The Railways of Ottawa

Findings of the Circle - Part 2


Finding no. 7  - Updated 21 June 1999
Whistling Prohibition

The whistle signal has to be sounded wherever a whistle post (W) is put up.  The regulations required that a whistle post be placed a quarter of a mile from every public crossing - not private or farm crossing.  The engineer must blow the familiar whistle signal two long, one short and a long until the crossing is fully occupied.  This is rule 14(l) of the Canadian Rail Operating Rules (CROR) and was the same number in the old Uniform Code of Operating Rules (UCOR).

When whistling became recognized as an annoyance in the 1910 -1920 period, the Railway Act was changed to the effect that if a community passed a by law which prohibited whistling the Board of Railway Commissioners (later Transport
Commissioners, later Canadian Transport Commission and finally National Transportation Agency) could pass an order approving the by law and the railway would instruct train crews that rule 14(l) would not apply at a crossing or at a series of crossings in a zone.

In many cases the whistle post was left in place because it was still necessary to ring the bell.

In the Ottawa area the applicable orders are as follows:

46416 of 16 Mar 1931 which approves City of Ottawa by law 7054.
52018 of 14 Jun 1935 which confirms City of Hull by law 325.
90474 of 18 Dec 1956 which confirms City of Hull by law 625 as amended by 639.
101322 of 26 May 1960 which confirms City of Ottawa by law 280-56 as amended by 14-60.  This came into effect on 10 Jun 1969 at which time 46416 was rescinded.
R-1989 of 9 Apr 1968 which confirms City of Ottawa by law 19-68.
R-8316 of 17 Mar 1970 which approves by law No. 369-1 of Town of Gatineau prohibiting the sounding of whistles at  Labrosse Street (m. 111.40, Lachute sub); Main Street (m. 111.91 Lachute sub.); Maloney Blvd at m. 0.10 and 0.15 CIP spur off m. 112.40 Lachute sub.
R-11001 of 18 Feb 1971 which approves Town of Renfrew by law 45 - 70 prohibiting the sounding of engine whistles on the CPR Chalk River sub. at Hall Avenue (m. 58.40); Renfrew St. E (m. 58.63); Plaunt Street (m. 59.00); Munroe St. W. (m. 59.05) and Raglan Street (m. 59.08).
R-15193 of 24 Oct 1972 which approves by law of City of Smiths Falls No. 3931-72 prohibiting the sounding of engine whistles at William Street (m. 0.17), Chambers Street (m. 0.30) and Lorne Street (m. 0.73) all on the CPR Brockville sub.
R-17177 of 17 Aug 1973 which approves City of Smiths Falls by-law No. 4001-73 of July 16, 1973 prohibiting the sounding of the engine whistle with respect to the shed track crossing at William Street (m. 35.11 CNR Smiths Falls sub.) provided that all train movements are manually protected by a member of the train crew.
R-19746 of 11 Dec 1974 which approves By-Law No. 369-2 of City of Gatineau prohibiting sounding of engine whistles at Montee Paiement, m. 113.10 Lachute sub.
R-41244 of 6 Nov 1987 which approves City of nepean By-Law No. 127-85 prohibiting the souning of whistles ar merivale Road, Woodroffe Avenue, Fallowfield Road, Greenbank Road, Jockvale Road and Cedarview Road on the CNR Smiths Falls sub.
1988-R-55 of 7 Mar 1988 which approves by-law of Town of Renfrew prohibiting whistling at Hall Avenue, Renfrew Street E., Plaunt Street, Munroe Street W., Raglan Street on the CPR Chalk River sub.  This rescinds order R-11001.

Finding no. 8  - Updated 19 April 2009
The Rideau Canal Rail Road
References:
Denison, Lieut. W. "Rideau Dams" vol II, pp. 114-121,3 pl., 1838
Frome, Lieut. "An account of the Causes which led to the Construction of the Rideau Canal connecting the Waters of Lake Ontario and the Ottawa; the nature of the Communications prior to 1827; and a description of the Works by means of which it is converted into a Steam-boat navigation,"  vol I, pp. 73-102, 4 pl., 1837.
Leggett, Robert.  "Rideau Waterway", Revised Edition, University of Toronto Press 1972. p. 178.
Bush, Edward F. "The Builders of the Rideau Canal 1826-32" Parks Canada - Manuscript Report Number 185, 1976. pg. 47.
Watson, Ken W. "Engineering Landscape - The Rideau Canal's Transformation of a Wilderness Waterway", published by the author 2006, page 223.
Elliot, Bruce, McKenna, Katharine (editor), and Wylie, William "Labourers on the Rideau Canal", 2009.

Leggett states "Lieutenant Denison of the Royal Engineers, who spent much of his time at Hogs Back during his service on the Rideau Canal, has left us an account of the progress of the work, and from this we know that Mr. Fenelon constructed a small railway to bring stone from the quarry which he opened on the west bank, a quarry which may still be seen today.  It is entirely probable that this was the first railway in Canada; it certainly antedated the line from Laprairie to St. John's, in Lower Canada, which is usually stated to be Canada's first railway.(italics inserted)

"It required more than the ingenuity displayed in building a little railway, however, to tame the waters of the Rideau.  Although Mr. Fenelon made preparations for the handling of the waters of the spring flood, a sudden rise in the level of the river in February 1828 caught him unprepared and much of the work he had done was swept away.  This resulted in the termination of his contract."

