September 1, 1934, Vol. 24, No. 11 Judgments, orders, regulations and rulings (Ottawa) Page 185

Complaint of the Town of Wiarton, Ontario, against the proposed change in train service between Parkhead and Wiarton, on the line of the Canadian National Railways.


Report to the Board by Commissioner Stone, after hearing at Wiarton, Ont., May 7, 1945

In compliance with direction of the Board by Order No. 50966, dated April 26, 1934, made under section 12 of the Railway Act, I heard the evidence tendered by the representatives of the applicant and the Canadian National Railways at Wiarton, Ontario, May 7, 1934, and herewith submit my report.

The train service now in operation between Parkhead and Wiarton is as follows:—

Parkhead and Wiarton
Table No. 184
+343 +339 Miles Eastern Time +338 +340
P.M. P.M. P.M. P.M.
11.05 1.55 0.0 Lv. Parkhead, Ont. 182 Ar. 1.35 3.05
11.10 2.00 2.40 Hepworth 1.26 f2.57
11.19 2.09 5.5 Clavering f1.20 2.50
11.30 2.20 10.2 Ar. Wiarton, Ont Lv. l.l0 2.40
P.M. P.M. P.M. P.M.
+ Daily except Sunday.
f Stops on signal.

The Canadian National Railways propose to cancel the late train which leaves Owen Sound at 9.55 p.m., and arrives at Parkhead 10.33 p.m., scheduled to leave Parkhead at 11.05 p.m. and arrive at Wiarton 11.30 p.m. (where the engine and train crew now terminate their duties for the day) , and substitute a morning train leaving Owen Sound at 10.30 a.m., arriving at Wiarton 11.55 a.m., in time to operate trains Nos. 338 and 339 between Wiarton and Parkhead, and return to Parkhead on train No. 340 and from there to Owen Sound, where the crew would in future be relieved from their daily duties.

It is contended that the proposed arrangement would only require one crew employed from 8.30 a.m. until 5.45 p.m., and their home terminal would be Owen Sound. The crew would operate the trains to and from Wiarton, and take care of all switching at Owen Sound. This method would eliminate payment now made for overtime service, additional hours on duty of the Stratford way-freight crew switching at Owen Sound, cost of watchman at AViarton, and bring about considerable reduction in cost for fuel and water consumption.

The cost of the present service is given as $81.47 per day, or $25,500.11 yearly. The estimated cost of the proposed service is $46 per day, or $14,390 yearly—a saving of $11,102.11, from which amount loss may be entailed of approximately $1,000 a year. (See Exhibit No. 1.)

The evidence developed at the hearing, on behalf of the applicants, showed that in the year 1878 or 1879 substantial contributions were made towards the establishment of the railroad by the municipalities of Wiarton, Amabel, Albemarle, Kippel and others, which were estimated at approximately $85,000.

The main line was constructed from Wiarton to Palmerston via Parkhead, Wiarton being the northern terminal. Some years later a spur lino was built from Parkhead to Owen Sound, from which terminal through train service is now operated. The previous train service which served the aforesaid municipalities connected at Parkhead with all through train service between Toronto and Owen Sound until the early morning train was discontinued. The municipality contends that nine families have already been removed from Wiarton by changes previously made in train service, and that the present action of the railway company to withdraw night train No. 343 and transfer the rest of the employees to Owen Sound means the closing of Wiarton in future as a terminal to the detriment of that town.

It was further contended that the cost given by the railway company, in connection with the present operation, was not accurate, as the time occupied by the engine and train crew switching at Owen Sound, or service between Parkhead and Owen Sound, should not be made a charge against the actual service now operated between Wiarton and Parkhead.

Under cross-examination figures submitted by Mr. Fairbairn. manager of the Passenger Service Bureau of the Canadian National Railways, for the year 1933, showed the total revenue out of Owen Sound to be approximately $300,000, whereas the total revenue out of Wiarton for the same period was $56,597.11, divided as follows:—

Inward freight L.C.L. 7,259.72
Outward freight L.C.L. 2,899.86
Inward freight C.L. 9,166.77
Outward freight C.L. 11,049.50 30,375.83
Inward express 5,363.65
Outward express 14,998.79 20,362.44
Passenger 5,858.82
Total 56,597.11

The number of tickets sold at Wiarton for the year 1933 was 2,149 as compared with approximately 3,400 at Owen Sound. Evid, Vol 610. Pt. 2, pp. 427-429.

