April 1898, No. 2 The Railway and Shipping World (Toronto) Page 29, col. 2

Meetings, reports, &c.

The Grand Trunk's Semi-Annual.

The half-yearly meeting of GT.R. shareholder, held at the Cannon St. Hotel, London, Eng., April 5, was most enthusiastic.

The directors' report presented shows a net revenue surplus for the half-year ended Dec., 1897, of £275,263, being an increase of £236,177 over the corresponding half-year of 1896. The passenger traffic decreased £151,728 compared with 1896, however. Freight & live stock increased 410,960 tons, & the earnings per train mile increased 7d [sic]. The working expenses deceased nearly 7%.

The Chicago & Trunk shows a deficit of £49,467, being £17,950 better than 1896. The Detroit & Grand Haven shows an increased net revenue of £21,373, leaving a net deficit of £2,174 on revenue charges.

The directors report that an agreement has been entered into granting the Wabash R. Co. joint use for 21 years of a portion of the G.T. lines between Windsor & Black Rock station of the G.T.R. in Buffalo. The agreement provides that the Wabash pay the G. T. a rental commencing at $275,000 a year, to be increased at the end of every 5 years by $25,000 a year, until it reaches a maximum of $350,000 a year, at which rental it will continue for the remaining 6 years of the agreement.

The directors regret to report that amicable relations with the C.P.R. have been interrupted in consequence of the unwillingness of the C.P.R. Co. to agree with its U. S. competitors & the G.T. upon equal passenger fares to & from western points. The negotiations which are now in progress it is hoped will result in a satisfactory adjustment of the disputed matters.

The directors record a high appreciation of the great ability displayed by General Manager Hays in promoting the interests of the Co. & of the exertions manifested by him & his staff towards the achievements of the remarkable results attending the working of the road in the past half-year.

The opening remarks of Sir Charles Rivers-Wilson, President, were warmly received, being punctuated with cheers as he recapitulated the heavy decrease in the expenses & the increases of revenue under the new regime. He gave great credit to the administrative ability of the staff in Canada, & praised them in the highest terms for the remarkable results, as shown by the statements up to the end of 1897.

"The Co. is not now only free from debt, for the first time since 1890," he continued, "but has more than enough cash on hand to meet the outstanding liabilities."

But while this was satisfactory the shareholders must be prepared for an expenditure from the capital account owing to the necessity for strengthening the line in order to haul heavier loads. This would begin on the Portland Division, and they would in June begin saving £8,000 yearly by a reduction of interest owing to the redemption of the 6% bonds. The expenditure from the capital account would be spread over a series of years so as not to cripple any particular year. The President said the Victoria Jubilee Bridge at Montréal was progressing satisfactorily. He expressed the belief that an agreement with the Government in regard to the Intercolonial running powers would soon receive statutory sanction, & said the principle which the present board had always followed was to seek the maximum amount of business at the minimum cost. He congratulated them upon the results of this policy, which, he said, was best illustrated by the fact that the road during the last half-year had hauled 25.4 freight cars per train, compared with 22.8 during the preceding half year.

He especially congratulated the meeting on the building up of the Portland trade. The G.T.'s proportion of the earnings on the Montréal and Portland line was for 1897 almost double that of 1896, & three times that of 1895. He, however, said nothing in reply to the criticism cf the G.T. building up foreign ports.

Referring to the rate war he made a long exposition cf the differences with the C.P.R., beginning with the Toronto & North Bay disputes. He insisted that the G.T. had, by repeated proposals for arbitration and otherwise, done everything to avert the war. He declared the C.P.R. desired an exclusive contract with the G.T.R. in order to weaken the Chicago connection & damage the G.T.'s connecting roads to Chicago. The G.T.R., he said, would never give up its close alliance with its allies. On the larger question of differentials & the Klondike business, he said the C.P.R. had yet to prove its title to a differential. The negotiations would be continued next month, when it was believed an agreement would be reached. He did not believe that Sir Wm. Van Home was serious in threatening to build a new parallel line from Toronto to North Bay. He could not conscientiously recommend the English public to find the money. He did not grudge Sir Wm. Van Horne and Mr. Shaughnessy their pride in the C.P.R., but he believed they would soon see the error of their ways & come to an agreement. He also declared the future was filled with the brightest promise, & concluded with a warm energy to Mr. Hays & his staff, which was much cheered.

Mr. Girdlestone, of Bristol, who recently visited Canada, gave a eulogistic description of the property, but was howled down by the meeting.

An attack upon the board was made by Mr. Baker, of Bristol, who declared there was no truth in the statement of the President regarding the G.T.R. not beginning a rate war, which, according to Mr. Baker, was brought about in the interest of the U. S. allies of the road.

The President denied Mr. Baker's assertion, & apologized to Mr. Girdlestone for the meeting's behavior.

The report of an agreement with the Wabash Railroad for access re Detroit was adopted unanimously.

The retiring directors were re-elected as follows: Sir C. Rivers-Wilson, Jos. Price, G. Allen, G. Von Chauvin, J. A. Clutton-Brock, Col. F. Firebrace, A. Hubbard, Sir H. M. Jackson, L. J. Seargeant, A. W. Smithers, Lord Welby of Allington, Sir W. Lawrence Young. The retiring auditors were re-elected as follows: G. B. Newton & F. Whitney, London, Eng.; W. M. Ramsay & T. Davidson, Montréal.

Railways: G.T.Ry., Wab.Rd.