Friday, January 17, 1873 The Woodstock Sentinel (Woodstock) Page 2

P. D. and L. H. Railway.

East Oxford and the bonus.

I believe the bonus is growing in favor among the ratepayers of this township in [illegible] as the reasons for it become understood. Still there are some who object, giving, of course, different reasons for doing so. One reason given is that the building of the road will exceed the estimates. On this point I made some remarks last week, showing that other roads did not, under the same circumstances, exceed their estimates; and now I will try in a few words to show why railroads do exceed estimates and why the Port Dover & Lake Huron is in little danger of dosing so. The cost of grading, building bridges and stations, and freight houses, etc., furnishing the road with ties, rails, ballast, &c, [illegible] be estimated quite accurately by the engineers, and at the present time, with so many years of railway experience before them, they usually do this; but the excuses of extra cost are in the [illegible] [illegible] that have sometimes to be paid for the right of way; for parliamentary and legal expenses, in extravagance in building expensive stations and other offices, where cheaper [illegible] would answer. As the Port Dover & Lake Huron Road have their right of way and charter now, extra expense can hardly be incurred [illegible] either head, and the third point rests of course with the Board of Directors, though with the lessons taught by the cost before them, it is hardly probable that they will err to any great extent in this respect. The Canada Southern, now nearly finished, is not exceeding the estimates, and with [illegible] that bring about this excess removed, there is good ground for assuming that the P. D. and L. H. Road will not. There are some who think it will not pay because the London and Port Stanley has not. [illegible] for freight and passenger traffic are naturally far greater than those of the road referred to, yet at the present time the London and Port Stanley does pay; as proof of this I refer to the fact that the Stock of that road is now at par, and the reason it did not pay in the past is found in its bad management, and so far from being a proof against the prospects of the P. D. and L. H. Road, it is quite the contrary, a proof that the Port Dover is a feasible one. It is said that there is not sufficient business along its route to make it pay. No one can deny that its need is very much felt in Woodstock—our market town— and at every other place along its route. Now why is this [illegible]? Simply because there is a great amount of freight traffic that awaits such a scheme as this. During the [illegible] season there has not been over a third of the grain bought and shipped at Woodstock that there would have been if the facilities for shipping had been as great as necessity demands, and the other two third have gone to Paris, Brantford, Ingersoll and other places, instead of coming to our market town, thus entailing loss both on us as farmers, and on the business men of the town, by directing trade towards its rival. The farmers in this vicinity, and to the east of Norwichville, take the bulk of their trade and produce to Brantford, thus building up that town to the detriment of our own, and with this road the natural channel to [illegible] trade is toward Woodstock. Thus the freight that will supply this road when built is taken to other places, aiding to build them up at our expense. Brantford gave a bonus of Seventy Thousand Dollars to the short seven-mile branch of the Western to Harrisburg, and though a great many croakers prophesied ruin to the town, the result has exceeded the expectations of the most sanguine, and Brantford, through the instrumentality of this little competing line, is one of the most prosperous towns in Ontario to-day; and the farmers of its vicinity declare that the improvement in its markets, brought about by the completion of this short rival branch, is adding materially to their yearly income by increased prices, and the farmers from here and from other places, endorse this by driving in some cases, thirty miles in order to sell their produce in Brantford. Does this not give us the strongest encouragement to support a scheme which will make our markets at home equal to, it not better than those of Brantford and other places possessing competition in the carrying trade. I have shown in former letters some of the sources from which traffic will be derived and I will now only add that a railway was never yet built, the traffic of which did not far exceed expectations. The facilities for traffic once given, and a great proportion is created by such facilities. Take an instance of this. Before the G. T. R. was built, a single stage line did the passenger traffic from Montréal to Toronto, but as soon as that Road was opened, two heavy trains a day each way were required just for this traffic alone, and the same may be said of the Western and its immense passenger traffic. Again it is said that when the Canada Southern and other lines to the south a completed, that the freight on the Western will be cut off to such an extent that it will be able to do our local freight business efficiently, but this is a mistake; all the produce shipped from the Western States comes east, and the natural direction is across our peninsula, and the yearly increase of this immense section of country is itself alone enough to supply a good business for any road. This is easily proved by actual statistics, so that it is evident that the business of the Western or any other road running across this peninsula cannot be lessened by additional roads in the same direction as the increasing surplus will more than supply them as fast as they are built. Another reason given against a bonus from East Oxford is that ten thousand dollars will not make any difference any way—we will get the road and its benefits without paying for them. In the first place the selfishness of such an idea is, to say the least, contemptible; and in the second place, the assumption is a wrong one. The Directors depend on the assistance of that ten thousand dollars to secure the Government grant of two thousand dollars a mile, sixteen thousand dollars to that part of the road running through East Oxford, so that by refusing ten thousand, we may deprive the road of twenty-six thousand. And then our influence on other municipalities is a great deal, and is we refuse to give the bonus, others may follow our example, and the road be thus delayed. A business man told me the other day that he had been waiting more than two weeks for a car on the Western, and, though it was a serious loss to him, he might have to wait as much longer. He intends to vote for the bonus. I have endeavored to answer some of the objections to the granting of a bonus, and in a future article, will continue a subject which I feel is draught with [illegible] much interest to all.

An East Oxford ratepayer.

East Oxford, Jan 13th, 18721873.

Railways: Pt.D. & L.H.Ry.