|Friday, February 10, 1871||The Woodstock Sentinel (Woodstock)||Page 2, col. 3|
To the Editor of the Sentinel.
Through the columns of your valuable paper, I should like to make a few remarks upon a subject which does and will effect the prosperity of this town. I am pleased to notice that a step has been taken in the right direction, by the offering of inducements for the establishment of manufactories in this town. But, while we admit that manufactories are one of the chief promoters of the welfare of a town, we must also state that they constitute only one of the essentials. Manufacturers, in choosing localities for the situation of their works, also look to the facilities they shall have for shipping their goods.
At this point I should like to enquire if anything is now being done by those interested in the welfare of the town, towards the construction of the Stratford, Woodstock and Port Dover Railroads. Stratford, according to last week's Beacon, is jubilant over the prospect of a railway to Listowell. A committee appointed by the County Council of Perth, it would seem interviewed Mr. Bridges [sic] at the Stratford Railway station, on Saturday [last] week; which meeting resulted in the guarantee by Mr. Bridges, that the Grand Trunk Company would work the road on the same terms as that agreed upon between the Great Western and the Wellington, Grey and Bruce Railways; which is equivalent to a guarantee of 6 per cent. on $12,000 of bonds for each mile of railway constructed. It is estimated that the railway to Listowell could be completed for $13,000 per mile. Assuming the guarantee to be $12,000 per mile, and the bonds sold for 80 cents—$9,600 per mile would thus be realized leaving only $3,400 per mile, supposing the road to cost $13,000 for the same length, to complete the work. This, of course, drops the proposed extension to Woodstock; for the Grand Trunk could not be expected to build a road which will only carry traffic to the Great Western. It is well known that the branch line to Goderich is about the best paying part of the whole Grand Trunk line; there being no competition. Stratford, therefore, is equally anxious to have a road built to Woodstock, in order to connect with the Great Western, and by this means, forcing the Grand Trunk to lower her freight rates.
When the Stratford deputation went to Hamilton to confer with the Great Western Directors about the building of the proposed road, including the Woodstock extension, the Directors expressed themselves favorably to the Woodstock branch but not for the Northern road, as that would bring them into direct competition with the Grand Trunk.
In the Hamilton Times, of one day last week, I saw that a Norwich correspondent was crowing over the building of the Southern road, and at the discomfiture of this town interest. Now, if Woodstock, had not followed to the letter the name that has often been given her, that of an old sleeping town without any enterprise, this road would have been built long ere this, and as the Norwich correspondent says, would not have wakened up too late to save herself, it is only too well known that the building of the Southern Railway is likely to materially hurt the business of Woodstock in drawing away from it the support of the Southern townships. Now, if Woodstock can get this Port Dover road built, it will not only secure to her the trade of those townships, but would give greater facilities to the Northern one, and it would also make Woodstock the junction place, where the Stratford and Port Dover road would cross the main line of the Great Western, and thus make Woodstock the great shipping point from both the North and South. The town could not help but revive under the influences brought to bear upon her. The increased means of transport would also be a great inducement to manufacturers. The town has been napping long enough, and the sooner it arouses itself the better. Where such a golden opportunity presents itself, it should be eagerly grasped at. Why not appoint a deputation to confer with the Great Western, and see if they would not run the road on the same terms as that of the Wellington, Grey and Bruce? The G. W. R. guarantee the bonds as before mentioned, which bonds are sold at 85 cents, and after the road is ready for the iron, run it at their own expense. Stratford, after they have secured their Northern road, would also go in for it; and Embro is agitating for it to pass through that place. The old line of the Woodstock and Port Dover road being already graded, and if the proposed Government grant to railways should carry, the line could be built at little cost.
If Mr. Editor I have taken up too much of your space you will please condense it. And if this letter is worth publishing, you will by doing so, greatly oblige,