Frome shows in Plate II a map of the completed canal from Hog's back to the Ottawa. At Hog's Back there is a line terminating at the Quarry a little less than a mile to the EAST.  This would put it pretty much at the remains of the quarry seen from Hogs Back Road.  There is no sign of a line to "Nepean Point", even though various roads are sketched in.  The maps and text are very clear on the location of the line.

Denison in Vol II, pp 114 -121 (1839) shows detail of the construction of the dams.  Plate I, Fig 1 map in summer 1827 shows  the end of "Rail Road to Quarry" also on the EAST side.  It terminates at a Bridge crossing below where the waste weir is now.

The map, Fig 4 in 1828/29, shows the same Rail  Road along with bridge, as well as another Bridge along the Waste Weir about 50 feet upstream.

Other than in Plate I there is no mention in either text of the Rail Road. Both extracts describe the stone being taken from the east-side (right bank)quarry.  The locks are on the left-bank.

Bush notes that Walter Walsh Fenelon obtained the contract for Hogs Back around 1827 "who", according to Leggett and the plans of the site, "built a narrow-gauge tramway from the quarry to the dam site."

The following two plans are from Denison's work, the first shows the general location of the quarry and the second provides more detail.


In Engineering Landscapes, page 223, a recent (2006) publication, there is an additional plan showing Hogs Back in 1831, looking north (NMC 21975 (RI-0852).
"Fenlon started work on the (Hogs Back) dam in the summer of 1827. He built a small railway, leading from a rock quarry on the east bank of the Rideau to the dam site."


Survey of Hogs Back Rideau Canal by John By, Jan. 22, 1831. NMC 21975 (RI-0852)

Ken Watson also notes:
Page 216 (Long Island Locks):  "During construction, the local quarry ran out of stone and stone had to be taken from the quarry at Hogs back in order to complete the locks."
Page 229 (Hartwells Locks):"Rubble stone was brought from Hogs Back to secure the base of the locks at Hartwells (there was no bedrock on which to lay the foundation of the locks). Some of this stone was also used to secure the canal where it traversed the two gullies.

Later references suggest that the tramway was constructed all the way to Nepean Point but this does not appear to be the case.  However, the hills west of Dows Lake are also referred to as the Nepean Hills, i.e. the lands of the Experimental Farm, the Aboretum and along Prince of Wales Drive to Hogs Back.  It is possible someone mixed up Nepean POINT and Nepean HILLS as the location of the line.

From this it can be concluded that the tramway was built from the Hogs Back dam to a stone quarry to the east (not west as stated in Leggett) and that it did NOT run from Hogs Back to Nepean Point.  This was quite possibly a wooden pole type tramway which presumably used animal power.  Fenelon's contract was terminated in February 1828 but the tramway is shown in the 1831 map above.

Finding No. 9    Updated 26 August 2003
Lines to Uplands
The first line into the Uplands Airport area was a spur to a ballast pit built by the Canadian Northern Ontario Railway when the present Beachburg subdivision was under construction in 1913. The Ottawa Journal for 28 January 1913 shows:

The Canadian Northern has closed with an Ottawa land syndicate re. the purchase of two farms on the other side of Billings Bridge.  The farms were formerly known as the Upton and Langstaff properties, and it is understood the railway will use them for gravel pit purposes.  As the deal was closed directly with the Toronto office the purchase price is not known.  It has been estimated at $30,000.

The spur ran from a point on the Beachburg subdivision from roughly where Wass Junction is today to the pits, now abandoned, around the current NRC rail test facility.  This pit was only a few hundred feet from the CP Prescott line.  The CNR line was used for about five years for ballast purposes.

Air photos and topographic maps from the 1920's and 1930's show the CNOR line abandoned.

Canadian National reinstated the line in the early part of the Second World War and service was provided to the Department of National Defence, Air Service. The same easement was used from Wass (WHAT WAS IT CALLED THEN?) to the jog in Hunt Club Road near the Mercury dealer.  From there the line angled diagonally over to the northern hangers.  There was a coal fired heating plant served by the spur. The BTC authorized the location of the DND storage facilities in June 1953 and the  CNR line was likely abandoned shortly after this authority was rescinded in June 1960.  The right of way is still very evident in the NCC fields between Uplands Road and the Beachburg sub., and the ties are still there.

On Nov. 29 1941 CPR applied for authority to construct a siding (7,700 feet long) from mileage 6.15 Prescott subdivision to a point of connection with the CNR siding to the Royal Flying School.  This was rejected in early 1942 on the grounds that CNR was already providing adequate service to the area. Other records indicate that the CPR did indeed build a spur into the base in the 1940's. It served the recently removed Air Force tank farm on McCarthy (now renamed Uplands) and around 1951 was extended across McCarthy into the base proper.  It then crossed Bowesville Road in the base, terminating at the largest hanger in the southern group of hangers.  It seemed to have been used primarly to bring construction material (steel) for base development during the 50's.  The spur terminated just outside the the hangar that is north of the remaining international executive flight hangar. Sometime in the 60's it was cut back to the McCarthy tank farm which was used exclusively for militaary use.  In the mid 70's a new level crossing was built for the Airport Parkway. With the closure of the military base in the mid 90's the tank farm was closed and in the summer of 1998 the remainder of the spur was taken out, including the Airport Parkway crossing.

