Friday, October 4, 1872 The Woodstock Sentinel (Woodstock) Page 4, col. 1

The Dover railway.

Public Meeting in Stratford.

A public meeting to discuss the Port Dover and Lake Huron Railway scheme was held in the town hall, Stratford, on Monday evening. The chair was occupied by Mayor McCulloch and Mr. J. M. Robb was appointed [illegible] as Secretary. After the object of the meeting had been explained by the chairmen, Mr. Bullock, of Norwich, was called upon. The following report [illegible] of his and other speakers made on the occasion, we take from the Herald.

Mr. Bullock entered into a history of the old scheme. The usual notice had been given, a short time ago, in the Gazette, for the renewal of the charter of the Port Dover and Woodstock road and continuing it on to Stratford. The people of Ingersoll and St. Marys were anxious to secure another line, but as this one had now got the start it rested with its friends to say whether or not it would be a success. A little energy would secure it. All that could be done had been done, till the amount of stock required to be subscribed, [illegible], had been taken up. He apprehended no difficulty in getting the stock subscribed, as only 10 per cent. of the amount was required to be put in . In his village, Otterville, in the township of Norwich, stock to the amount of $10,000, in Woodstock over $22,000 has been subscribed, and it would be increased to about $30,000. The work done on the road between Port Dover and Woodstock was worth at least $100,000. Woodstock, Stratford and other places had [illegible] or were willing to give limited bonuses, and the Government bonus of $2,000 a mile could be secured if the matter was properly attended to, but in order to secure the Government [illegible] stock must be given up [illegible] not to allow [illegible] it ahead.

[illegible], had been taken up. He [illegible] no difficulty in getting the stock subscribed, as only 10 per cent of the amount was required to be put in. In his village, Otterville, in the township of Norwich, stock to the amount of $10,000, in Woodstock [illegible] $22,000 has been subscribed, and it would be increased to about $30,0000. The work done on the [illegible] in Port Dover and Woodstock was with worth at least $100,000. Woodstock, Stratford and other places that [illegible] willing to give [illegible] debentures, and the Government bonus of $2,000 a mile could be used if the [illegible] was properly [illegible] to secure the Government [illegible] stock must be given up [illegible] as not to allow [illegible] ahead.

Mr. [illegible] of Norwichville, was [then] called upon. He said the scheme under consideration was not only a desirable one, but it would be a paying one. Some 18 years ago he had been connected with the scheme of the Port Dover and Woodstock route. Then there would have been but one connection, the Great Western. Now the proposed road would cross some [illegible] lines, and connect at Stratford with the Grand Trunk and Buffalo and Goderich road, giving to the people the best possible choice of routes and markets. Our forests are rapidly disappearing and it would soon be necessary to procure coal for fuel. Coal would become a necessity and the best place to [illegible] it was from the Pennsylvania coal [illegible], and the best place to land it was Port Dover. The proposed line would distribute coal on the centre of [illegible] other lines referred to which would be a great advantage. Lumber, also, was becoming scare, and would soon have to be imported; and this line would afford the means of obtaining it.

The salt products of the west could be distributed and sent over every road in Canada from this one. The work [done] on the old road, would become the property of th new stock holders. The cost of the right of way, including [illegible] acres for stations, was $102,272.30; the amount paid to contractors for the work done was $311,056.80; paid for Port Dover harbour, $33,030.93, making a total of $466,360.03. Supposing the work done to have depreciated one half, still the road would be worth over $200,000.

Woodstock offered a bonus of $50,000; Stratford, $30,000; the Government grant of $2,000 per mile, or $120,000; Simcoe $15,000; municipalities interested, say $15,000, making a total of $470,000, or say, $400,000, to back up the $100,000 of stock required. This was sufficient, he thought, to satisfy any one that there was no risk in aiding the scheme by taking stock. In 1856 the Port Dover harbour was owing to the Government $27,560—its total value was $60,390. The tolls collected at this harbour from the 7th June, 1854, till the 14th of August, 1855, amounted to $7,086.98, or nearly 12 per cent. on the total cost. The imports in 1851 amounted to $81,761, and in 1856 they had increased to $453,388. The exports in 1851 amounted to $151,404, and in 1856 to $373,877. This would give some idea of the importance of the harbour, and were it connected with the leading lines of railway, by the one now proposed, it would become much more important. The number of steam vessels that arrived and departed from this port in 1856 were 74, and of sailing vessels, 157. This port was not quite 60 miles from Stratford. It was for the people to say whether would subscribe the necessary stock to enable the road to be constructed, and secure the advantages it would confer, or go on without it. Woodstock, with a comparatively small population, had subscribed nearly $30,000; Stratford had a population of over 5,000, and should in proportion, take stock to the amount $40,000. The securing of this line of road would make Stratford a city. The stock holders elected the directors, and, under the present charter, it was impossible that frauds could be committed, as in time past. Only 10 per cent. of the stock would be called for and 30 days' notice would be given of the call.