Mr. L. H. Snider, who appeared for the town of Wiarton as a member of the Board of Trade, submitted as an alternate proposition the following: Evid, Vol. 610, Pt. 2, p. 438.

What we propose is this. We say to run the noon train and the evening train into Wiarton Run the morning train and the noon train out of Wiarton. Move this crew that has been referred to as a freight crew, that now takes the afternoon train out of Wiarton, to Owen Sound. That crew would go on about five o'clock in the morning, early enough to meet the train from Wiarton at Parkhead; it would bring out to Parkhead any freight there was and leave it there. Then we ask that that crew also come out at noon and meet the noon train from Wiarton. That the night service to Owen Sound be handled the way it is now handled from Wiarton, that is by way of bus. Then we say that that freight crew, that is moved to Owen Sound, can meet, as I have said, the two passenger trains, and it can bring the freight out to Parkhead in the morning, and when it is in Parkhead in the morning it can pick up any freight, express and mail that has been delivered to Parkhead on the train the night before, and take it into Owen Sound.

In that way, Owen Sound will be getting their freight and express in the morning just as early as they get it now when it comes in on the midnight train. There will be no hardship to Owen Sound there.

Mr. Snider further suggested that the way-freight train which leaves Owen Sound at midday be routed in and out of Wiarton instead of Owen Sound, so that overtime payments to this crew could be curtailed. Evid. Vol. 610, Pt. 2, p. 440.

Mr Fairbairn admitted that the line through to Wiarton was originally built under charter, and that certain subsidies were given both by the municipalities and the province; also that there were agreements between the railways and the municipalities, but that there was nothing whatever to define the service the railways would provide and that they were not bound in any way. He stated the line from Parkhead into Owen Sound was built some years after the line into Wiarton, and on account of the traffic the line into Owen Sound became the main line, and the former line from Parkhead to Wiarton the branch line, and that to readjust the traffic and run the through trains into Wiarton instead of Owen Sound would mean an additional outlay of some $5,940 more than the present cost. Evid. Vol. 610, Pt. 2, p. 434.

Under date of May 31 the railway company filed with the Board eight additional statements together with a covering letter, copy of which was also sent direct to Mr. L. H. Snider, solicitor for the town of Wiarton, in conformity with the understanding reached during the hearing. Vol. 610, Pt. 2, pp. 421 and 425. Mr. Snider's criticism of these statements was received by the Board on Saturday, June 23, which has been carefully studied together with all other evidence submitted.


Representations made on behalf of the town of Wiarton clearly set forth their claim for more adequate service in order that more direct connections could be made with all through service south of Parkhead, either by operating the main line service in and out of Wiarton, or connection at Parkhead with the through service now operated in and out of Owen Sound.

Wiarton is the nearest station serving considerable territory north and west between lake Huron and Georgian bay. The distance from Wiarton to Parkhead is 10.02 miles, and on this line there are two intermediate stations, Hepworth and Clavering.

Between Owen Sound and Wiarton a bus service is operated daily on regular schedule, leaving Owen Sound about 8 a.m., making several round trips during the day—the last trip leaving Wiarton about 8.15 p.m., and arriving at Owen Sound about 9.15 p.m.

The discontinuance of train 343 may develop inconvenience to some patrons of the railway, while the additional morning service will be found beneficial to others.

The necessity for economy with the hope of making the cost of operation meet the revenue as nearly as possible should be recognized by all interests. The proposed curtailment in operating expenses of approximately $10,000, by readjustment in train service on the Wiarton-Parkhead line, is strongly emphasized by the railway company as necessary and justifiable. The extra-ordinary stringency pertaining at the present time, and the expense involved in connection with the present Wiarton-Parkhead Hne appear to justify the position taken by the railway company.

It would appear necessary, in the interest of shippers of fish, that cars suitable for fish shipments should be available at Wiarton the day before shipments are made. This should be arranged. With this understanding I recommend approval of the railway company's application.