There was another spur a little to the south during the 1950's.  This served a pit which is now just north of the Airport Parkway/Uplands interchange. It may have also brought cement and other construction material for the major runway construction which was taking place. There is little evidence of it today although it was used by the National Research Test facility now known as the Vehicle Dynamics Laboratory.

Click here for a document perpared by Alex Driega concerning an artefact discovered on this section of track

Finding no. 10  - Updated 20 December 2001
Rockland

From La Petite Histoire de Rockland.  Rockland 1982

The topo map sheets in the National Air Photo Library, 31G/11, show the GTR coming in from the south at a northwest angle and merging in with the CNoR at the west end of Rockland...Hwy 17 would have been built pretty much on top of the CNoR at that point.  To the west of Rockland, CNoOR diverted a few hundred feet to the south for a mile or two but then went underneath again.

The air photo's of the area confirm this (HA142 prints 70 to 75 in 1927 and A9550 prints 1,2,3 in 1945 - both lines had been abandoned by 1945). There was a large amount of lumber stored between the CNOR and riverfront north of Rockland. No sign of a turntable, but there was a wye among the various sidings.

To the east the line veers away from the Hwy 17 to the north, closer to the riverbank. There should be signs of the bridge embankment over the creek north of the highway but the creek seems much wider in the post 1950's maps due to the dam?  The CNoR then meets up with the Hwy around South Nation where the bridge piers are still visible to the north.

Finding No. 11   Updated 3 September 2003
Hull Electric Railway

See also

Pictures can be viewed at http://davesrailpix.railfan.net/odds/qu/htm/her09.htm

On June 20, 1896, page 1, the Ottawa Evening Journal describes a test run from Hull to Aylmer and back on the Hull Electric Railway.  The opening run is described on page 7 of 29 June, 1896.  The railway took over the CPR track to Aylmer.

In August 1901 there was an agreement with the PPJ and the ON&W regarding running rights by the Hull Electric over the Interprovincial Bridge into Ottawa.  The first car left the Chateau Laurier on 25 July 1901.

In 1913 there was an agreement between the HER, CPR and ON&W regarding car service over the Interprovincial Bridge and making provisions regarding the lease of the HER.

Privy Council order PC 1926-1699 approved an agreement between the Hull Electric and CPR by which CPR leased to HER two tracks between Sparks Street, Ottawa and Youville Street, Hull together with a siding and diamond crossing and the right to maintain shelters, ticket office, waiting room, platforms and stairways at Sparks Street for the term of 21 years from 12 Aug 1926.

The CPR right of way north of Sappers Bridge was shared with the Hull Electric Railway, which ran either side of the CPR line.  Before 1912, the station for the railcars was under the Dufferin Bridge.  After the Chateau Laurier opened, the tracks north of Dufferin Bridge were enclosed under a terrace and passenger platforms were provided.   The Hull Electric had a pair of crossovers to the CPR track, beside the Chateau Laurier.  There was also a turning loop, in a tunnel under the new Plaza Bridge built in 1912 to replace the Dufferin and Sappers Bridges.        

