Railway by the Berlin & Bridgeport Electric Street Railway, subject to the report of a Government engineer.
The Bay of Quinte Railway, through Mr. Carter, asked to be allowed to put in a diamond crossing on the Grand Trunk at a point west of Napanee station. Mr. Biggar, K.C., and Mr. McGuigan objected to this as dangerous in the public interest, and suggested a crossing underneath the tracks. The committee will need an expert engineer to report upon the matter.
Mr. DuVernet, on behalf of the Township of Aldborough, asked that the committee order gates and watchmen to be placed on the crossings of the highway in the Villages of West Lorne and Rodney by the Lake Erie & Detroit and Michigan Central Railways. Automatic electric bells were order by the committee to be installed, and if in future they are not found to be sufficient, the committee will then consider the township's request. Mr. McGuigan of the Grand Trunk, asked for his experience of electric bells, said they worked very well, but at one place the residents complained so much of the noise made by the bells that the company was asked to remove the protection.
Mayor Mearns of Woodstock asked for an order requiring the Grand Trunk to place gates and a watchman at its crossing on Wilson street. The committee ordered the installation of an automatic electric bell.
When the hour of adjournment was reached the committee had under consideration the Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto Railway Company's application to connect with the Wabash Railway at Stanford, near Niagara Falls. Mr. Biggar energetically opposed the application, as the line with which connection was sought belonged to the Grand Trunk, although used in common by the Wabash, and, moreover, the applicants already had a connection at St. Catharines. Mr. F. H. Chrysler, K.C., said that the Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronnto line had no connection at present with the Wabash, and he vigorously denounced the idea that the Grand Trunk could prevent the company he represented from doing business with another line. Argument will be resumed tomorrow at 11.30.
Railways: B.Q.Ry., C.No.Ry., C.P.Ry.