Respectfully submitted,

Ottawa, June 25, 1934.

Concurred in by the Assistant Chief Commissioner and Commissioners Norris and Stoneman.

File No. 29052

Garceau, Deputy Chief Commissioner, dissenting;

The report of Mr. Commissioner Stone explains fully the nature of the application by the Canadian National Railways, of the different submissions made by the railway and the respondents, concerning the cancellation of train No. 343, which leaves Owen Sound at 9.55 p.m. and arrives at Wiarton at 11.30 p.m.

The railway contends that this cancellation of train No. 343 means a daily saving of $35.47, or $11,102.11 yearly, such saving being the sole reason for its demand. {It is a measure purely of economy.—Mr. MacDonald, for the railway.)

The respondents deny the possibility of such saving and state that even if the railway could reduce the cost of operation to such an extent, it would suffer otherwise by a loss of traffic; moreover, the public and employees would be inconvenienced substantially.

Let us consider the nature of the savings the company would make:—

Exhibit No. 1 demonstrates that instead of paying daily wages of $54.10, it would have to pay only $29.52, a daily saving of $24.58; it would also save daily on water and fuel, $12.24, making a total of $35.47.

The record shows that five employees of the railway, who would be removed from Wiarton to Owen Sound, have built or bought homes in Wiarton.

This economy desired by the railway would mean a direct loss to labour of $24.58. On water and fuel, the saving would be $12.24, but again, out of that amount, there is a part which represents labour, either for the production and handling of coal or the supply of water. What proportion it represents, I cannot ascertain, but as the cost of these commodities represents mostly labour, I can say that labour will suffer again a loss of at least $5.

We may conclude that this saving will be obtained out of labour to the extent of over 80 per cent. The Annual Report of the Canadian National Railways for 1933 shows at page 5 that the savings realized by the railway during that year were obtained at the expense of labour at the rate of 81.17 per cent. It is admitted that the granting of this application would necessitate the abandonment of a terminal, a change of residence for five employees, and no proper compensation is provided therefor (Sec. 179).

The railway is owned by Canada: a gain by the railway will be a gain by the country, and in this case will be obtained to the extent of over 80 per cent by the dismissal of employees.

Considering that the morale of its inhabitants is the greatest asset of a country, the preservation of which is a paramount duty;

Considering that labour is a moral and physical necessity and the best safeguard of the morale of its inhabitants;

Considering, moreover, that his employment is the wealth of a worker and that h6 is as much entitled to such as the owner of any other wealth;

Considering that if the country can ask sacrifices from all its inhabitants, they must be apportioned on everybody according to their individual capacity;

Considering that in the present instance the saving of a dollar by the country would mean a loss to railway labour of 81.17 per cent, and to the employees dismissed, the confiscation of their only wealth, their work;

Considering that to add to unemployment reacts on labour, trade and commerce, on railway earnings, means more broken homes;

Considering that this country, since five years, has spent millions and millions to react against unemployment, to help those who were suffering from unemployment; moreover, at the last session of Parliament, $40,000,000 were voted to be spent in public works, not of immediate necessity, but to relieve unemployment, give work to as many as possible;

Considering that a railway employee receives 81.17 cents out of every dollar spent by the Government, and that the workers will not receive more than 50 per cent of the money spent on public works;

Considering that society, in its own interest, is bound to make the necessary sacrifices, to provide working facilities to as many as possible;

Considering that if it is the duty of the administrators of the Canadian National Railways to suggest any measures in the interest of economy; under the dispositions of the Railway Act, the Board has the duty and all discretionary powers to safeguard public interest, security, to protect railway employees;

Considering that if by special enactment inter alia (Sec. 179) the railway is obliged to compensate its employees for the inconvenience of being transferred, the general dispositions of the Act must be interpreted as covering an indemnity for a greater loss.

Considering that no provision is made for the employees' losses;

Acting within the authority vested in the Board, to serve justice, the best interests of the country, with due deference to any other opinion, I would dismiss the application.

July 9, 1934

Railways: C.N.Rys.

Stations: Clavering, Hepworth, Owen Sound, Parkhead, Wiarton