Hull Electric Railway Roster - compiled by Tom Grumley

No
Type
Builder
Date
Comments
Photo
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22:1
22:2
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
34
35
36
37?
38:1
38:2
42
44
46
48
50
52
54
100
101
102
106
107
116
200
201
202
203
204
250
251
252
253
1001
1003
DT/DE Loco
DT Loco
DT Sweeper
DT Baggage Mail
ST Sweeper
DT Passenger
DT Open
DT Passenger
DT Open
DT Passenger
DT Open
DT Passenger
DT Open
ST Closed
ST Closed
ST Closed
ST Closed
ST Closed
DT Open
DT Open
DT Open
DT/SE Open
DT/DE Closed
DT Closed
DT Closed
DT Closed
DT Closed
DT Closed
ST Closed
DT Closed
ST Closed
DT Open
DT Closed
DT Closed
DT Closed
DT Closed
DT Closed?
DT Closed
DT/DE Closed
ST Closed
ST Closed
ST Closed
ST Closed
DT/SE Closed
DT Closed
DT Closed
ST Sweeper
DT Wing Plow
Safety Car
DT Sweeper
DT Loco
DT Line Car
DT Closed
DT/SE Interurban
DT/SE Interurban
DT Closed
DT/SE Interurban
DT/SE Closed
DT Closed
DT/SE Closed
DT Closed
DT Flat Crane
DT Flat
CGE
CGE
?
CGE
?
CGE
CGE
CGE
CGE
CGE
CGE
CGE
OCC
CGE
?
?
?
?
OCC
OCC
OCC
OCC
?
OCC
OCC
OCC
OCC
OCC
?
OCC
?
CGE
OCC
OCC
OCC
OCC
OCC ?
OCC
?
OCC
OCC
OCC
OCC
Preston
Preston
Preston
OCC
OCC
-
OCC
Baldwin
HER
OCC
-
OCC
OCC
-
OCC
OCC
OCC
OCC
?
?
1896
1898
1898
1896
?
1896
1896
1896
1896
1896
1896
1896
1898
1898
1896-7
?
?
?
1898
1898
1898
1898
?
1906
1906
1906
1906
1906
1907
1906
1907
1897
1907
1907
1907
1907
1907 ?
1907
?
1909
1909
1909
1909
1910
1910
1910
1910
1910
?
1918
1910
?
1912
?
1912
1912
?
1914
1914
1914
1914
?
?
Sold to Ottawa Gas 1927.
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
50 ft Burned before 1912
-
-
-
-
-
50 ft.- converted to closed trailers
50 ft.- converted to closed trailers
50 ft.- converted to closed trailers
50 ft.- converted to closed trailers
No information
50 ft.- lasted until 1947
50 ft.- lasted until 1947
50 ft.- lasted until 1947
50 ft.- lasted until 1947
50 ft.- lasted until 1947
Body scrapped 1922; new body by OCC
50 ft.- lasted until 1947
Body scrapped 1922; new body by OCC
-
Burned in 1916
Lasted until 1947
Lasted until 1947
Lasted until 1947
Lasted until 1947 ?
Lasted until 1947
No information
21 ft.- Converted to Welder
21 ft.- Scrapped in 1932
21 ft
21 ft.
Lasted until 1947
Lasted until 1947
Lasted until 1947
Originally a mail car, Lasted until 1947
Lasted until 1947
-
To Cornwall 1947
Ex Grand River #40
-
Scrapped in 1947
-
Scrapped in 1947
Scrapped in 1937
-
Originally trailers; motorized in 1937; scr. 1947
Originally trailers; motorized in 1937; scr. 1936
Originally trailers; motorized in 1937; scr. 1947
Originally trailers; motorized in 1937; scr. 1947
Lasted until 1947
Lasted until 1947
PA 203601
PB/APC
-
-
-
C 26383
C 26383
-
-
PA 168293, PA 152236, PA 203603
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
HC, SJ
-
SJ
PB/APC
-
SJ, Box # 2000724464
-
-
-
-
PA 106223PA 152234 (open car)
HC
-
-
Box # 2000724355
-
-
-
Box # 2000724355/464
PB/APC
-
-
-
-
Box # 2000724464; PB/APC
-
PB/APC
PA 203602; PA 152235
-
Box # 2000724355
HC, SJ
-
-
Box # 2000724464; PA 152223
PA 210337
PB/APC
-
PB/APC
Box # 2000724464
-
Box # 2000724464
-
-
-

Abbreviations:
CGE – Canadian General Electric, Peterborough, ON
DE - Double-ended
DT - Double-truck
OCC – Ottawa Car, Ottawa, ON
SE - Single-ended

Sources for Photos:
Box # - This refers to the Merrilees collection container number in the National Archives.
C - refers to the National Archives photograph number
HC – Halton County Pamphlet on Ottawa Car Co.
PB – Paul Bown
PG - Paterson George collection
SJ – Stan Jones
PA – refers to the National Archives photograph number

Sources for Roster & Photo  Information:
ERA Headlights   Vol.16  No.2 February 1954 (Original Roster)
Paul Bown, Colin J. Churcher, Tom Grumley, Stan Jones, David Knowles
Ottawa Evening Journal
Canadian Railway and Marine World

Last updated 6 April 2003

Finding No. 12 - Updated 14 March, 2002
Canadian Northern Ontario Railway Access to Kingston
The Napanee Tamworth & Quebec, later Bay of Quinte Railway, acquired running rights over the Kingston and Pembroke Railway on 9 February1889 by an agreement signed 31 December 1888 (the first train ran to Kingston on 2 December).  The Canadian Northern, which acquired the BQR as part of its line between Smiths Falls and Napanee, exercised these until the amalgamation with the Grand Trunk. For a detailed chronology see Railways in Eastern Ontario.

Bennett and McCuaig, in their volume "In Search of the K&P", state that the first K&P station (and K&P headquarters) in Kingston was at Place d'Armes and Ontario Street.  The stone 'Inner' station followed in 1884, some 30 years before amalgamation with CP.

The K&P extended its tracks south to the Kingston waterfront in 1886, portions of the right-of-way being shared with the GTR. Here, the company built a new station and other terminal buildings. In February 1889, entry was gained into Kingston by the Napanee, Tamworth & Quebec Railway (BQR) which constructed a four mile link between Yarker and Harrowsmith and obtained 19 miles of operating rights south over the Kingston and Pembroke Railway. This situation continued until 1925 when Canadian National chose to suspend further use. The BQR used the K&P station in Kingston near City Hall.

The CPR took over operations in 1903 (page 26). The 1915 CP timetable (page 37) shows that by that time there were no special arrangements for transfer at Harrowsmith.  By comparison, at Sharbot Lake, connections are shown to the Toronto-Montreal Line, see table 9.

Details,  timetables, etc. for the Bay of Quinte are shown in the book “Lost Horizons” by Donald M. Wilson (also author of the Ontario & Quebec), Mika Publishing, Belleville, 1993. See Page 136 for a January 1, 1912 employee  timetable on the K&P which shows the "BQR." train as being a Third Class Mixed, Daily ex Sunday.  A 1904 BOQ timetable on page 127 shows trains 11 and 12 between Kingston and Tweed which would have used both the BQR and the K&P.