Dr. Walker, of Port Dover, represented a place far in the back woods, and was glad to come among alive people—he was sure in Stratford he was among a live people because the spirit of progress was manifest everywhere. The manifestations of thrift and enterprise which he had witnessed since he entered the town, convinced him the destinies of the place were in proper hands. The court house was not much credit to the place, nor to its architect, but, possibly, the county fathers, instead of expending money in constructing a more suitable and sightly structure, were saving it for the equally laudable and more profitable purpose of assisting railways. He spoke of the harbour of Port Dover as one of the best and safest on the lakes, and one which would attract commerce were there proper railway connections inland. Were the Port Dover railway constructed the farmer would find it the better way to ship most of his produce. Barely and white wheat found their most ready market in the States—and this would, unquestionably be a much cheaper route than any of the present. It would form a competing line, and reduce the present rates of freight, which would be a direct benefit to the farmer, the merchant and the consumer. Were this road in operation the people of Stratford could export and import with the advantage on their side, as compared with Hamilton, Toronto and other places. In all probability an amalgamation or arrangement could be made with the Canada Southern road advantageous to this road, which would enable it, the more easily, to be got underway; but if this could not be done, those interest in its success, had the [illegible], and he believed the spirit and enterprise also, to make it a success independent of aid or support from other lines. It was not the main or trunk lines of railway that developed most [illegible] internal resources of a country. The [illegible] main lines devoted more attention to the through freight traffic than the local, it was the local or branch lines that thoroughly developed internal traffic. The Port Dover harbour which shall be purchased for a mere triffle, if connected as proposed, with the leading roads of the Dominion, would yield a revenue almost equal to the interest of the stock. The scheme was the best, and likely to be the most profitable in this section of the Dominion.

Mr. Redford considered the proposed scheme [iilegible] itself to the people of this town—no argument was required to convince any one interested in the prosperity of the town and county that it was important to encourage it. He had much pleasure in moving the following resolution:

"That having heard the explanations of the deputation from Norwich, Otterville and Port Dover in reference to the proposed Port Dover and Lake Huron Railway, hits meeting consider it greatly to the interest of Stratford that proceedings should be commenced as speedily as possible, and that with that view a liberal co-operation should be had with the people residing in other places on the route of the proposed road, in subscribing the necessay stock to put the charter in force."

The motion was seconded by Mr. J. P. Woods and on being put to the meeting was carried unaminously.

Mr. P. R. Jarvis moved the next resolution:

"That the stock books be at once opened and that Messrs. James Redford, P. R. Jarvis, A. Williamson, G. Horne, Wm. [illegible], S. R. Hesson, Wm. Buckingham, abnd J. M. Robb, be a committee to co-operate with and assist the provisional directors in taking up stock and canvassing the townships for bonuses.

Mr. Hesson seconded the resolution.

It afforded him much pleasure to appear on such an occasion before such a large and intelligent assembly. He had had considerable experience in noticing the effects of railways on the development of the country's resources, and was fully convinced the more we had the better. There was no doubt the town and country had been largely benefitted by the lines already in operation, and the proposed line, in his opinion, would benefit them still more. He did not favor the scheme as one in opposition to the Grand Trunk, still he thought, in some cases, and under some circumstances, it would afford more favourable freight arrangements and better choice of market. The only thing we had to complain of in the town was the backwardness of its manufacturing interests. Its becoming connected with more lines of railway would, no doubt, attract men of means, and induce the establishment of manufacturing interests. He was in favor of the northern scheme, but he was more favorable to the southern, believing it would be of most advantage to the town at present. Those who were in a position to take stock should do so. There was no doubt that the construction of the southern line, or any other line connecting with the town would much enhance the value of real estate. Large property holders, therefore, should encourage and endeavour to secure the success of the enterprise by taking up the necessary stock.

Mr. S. S. Fuller, as one of the provisional directors, wished to call their attention, particularly, to the fact that if Stratford did not now come forward and take stock, it was not likely the same opportunity would ever offer again. The people of Woodstock had the scheme in such a position that they were sure of the road from Port Dover to that place; and if we did not now endeavor to secure continuance of the road from Woodstock to Stratford, we would not get the same assistance from the Southern people afterwards. There was also a scheme to secure a railway connecting St. Marys, Ingersoll, and other places with Port Burwell. If we did not now secure the proposed line, and the one to which he referred, got underway we would not be likely to get it afterwards. He had no doubt but the securing of the Southern connection would reduce the present rate of freight, which would be a benefit to all clases of the community. The meeting then dispersed.

Well done, Stratford!

Since the above was in type and shortly before going to press, we learned from Mr. Moore, who has just arrived from the North, that Stratford has subscribed $15,000 and that there is every prospect of the amount being increased to $25,000. Hurrah for Stratford and the Port Dover Railway.

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