January 15, 1936, Vol. 25, No. 22 Judgments, orders, regulations and rulings (Ottawa) Page 421

Application of the Canadian National Railways for an Order granting leave to abandon operation of that portion of the Orono Subdivision, in the Province of Ontario, between Ronnac (M.0.0) and Greenburn (M.41.8), a distance of 41.8 miles.


Heard at Port Hope, Ont., May 21, 1935.


Commissioner Stoneman:

The Canadian National Railway applies under Chapter 47 of the Statutes of Canada 1932-33 for the approval of the Board to the abandonment of operation of its Orono Subdivision, in the Province of Ontario, between Ronnac (M. 0.0) and Greenburn (M. 41.8), a distance of 41.8 miles.

Before the year 1933, unless there was a statutory or contractual provision requiring a railway company to operate its road, it was at liberty to abandon the whole or any portion of its line. The statute above referred to, which amends the Railway Act by adding section 165A, provides that—

The company may abandon the operation of any line of railway with the approval of the Board, and no company shall abandon the operation of any line of railway without such approval.

Brief Historical Review

Opened for operation, 1911.

Built under the charter of the James Bay Railway Company, under the following statutory authority: Canada, 4-5, Ed. VII, Chap. 110, 1905.

This line was built by the Canadian Northern Ontario Railway Company (successor by change of name to the James Bay Railway Company, incorporated by Canada Act 58-59 V, Chap. 50). In 1914 the Canadian Northern Ontario Railway Company became part of the Canadian Northern Railway System, the control of which was acquired by the Canadian Government in 1917 and which is now operated as part of the Canadian National Railways.

The Orono Subdivision extends from Ronnac to Greenburn, a distance of 41-80 miles. In September, 1926, the portion of the line between Greenburn and Todmorden was dismantled. In August, 1923, the portion between Brighton and Coburg was abandoned and later dismantled. In November, 1925, the portion from Cobourg to Ronnac was dismantled.

The present train service is between Ronnac at Mile 0.00, to Brinlook Crossing, Mile 35.39.

Westbound mixed train, no. 311, Wednesday and Friday

Leave Ronnac 10.15 a.m. Arrive Brinlook Crossing 1.05 p.m.

Eastbound mixed train, no, 312, Thursday and Saturday

Leave Brinlook Crossing 3.48 p.m. Arrive Ronnac 6.40 p.m.

The railway operating revenues for the year ending September 30, 1931, were $58,890; for the year ending December 31, 1933, they were $26,056; and for the year ending December 31, 1934, they were $28,028. The railway company's operating expenses (out of pocket only) for the same period were as follows:—For the year ending September 30, 1931, $87,904, for the year ending December 31, 1933, $53,648; and for the year ending December 31, 1934, $43,845. The loss for this three-year period amounted to $29,014 in 1931, $27,592 in 1933, and $15,817 in 1934.

The above figures are subject to some adjustment because of inclusion of the sum of $2,552 for the years 1930-31 and $1,593 for the year 1934 for divisional supervision. The 1934 figures also show an item for maintenance of way and structures which is approximately $220 per mile below the average out of pocket costs for the same item covering a period of six years. The explanation given by the railway for the low figure representing the above item for the year 1934 is that it has not maintained the line during the year 1934 as it should have done for continued operation. The important point, I think, with regard to the above figures is that substantial losses have been shown.

The territory served by this line is principally agricultural. There is a flour mill located about one and one-half miles from Greenburn and a gravel pit a short distance from Greenburn Station. The gravel pit has not been operated for two years, and it is evident from correspondence since the application was heard that there is no intention of renewing operation. At Orono there is a flour mill, a butter factory, and a forestry station, also a coal and lumber business.

Those opposing the application were very ably represented by Mr. Waddell of Orono. The objection to the application being granted was on the ground of additional cost in operation because of the longer haul to railway facilities.

Mr. Green, the owner of the flour mill near Greenburn, states that at present he has to haul one and one-half miles, and if the application were granted he would have to haul a distance of eight miles. I understand, however, that there is a station on the Canadian Pacific Railway some three and one-half miles south and west of Greenburn Station, which may be reached by municipal road. This mill at Greenburn, according to the evidence, has been in its present location for practically one hundred years. Prior to the advent of the railway line it was necessary to haul the material about six miles from the railway station. The forestry station at Orono, as well as the other industries mentioned above, would have a haul of approximately five miles to railway facilities if the application were granted. In so far as agricultural interests are concerned, objection to the application being granted is on the ground that a longer haul to railway facilities would be involved.

This is a case where the railway was constructed after the territory was settled, and if the application were allowed, the distance between the remaining east and west lines would vary from 16 miles near Port Hope to 6 miles at Greenburn. The territory is well served by good road. The road map shows that there is a hard-surfaced road, known as No. 2, located three miles south of the line under consideration at Greenburn, three miles south at Whitby, two and one-quarter miles south at Oshawa, three miles south at Bowmanville, three and one-quarter miles south at Newcastle, and five miles south at Newtonville.

No. 7 is a through hard-surfaced highway lying a considerable distance to the north and running from Peterborough in a northwesterly direction to Lindsay, thence west to Sunderland, thence south to Brooklin, and thence west to Greenburn and beyond. It is only between Brooklin and Greenburn, a distance of about eight miles, that it is anywhere near the line in question, being about three-quarters of a mile north. In addition to the hard pavement running north and south between Sunderland and Brooklin, there is a hard pavement running north and south between Port Hope and Peterborough, known as No. 28. Within the square formed by No. 2, No. 28, and No. 7, which are provincial highways, the territory is very well covered by improved gravel roads—one running east and west through Orono, another farther north running through Pontypool, and a third still farther north through Bethany. Also there are improved gravel roads running north from Oshawa, Bowmanville, Newcastle, and Welcome, to say nothing of the township road running east and west every mile and a quarter and north and south at shorter distances.

The evidence is conclusive as to the fact that excellent transportation facilities are provided by bus and truck. Bus and truck competition has been so effective that one witness states that practically 75 per cent of the livestock is shipped by truck, and another witness states that practically all the apples from the district destined to the city of Toronto are shipped by truck, and a substantial amount to Montréal by truck. Dairy products, small fruits, and eggs are practically all shipped by truck.

The passenger traffic, as shown by an exhibit filed, makes it clear that practically all passengers from the district are either using cars going to other railway lines or using bus services.

If the application were granted there would be little, if any, inconvenience to those whom the line serves, with the exception possibly of the few industries that have been mentioned. The evidence in this case is such that I think the application should be granted.

December 21, 1935.

The Assistant Chief Commissioner and Commissioner Norris concurred.

Railways: C.N.Rys.

Stations: Greenburn, Ronnac