Additional information can be obtained from:
 http://www.globalserve.net/~robkath/railkrp.htm
 http://www.globalserve.net/~robkath/railbqu.htm 

Finding No. 13    Updated May 9, 2001

Kingston Penitentiary Railway
A 1895 sketch of the Penitentiary grounds shows, not only, the streetcar line along Portsmouth Ave was shown, but also, a north -south railway that crossed at what is now called Sir John A. MacDonald Blvd.  The line started on the west portal (Portsmouth side) of the Penitentiary, looped south betweeen the Penitentiray and Portsmouth Harbor, then west along the south wall and finally northwards along Sir John A. Boulevard, crossing the streetcar line.

There are references to quarries worked by inmates north of the Penitentiary, on what is now mostly the McArthur Campus of Queen's University.

This was a horse drawn railway which was used to bring large blocks of stone inside, presumably for for those doing 'hard time'.  There are some references to this in a history of the Canadian penitentiary system published by the Correctional Service some years ago.  Similar operations, such as that at St. Vincent de Paul, actually ran new Plymouth gas or diesel 0-4-0s while at least one was electrified, of which there are photographs.

A source for information on these narrow gauge railways are the annual reports of the Inspector General of Prisons, which go back to at least 1875.  These contain references to the Kingston Railway, although not to its construction.

Interestingly, Kingston Penitentiary also was contracted on at least four occasions by the government to produce frogs and switches for the Canadian Pacific Railway (government version).

A 1898 letter from the Grand Trunk Railway indicates that the GTR already provided service to the Penitentiary and was concerned that the Kingston Street Railway had applied for permission to put in a siding to the Penitentiary as well.

Finding No. 14    Updated September 29, 2001
J.R. Booth

14.1   Achievements of J. R. Booth
14.2  Relations with other railways

14.1   Achievements of J. R. Booth

This part will summarize J.R. Booth's impact on the railway scene in Ottawa, before he sold out to the Grand Trunk in 1904.

Booth purchased and completed the Canada Atlantic Railway.
He built the Ottawa Arnprior and Parry Sound Railway.
He established many major railway facilities in an around Ottawa, namely:
  - Bank Street Yard
  - The car shops on Catherine Street (for building rolling stock)
  - Chaudiere Yard (including the present E.B. Eddy site on Chaudiere Island)
  - Rail-served lumber and coal yards around Wellington and Somerset Street (today's City Centre)
  - Besserer St. Yard (at least the freight house and 6 to 11 tracks)
  - the canalside yard between Argyle and Waverley
  - Rideau lumber yard, between today's Industrial and Terminal Avenues.
  - Nepean lumber yard, south of Carling Avenue between Merivale and Fisher
  - Dows Lake lumber yard served from Rochester.
  - The coach yard between Deep Cut and Laurier Bridge
  - Mann Avenue roundhouse, locomotive erecting shop, and yards
  - Central Depot, (later Union Station)

Booth arranged the only land assembly ever undertaken to bring railways into the heart of the city (by lease and purchase) and offered use of these tracks to any passenger railway on fair terms.

Booth undertook the project for a central union station in Ottawa, encouraged by a $50,000 grant from the city of Ottawa for the purpose.  However he only built a temporary station and regretted accepting the
subsidy from the city see Section 14.2

The central station construction was subsequently undertaken by the Grand Trunk, within three years of buying Booth's railways.

The railway lands Booth assembled now account for the following facilities:
 - the Queensway from Lees Avenue to Bayshore, including the entire Nicholas Street Interchange and most of the Bayshore Interchange.
 - Colonel By Drive, from Deep Cut to the Westin Hotel
 - The Conference Centre, Rideau Centre (in part), Westin Hotel, Congress
Centre, and National Defence HQ.
 - The Queen Elizabeth Driveway from the Pretoria Bridge to Waverley Street
 - The war veterans housing built as the Carlington subdivision south of Carling Avenue between Merivale/Fisher
 - The northern part of Lebreton Flats.
 - Part of Alta Vista Postal terminal.
 - The Terminal Avenue freight and express terminals (the only site that is in part still a rail facility)

14.2  J. R. Booth and his relations with other railways
The following interview gives insights into J.R. Booth's antagonism to the Canadian Pacific and Ottawa and New York, (later New York Central) railways, which later would prevent his selling his railways to either company.  Comments of the circle are in small type enclosed in square brackets [ ].

THE OTTAWA EVENING JOURNAL, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29, 1898    PAGE 5

CENTRAL STATION

Mr J.R. Booth States His View of the Position

PARRY SOUND ROAD HAS AN EXCEPTIONAL RIGHT

It's Lease Must be Construed Only by the Courts

He Does not Think That the City's $50,000 Bonus Should be Rubbed into Him, and is Willing to Return it.

There appeared in the Evening Journal some days ago an article commenting on the disputes between the several railway companies respecting the lands of the canal reserve.  This article stated that the Booth roads were monopolizing the station grounds and the entrance thereto, by blocking other railways.  That the Parry Sound and Canada Atlantic Company have established upon these grounds a freight shed of their own, but object to any other railways building freight sheds upon the same grounds; and the Journal contended that the city council should insist on the whole site being reserved for passenger traffic.

Mr. J.R. Booth was seen by a Journal representative subsequent to the printing of the foregoing article and he complained that the matter had not been fairly stated by the Journal and that the questions at issue between the several companies were not generally understood.

