|Annual report of the Ontario Railway and Municipal Board (Toronto)
Procedure File No. 746
Ontario Railway and Municipal Board
Waddington and Winter
The Toronto and York Radial Railway.
This Application was launched by Herbert Waddington, of the Town of North Toronto, and Herbert Winter, of the City of Toronto, on the 8th September, 1910. It was set out in part in the said Application that the Toronto and York Radial Railway Company, in the operation of their Railway, were operating the Fame in an inefficient and unsatisfactory manner, and to the detriment of the public and the applicant!;, first, in that the cars were overcrowded and that there was in sufficient accommodation for the passenger traffic, and, second, that the services were insufficient by reason of very serious delays which occurred in the passing of cars on switches and the moving of freight on the road of the Company.
This Application was not supported by any petition from the ratepayers of the Municipality of North Toronto; on the contrary the Municipalities of the City of Toronto and the Town of North Toronto strenuously opposed the same. The evidence submitted to the Board from time to time by the applicants, the report of the Board's Engineer, and a personal inspection of the Railway made by all the Members of the Board established to the Board's satisfaction that the service was congested and inadequate. It made it clear that some means should be found to better the service. In pursuance of that view, an Order was made by the Board on the 8th day of March (which was subsequently suspended pending the final disposition of this application) which required the Company to give an improved service. In pursuance of that Order, the Company have now filed Plans proposing to extend the existing switches and to introduce new switches. These Plans show that whereas the existing switches or turnouts total in length 2,241 ft. 5 in., the Company now propose to lengthen the same by 5,764 ft. 5 in., this making, when complete, a total length of switches of 8,006 ft. The Company allege and their allegation is sustained by the evidence of their witness, that they require the full switching facilities set out in the Plans in order to carry out the improved service ordered by the Board.
On the contrary, the evidence as a whole shows that the present switches, with an additional switch of ordinary length between Bedford and York Mills should materially improve the present congested condition, if the through cars are not given right of way over local cars on the local Division.
Despite the evidence put in by the Company, we cannot believe that a line of single track of only 20,375 ft. in length (less than four miles) should require turnouts of 8,006 ft. in length unless they are really intended to serve the purpose of a double track.
The Company from time to time, as the result of negotiations with the Municipality, have been granted added privileges to the rights granted in the agreement with North Toronto in the form of wider switching rights, it appears to us that the proper course for the Company to follow in this case is to pursue the same line of procedure that they have followed in the past. If they want their franchise still further widened, they should apply to the Municipality and not to the Board for relief. The Board have already decided that they have no power to order the double tracking of the road, and we are of opinion that if the proposed abnormal extensions to the turnouts were constructed, it would practically amount to double tracking the road about forty per cent. of its total length, and it would appear that the Company would be thus obtaining by indirect means, what they are plainly debarred from obtaining under the terms of their franchise without the consent of the Municipalities.
A difficult situation is thus created. Increased facilities are needed. The Company declare that they cannot comply with the Order of the Board unless they obtain increased switching facilities, which cannot be provided without occupying a further considerable portion of the highway. The Town of North Toronto and the City of Toronto are objecting to the Plans being passed on the ground that they object to dedicating so large an additional part of their highway for the purposes stated. The Board do not appear to have any authority to widen the terms of the franchise. The question is, what is to be done?
The rights of the travelling public are entitled to consideration, but if the Municipalities of North Toronto and the City of Toronto refuse to give any further part of their highway for the use of the Railway Company, the public must put up with the resulting inconvenience and discomfort until it becomes so acute that public opinion will exert pressure upon the Councils of the Municipalities and bring about negotiations between the parties.
We are of opinion that the Plans should not be approved; that the matter should stand until North Toronto is annexed to the City of Toronto, when negotiations should be opened, looking to the solution of this problem in a radical and permanent manner. At best the increased switching privileges asked for as set out in the Plans would only be a temporary expedient—would not be a permanent remedy—the snake would be only scotched, not killed.
While we are not called upon to do anything more than to pass or reject the Plans, the situation is one of such great difficulty and such inconvenience to the public that it may not be out of place to suggest what, in our opinion, is the proper solution of this difficult situation. It is, in our opinion, to double track the highway for passenger traffic only and to provide a private right of way for the large and ever-increasing freight traffic. It appears to us intolerable that it should be contemplated that a highway, the chief Northern artery into the City of Toronto, along which is being borne a large and ever-increasing vehicular and other public traffic, should be transformed practically into a right of way for a large passenger and railway freight service.
The question narrows down to this, whether the public highway should be subordinated to the interests of the Company or whether the Municipalities should dominate and control their own highway. We are of opinion that this is a matter for the Municipalities to decide, and that we have no authority to re-make or to vary the existing agreements between the Municipalities and the Railway Company.
(Signed) A. B. Ingram,
(Signed) H. N. Kittson,
Railways: T. & Y.Rad.Ry.