|Wednesday, March 24, 1852||The Examiner (Toronto)||Page 3, col. 1|
Ontario, Simcoe, and Lake Huron Railroad.
The report made by the Hon. H. C. Seymour, to the Directors of the Toronto Northern Railroad, shows that the prospects of the Company are encouraging, and that a large portion of the road will soon be completed.
This important line of railway extends from the city of Toronto, in a direction north by north-west, to the town of Barrie, on lake Simcoe, and may terminate at Natawasaga, or at some point in the Georgian Bay. This makes the whole length of road 90 miles. The length of road under contract is 63 miles, and the contractors are engaged on it with large forces.
The road passes over grade 752 feet above the level of lake Ontario; but these grades are short, and are intercepted by levels of slightly undulating grades.
The cost of the road, when finished complete with rails, and furnished with cars, &c., will be £6,250 per mile. It is calculated that contingencies may swell this sum to £7,000 a mile, which will make the road complete for the transaction of business—a distance of 90 miles—for £630,000.
The amount of traffic that may be fairly reckoned on is shown in the density of population on each side of the road as far as Bradford, as well as in the fact that the travel in public conveyances is equal to 75 persons each way daily, and by private conveyances so many more it has been computed that as many as 100 loaded wagons pass through the toll gate of this city in one hour.
As to the traffic accruing to the road from the trade on lake Simcoe, it is not unfairly assumed, that, from the circumstances of the lake having a coast of 100 miles bordering on a growing district, and profitable employment being found for a steamboat making daily trips along the borders, the trade of the lake would contribute as much to the business of the road as 50 miles of branch line.
From Holland Landing to Barrie, the traffic of the road will, for some time, chiefly depend on the forest productions, as the district between those places, as well as that extending from Barrie to the Georgian Bay, is as yet sparsely settled. but even taking this into account, there is the prospect of a profitable business from the lumber trade; for it is known that lumber is transported over the New York and Erie railroad—a distance of nearly 400 miles—at rates which will equal the cost of transport from the districts mentioned over the Northern railroad and the New York canals to New York city.
It is shown, beside, in the report, that there are good prospects of a large passenger trade. The regions around lake Superior, and the northern portions of Michigan and Huron, which are being fast settled, will be tributary to the road, as it will be their cheapest and speediest route to the markets of Canada and the United States. The northern termination of the road will be within 26 hours of New York; and when roads on the American side, which are in progress, shall be constructed and extended to the mouth of the Niagara river, the distance will be reduced to 22 hours. It is further shown that, by this route, the distance from Mackinaw to New York is reduced 237 miles, a saving of travel which cannot fail to attract a very large portion of the travel of the west. The route, via Toronto, includes 418 miles of railroad and 400 miles of steamboat travelling; whilst that via Buffalo and Lake Erie includes 470 miles of railroad and 615 miles of steamboat. This makes a saving of time of 10 hours in all, and a savings of cost of [illegible—$4.20].
From New York to Chicago, by railroads now constructed or in progress, the distance is 1,025 miles, and to Milwaukee 1,117 miles. From New York to Milwaukee, via Toronto, is 1,103 miles, of which 418 are by railroad, and 685 by steamboat, making the length of time required for the journey 75 hours, only 17 hours longer than by railway direct. The cost by railway would be $23; by the Toronto route is would be $15, making a difference of $8.
Taking Boston, Portland, Québec and Montréal as starting points, the relative advantages of the Toronto route over other lines is shown to increase; but undoubtedly the largest contributions to the business of the road must be from the large and valuable territory between lakes Superior and Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. These regions, it is well known, abound in mineral resources of the most valuable description. Improvements are going on in these territories that will produce a beneficial effect upon the trade of the Ontario and Huron road. Among these is a railroad in course of construction from Green Bay, in Wisconsin, to the southerly part of Illinois, and the opening of navigable communication between the waters of Green Bay and Wisconsin river. By these highways, when completed, a vast amount of agricultural and mineral wealth will be conducted to the road and will very materially increase its business and revenue.
The breadth of track or gauge which has been adopted for the road is five feet six inches, on which the eminent engineer, Edwin F. Johnson, Esq., remarks, that "the Canadas being, in a great extent, separated by waters than cannot be bridged, can very well adopt a gauge differing from that of the United States without inconvenience, and five feet six inches is certainly better than four feet eight and a half inches, which is the prevailing width in New England and New York". He adds, "the advantages of the greater width of tracks are many and important, while the disadvantages are few and very unimportant. The reasons that can be urged in favour of five feet six inches, as compared with the lesser width, apply with still greater force to a width of six feet. Thus, in connection with the fact that the greater width has been adopted upon the New York and Erie railroad, establishes the propriety of making that width the standard throughout the Western States."
"The expense of transshipment,"Mr. Seymour remarks, "at the terminations need not exceed 4 cents per ton. At Toronto, the location placed [illegible] cars and vessels side by side, and as freight from New York or any Atlantic seaport can be delivered cheaper at Toronto than at Buffalo, the cost by the route between the seaboard and the country described by Mr. Johnson will not differ considerably from the cost by way of lake Erie"
"Its effort up the growth of Toronto will be quite beyond the seeming expectations of her enterprising and intelligent citizens. It will fill her docks with lumber and produce of all kinds, and her harbour with vessels. The Esplanade, if built on the largest scale contemplated, will all be required for commercial purposes. Yonge Street is a very important condition to her prosperity. The railroad, bringing in here the products of regions far beyond Yonge Street from the upper lakes and from the Mississippi, will do much more."
Railways: O.S. & H.U.Rd.