Publication of Mr. Booth's statement has been delayed in order that he might revise it himself, so that there should be no mistake about the contents.

"It has been stated," said Mr. Booth, "that we have been acting unfairly towards the Ottawa and New York Railway.  Now I wish to deny that emphatically.  We have never refused to the Ottawa and New York Company or to any other company free and reasonable access to the Central passenger station.  We have always expressed our willingness to negotiate with them for terms, and in case we could not agree upon the terms and conditions, then we were willing that the same might be settled by the railway committee of the Privy Council.

[Booth's confidence in the government was based on a close relationship with the incumbent Liberals under Laurier, who were trying to persuade him to run for Parliament].

"In the first place, the Ottawa and New York Company insisted that the C.A.R. Company should be compelled to give them running powers over their tracks from Hawthorne into the city, about 5 miles.  This we were willing to give upon the payment of a reasonable sum for the privilege allowed, but we stated that the New York Company had no right whatever to demand running powers over our lines upon their own terms, because while their company was subsidized by the government and the city, the C.A.R. Company never received one cent of subsidy from the government or from the city of Ottawa, and should not be asked to relieve the New York Company from the usual expense of building their own railway or from paying a reasonable sum for the use of our railway.

"The O.A. & P.S. railway has a lease from the Crown of certain portions of the Rideau canal reserve, and whatever rights may have been granted under that lease, and they are not many, they are clearly stated therein, and there is no reason why we should be compelled to abandon our rights to the New York company or to the C.P.R. company, merely because they wish to occupy the position which we have been first to acquire.

"We are certainly entitled to use the lands mentioned in our lease for all the purposes of our railway that are not excepted by the terms of the same and the Ottawa & New York company as well as the C.P.R. company are only entitled to an entrance over our tracks, along with other roads to the Central passenger station, and this privilege has never been refused to them.

[The C.P.R. was planning to use the C.A.R. entrance to the city, but had just completed its own rail bridge over the Rideau river, and had built a trestle to reach the C.A.R. at Deep Cut.  Service would start on Monday 18 July].

"The C. P. R. stated that it was not reasonable that a large and powerful company such as theirs should be the tenant of the O.A. & P.S. company, and thereupon they and the O. & N.Y. company made an application to the railway committee of the Privy Council asking that our leases might be cancelled and that the lands might be held by the government for the purposes of the several railway companies as station grounds.  This was an unreasonable demand, and the railway committee refused it; yet we at once consented that both those roads might bring their passenger trains to the passenger station over our tracks upon terms which were then agreed upon - which terms will govern the traffic until permanent terms shall be arranged by the railway committee.

"In your paper I have been blamed for putting up a freight shed in front of certain lands which the New York company purchased.  The expression is used that the Parry Sound company 'knifed' the New York company in that respect.  This is quite untrue.  The Parry Sound company have an absolute right to use these lands for all the purposes of their railway, and they have a perfect right to use the surplus lands for freight purposes, under the provisions of their lease, but other companies are only permitted to have access to the passenger station, and besides there is no room upon the grounds in question to handle the freight traffic of all the roads that may enter.  And the place selected for our freight depot was determined upon and plans therefor completed more than a year before the N.Y. Co. ever thought of using our ground.

"For a number of years the government and the citizens of Ottawa have complained about our company shunting across Elgin street and Bank street and to avoid such shunting over the streets and to have a clear passageway for our freight were the principal objects we had in view when we obtained a lease of the Canal reserve.  Having obtained certain rights on the Canal reserve, there is no good reason why other companies should attempt to prevent our using these lands for the purpose for which we rented them, by threatening to expropriate portions of the lands to be used with adjoining lands for their freight purposes.  They would have to shunt back and forth over our tracks, and in addition they would close up the only streets accessible to the station grounds.

"The C.P.R. has already a freight station at the Chaudiere and another freight station on Sussex street.  For many years past these stations were considered sufficient for all the business they carried on here, and if not, there are ample grounds round the city available for freight purposes, without crowding in upon one small piece of ground which has already been secured by another company.

[The C.P.R. would in fact continue to run its freight business at Chaudiere and Sussex into the 1960's, abandoning the Sussex Street yard on 15 June 1964 and Ottawa West (Chaudiere) on 29 October 1967].

"Any person who chooses to look over the grounds will admit that the freight shed which I have erected is located in the best and only suitable position for the freight business of that station, and if I can believe the general expression of the public, it is a great advantage to the business men and the shippers of the city.  But why should I be compelled to give up to a competing company the property which we have acquired?

"If we have not acquired it," said Mr. Booth emphatically, "the matter can easily be determined in the courts, in which our leases must be construed.

"It is quite true that I have taken strong grounds against the claims put forward by the C.P.R. and the O. & N.Y. companies for a joint ownership of these lands, and so far I have been right and certainly my contention has been sustained by the railway committee.

"You ask the question, 'Why should not other roads have the same privileges as ours with regard to freight?' and I reply that the ground in question is not sufficiently large to accommodate the freight business of all the railway companies, and in addition thereto the other railway companies have no more right to ask that we should give them freight privileges than that I should be compelled to abandon my present railway terminals.  The leases have been granted to our roads, and surely I cannot be blamed for protecting the property, which we have acquired and which has cost us very dearly.

