|Wednesday, February 7, 1906||The Globe (Toronto)||Page 4, col. 5|
Railways war in Don valley.
(Continued from page 1.)
to their new line of defence. A dozen steel rails, weighing eighty pounds to the yard, lay upon the grading, and immediately the work of building a barricade began. The scene reminded one of the sudden street encounters of French revolution days.Many hands make light workit has often been said, but twenty men found the carrying of one steel rail at a time no light task. The rails were one by one slid down the grade and carried to the firing line. One end of each was braced against the end of freight car No. 2, and the other placed on the ground, braced against a pile of earth from the excavation. There was need for haste, for the Grand Trunk crowd were nearly done with their track diversion, and any minute the engine might return on its evident mission to pile up some more cars on the James Bay right of way. Still the defenders took time to bore some mysterious holes in the ground behind the barricade and deposit some substance which rumor said was dynamite.
Hiding from the dangers.
The presence of this dangerous article spread terror among the spectators, and there were flying columns behind the trees and far down the James Bay grading. The people were generally suspicious of such combustibles. Presently a whistle was heard over by the Rosedal ravine, and a strenuous double puffing proclaimed that the Grand Trunk juggernaut with two engines was on its way back with terrible power and seriousness. What would happen when it struck the barricade and the mysterious substance planted in the ground explode, was almost too terrible to contemplate. The spectators and most of the James Bay workmen fled down the line, the Italians shoutingsacre,others yellingdynamiteto scare the Grand Trunk workmen to the tall timbers.
Last stand at the barricade.
The ruse failed in part, for in the face of the danger that lurked in the drill holes, the Grand Trunk men made a desperate rush for the barricade and attempted to remove the rails by force. They were met by the home guard, and a fistic battle ensued for some second, which for energy and determination left nothing to be desired. But this end of the warfare was short-lived. The diversion furnished by the home guard saved the barricade, and just as the fighting shovelmen were scattered by a last warning short, the train swung onto the scene, the two engines puffing with the strenuous spirit of the moment, a huge black coal car at the end, and crashed with a roar into the barricade. The impact was terrific through the weight of the car and the speed of the train, and great steel rails were bent and broken and the earth pile ploughed up, but the car stopped short of the grading, which was not even scratched. Thus far a victory for the defenders.
Hurrah!shouted the James Bay workmen, flocking forward once more. Then the recollection of the explosives in the ground came back, and the crowd scattered again, expecting every moment to see cars sent heavenward and coal raining down the valley. The suspense was presently relieved by a small explosion, which three some earth in the air, but everything else remained stationary. It turned out that the explosive was only stump powder.
Ah, ha; getting ready to left off another fire-cracker?said Superintendent Brownlee of the Grand Trunk, derisively, a little later, when the James Bay drillers got to work on the other side of the wreckage.
Cars left as souvenirs.
What was left of the Grand Trunk armored train was then uncoupled and pulled away, leaving the second heavy coal car and a car of pulp behind as souvenirs, and incidentally obstructions. The pulp was something new to some of the spectators, who referred to it nervously as gun cotton. The James Bay strategists now held a council of war behind the first big car, and awaited the next move of the enemy. So far there was a lot of wreckage, but the defenders comforted themselves with the thought thatthe Grand Trunk are only making trouble for themselves.
The Grand Trunk did not hesitate long, for in a few moments they were busy making another track diversion, this time to the north. The shovellers worked with hearts beating with excitement, for they knew the James Bay men had not enough rails to make another barricade, for the last batch were twisted and broken beneath a car of 60,000 pounds of coal. The aggressors quickened their actions, and the engines seemed to have gone off to bunt some more heavy coal cars for bumping purposes.
Your move now,seemed to be the question on the face of the Grand Trunk officials, as they awaited the unfolding strategy of the defence.
Welcome of dynamite waiting.
The plan was soon seen, for again the drillmen got to work, puncturing holes in the hard ground, while trusted privates in the army were dispatched to a little house on the hillside, whence they returned with handsful of yellow paper, recognized by all as containing dynamite. As the holes were deepened these papers were emptied, and a sullen brown powder smoke arose that suggested the necessity of seeking cover. As great long fuses were attached the Grand Trunk men became nervous in their work, and the tree-clad hillside to the north seemed to swallow up the little knot of spectators that had so eagerly watched every move. The date of two cottages fifty feet away, where in the morning there had been all joy and happiness of washing day, was anxiously discussed. A wagon load of ties rumbled up over the grade and stopped near the dynamite, and seemed to point to further resistance to the oncoming train. These preparations had an awe-inspiring effect, and the James Bay people decided to carry their advantage to its logical conclusion. The word was given to look out for thefire,and the home defenders fled to cover. One man lighted the fuses and then ran for dear life.
The last trench.
It seemed a long time to wait, but everyone was far enough to be in safety, when at length there was a terrific double roar, and two explosions of dynamite ripped great holes in the ground, which promised a signaltrack endfor the Grand Trunk. Showers of frozen ground went hundreds of feet into the air, and fell in all directions, sprinkling the spectators on the hillside.
This uproar proved to be the final shot of the war—at least of yesterday. When the smoke of battle had cleared, and darkness was descending, the Grand Trunk army was found to have retired. It was evidently thought that the cars could not get past the hole dug for them by the dynamite, and, as more holes could be dug for more cars, that plan of warfare had been pushed far enough.
There was a period of rejoicing in the James Bay camp, and men began once more to jack up car No. 1, secure from anymore butting in from Grand Trunk engines. The work did not progress far before darkness set in. The James Bay people decided to leave watchmen, the Grand Trunk said they would leave detectives to see that their track was not molested, and High Constable Ramsden, who was there to see that the peace was not broken, promised to provide a couple of constables. The night vigils of those sentinels on the dreary stretches of the Don valley promised to be a good dealt more peaceful than the proceedings of the afternoon.
What the contestants say.
In trying to findwhat they fought each other for,there is some difficulty in reaching conclusive testimony. Bailiff Sever was armed with a High Court warrant to recover possession of 12,768 acres from Mr. Robert Davies said to have been leased by the Grand Trunk for their spur line.
Mr. George F. Macdonnell, solicitor for the James Bay Railway, who was on the scene, said the Railway Commission had last week rescinded the rights of the Grand Trunk spur line so far as the part crossing the James Bay right of way was concerned; so that the latter claimed absolute possession of the part which would be common to the two lines if they crossed. They, therefore, denied the right of the Grand Trunk to any railway privileges there at all.
The Grand Trunk's side was told by Mr. G. Brownlee, Superintendent of the Middle Division.It is just a little railway controversy,he said, cheerily.We have had a track down here for above 18 months. Now they come along and want to tear out track up and lay their track, and we do not think that is right. I supposed that they would approach our people in the right way, and that we would come to some satisfactory arrangement. But they went to the Railway Commissioners, and claimed we were not within our chartered rights when we laid this track. We want to prevent them from putting in a crossing, and we left that first car there about three months ago to prevent them coming along and laying a crossing some night, as they seem to like that kind of work. We don't proposed to be caught napping.
Roadmaster Ferguson, after the Grand Trunk forces had retired, said they proposed then to leave detectives to see that their track was not disturbed.
Railways: G.T.Ry., J.B.Ry.