"I pledge myself to give to the citizens of Ottawa a first-class passenger station, and I never will at any time block or attempt to block any railway company desiring access to that passenger station.  All that I ask is a reasonable, fair rental from the several roads for the privileges they will certainly enjoy.

[Booth never did build a first-class passenger station, and it was up to the Grand Trunk railway, which bought his combined railways in 1904, to build the new Central station to open on 1 June 1912].

"It is true that the city of Ottawa granted a bonus to assist in the erection of a Central Union passenger station, but your statement respecting the amount is not correct - the bonus granted was $50,000 and not $75,000, as noted by you.  I do not wish to appear ungrateful to the people of Ottawa, but I cannot but express my regret now that the bonus was ever given.  It has been cast up to me again and again.  If the city of Ottawa would receive that bonus back again, I would willingly pay it back and build the same station without it, nor would the public suffer one cent.

Booth's initial station, opened in 1896, was a conversion of part of the old stone Militia stores and the erection of two wooden outdoor shelters and platforms and an enclosed stair tower to street level on Sapper's bridge.

Montreal gave a million dollars to the Grand Trunk for a station, and is giving now a site in the heart of the city for offices; the C.P.R. was similarly bonused there, and I may be pardoned if after bringing five hundred miles of railway to Ottawa and facing a large expenditure to make a great railway entrance into the city, I dislike to feel that the bonus of $50,000 given for the station is something I should always be on my knees for."

Mr. Booth proceeded to say that in the published report of the discussion before the railway committee the Journal had been unjust towards Mr. Booth and his counsel, Mr. Osler.

"Mr. Osler had stated that the New York Company had nothing whatever to do with the question whether the Parry Sound Company had broken its agreement with the Crown or not.  Why should this expression be termed 'Insolent?'  Surely the government are quite capable of enforcing their own agreement and with respect to that agreement the New York Company has nothing whatever to do."

The reporter reminded Mr. Booth that the minister of railways had used the expression that the Parry Sound Company had "trespassed on the agreement with the Crown."

[It was actually the O. and N.Y. lawyer who had used this expression.  This minister had concurred with it].

"What Mr. Blair meant by that was that the Parry Sound Company should have submitted the plans of its freight stations to the minister of railways before they were erected.  Whether we were bound to do so or not is open to argument.  We do not believe that such was the intention, but whether it was or not, it was not a question that the Ottawa and New York Company had a right to complain about, because even assuming that the minister of railways had to approve of the design of the freight sheds, he certainly had not to approve of the location or situation of the freight sheds upon the grounds."

In conclusion, Mr. Booth referred briefly to the extent of the Canada Atlantic and Parry Sound systems and asked whether an organization of that kind, centering in Ottawa, doing its business here, maintaining hundreds of employees and endeavoring to further Ottawa interests did not deserve a generous judgment from the people of the capital.  Opposed to it in the present instance was a road which had not an employee in the city, was not spending a dollar here, a limited enterprise of 60 miles, now in the market to the highest bidder.  The public interest would surely be better served by relying on the roads which had proved their strength and independence and were large factors in Ottawa's welfare."

[The two Booth railways were to be amalgamated as the Canada Atlantic in the following year, 1899].

"I have never at any time," concluded Mr. Booth, "asked any favors from other railway companies, but have vigorously and independently completed the system which I have centred in Ottawa against the most trying opposition of older and larger companies and there is no reason why I should be compelled to give up any of the privileges I have been successful in obtaining simply for the purpose of enabling a competing Company to obtain an entrance into the city without doing as I have done - building its own road."

[The referenced article, which had appeared nearly two weeks earlier, was as follows]:

THE OTTAWA EVENING JOURNAL, THURSDAY, JUNE 16, 1898    PAGE 7

MR. BOOTH'S BIG FREIGHT SHED

Comes in for Discussion at the Privy Council

OTTAWA AND NEW YORK ROAD CAN'T REACH THEIR LAND

The Booth Roads see no Room for any Freight but Their own - An Interesting Discussion.

The Ottawa and New York Railway had another struggle with J.R. Booth to-day. A meeting of the railway committee of the Privy Council was held to consider an application from the O. & N.Y. road to get into town over the tracks which Mr. Booth has laid, or over the government land he has captured.  At the last meeting of the Railway Committee, the government said that Mr Booth was "primary tenant" of the Canal bank and Central Station, and that the C.P.R. and the O. & N.Y. road must rent rights from him over his tracks.  To-day's application of the O. & N.Y. road referred not merely to running rights on the tracks and in the station, but to be allowed to get to the property they bought last year, in front of which Mr. Booth has installed a fine big freight shed.  John Christie of Christie & Greene, Ottawa, and B.B. Osler, Q.C., appeared for Mr. Booth, alias the Parry Sound and Canada Atlantic roads.  Z.A. Lash, Q.C., and J.K. Kerr, Q.C., of Toronto, appeared for the O. & N.Y. company.

A plan was filed showing that the Ottawa & New York road wanted to reach the property they had acquired at the canal basin, almost alongside of the Canada Atlantic Railway Depot.

Mr. Osler being asked to state the position which his company would take in regard to the application, said that the application was insufficient, and in regard to the merits of the case he opposed any scheme of freight delivery.  There was no need for any freight business in the centre of the city.  To grant it in this case would mean the shutting out of the Parry Sound road from their central depot.  It would have the effect of wrecking the scheme for a central passenger depot at the canal basin.  It would cut off access to the same.  The old station at Sussex street, of the C.P.R., was open to the Ottawa & New York people.   They ought to go and purchase there.  The reason, he said, why the Canada Atlantic railway transferred part of its freight business to the canal basin was to partly relieve the large shunting which had to be done across Elgin and Bank streets.

Hon. Mr. Mills - When you propose to shut out all other companies from doing a freight business at the Canal basin except yourselves?

Mr. Blair - The applicants have exactly the same rights as any other company in respect of freights.

Mr. Osler - There are no such rights under the lease.  There is not enough of room for our own business and we are now trying to get more property in the same neighbourhood.  We therefore ask that the committee do not sanction the closing of two streets, Wilbrod and Court streets, which can only be done by legislation and with compensation to the parties concerned.

[The O. & N.Y. did in fact begin their passenger service to the C.P.R. Sussex street station when they announced the establishment of service on August 2, though as late as their demonstration run, reported July 27, they had indicated that the C.A.R. would be used.  At that time the O. & N.Y. branched from the C.A.R. at Hawthorne, five miles out of Ottawa.  Wilbrod and Court streets were the only streets extending west of Nicholas Street, (the latter in line with Stewart Street, opposite the old courthouse and on the north side of the Land Registry)].

Mr. Lash on behalf of the O. & N.Y. road said that it found no part of their plan to close any street, or to attempt any infraction of the law.

Mr. Blair - Having regard to the public safety can you say that it would be safe to lay tracks on the streets referred to?
Mr. Lash - I most certainly say so.
Mr. Osler - The Canadian Pacific Railway found already that there was not sufficient room.  It was only this morning that under an excavation we had to get a little more room and had to pay $400 to a squatter for his right.
Mr. Lash - To contend that eleven or twelve tracks of 2,800 feet in length were now required for the Parry Sound and C.A.R. business alone was utterly absurd.

[Circle comment - 2,800 feet would have taken the  Booth tracks all the way from the Central depot to Deep Cut.  There were certainly never this many tracks over this length.  Apart from main tracks, there were at most five or six yard tracks south of Laurier Bridge, and possibly a few more short tracks north of the bridge].

In regard to the Canada Atlantic and Parry Sound Co. carrying on a freight business at the canal basin, Mr. Lash maintained that they had been trespassing against the rights of the crown in erecting its shed at the point it did.

Mr. Osler maintained that it was within the Parry Sound rights to do so.
Mr. Blair - I am sorry to hear you say so, because it was flying in the face of a distinct agreement.
Mr. Osler was prepared to argue that his company acted within their rights.
Mr. Lash said that the Parry Sound had acted contrary to its agreement with the government and now asked the government to sanction the wrong that it had done.
Mr. Osler said that if the Parry Sound, his company had done what was wrong in regard to its agreement with the government, he did not think that Mr. Lash had any business with it.

Mr. J.R. Booth said that it would destroy the whole depot to permit the Ottawa and New York Railway to do a freight business at the canal basin.

In reply to Mr. Osler, Mr. Hibbard of the O. and  N.Y. road said that his company might exist for a year by doing its freight business at Sussex st., but he did not think that they should be compelled to do so.  His company would have now to sell some of its property at a sacrifice owing to the erection of the freight shed by the Parry Sound people, as they could not reach that point now.  The shed was built after his property was purchased and it was bad enough to have to suffer from this loss and inconvenience  without being driven away altogether.
In reply to Mr. Blair, Mr. Hibbard said that one track might be sufficient for the company for freight purposes.
Mr. Osler said that while his clients, the Parry Sound road protested against the whole scheme, they would consent at the outside limit if the committee insisted to give the use of two tracks alongside of theirs, leaving 164 feet clear for themselves.
Mr. Blair - Do you want the O. & N.Y. road to build new tracks or come on existing ones?
Mr. Lash - We want to build new ones.
Mr. Hibberd asked the government to give an early decision.
Mr. Blair promised to do so and the committee then adjourned.

[The O.A. & P.S.  reference to two tracks plus 164 feet could have explained the earlier O. & N.Y. reference to eleven or twelve tracks.  However, this was at the widest point of the land assembled for the yards, and would not have allowed any space for loading platforms or buildings between the tracks]

Finding No. 15    Updated May 11, 1999
Interchanges
From the Holt Report, Ottawa Improvement Commission (Federal Plan Commission), 1915, Page 73.

"Analysis of the present method of interchanging freight cars shows that they are inadequate.  Interchange from the Canadian Northern and the Ottawa and New York, to the Grand Trunk, is handled by the Canadian Pacific and takes place at Somerset Street near Bronson Avenue.  These interchange cars are taken all the way round to Chaudiere Junction, [the old name for Ellwood Junction at Walkley Road], from the east before being handed over to the Grand Trank.  They are then hauled back to the Bank Street yard for sorting. This involves unnecessary mileage inasmuch as the Grand Trunk is close to both the Ottawa and New York and the Canadian Northern near the Rideau River".

Holt's answer to this confusion was to propose effectively nationalizing all tracks and rail operations in the Federal District.  The report proposed rationalization, a cross-town subway, and extensive electrification.  The proposed new Union Station would have had 11 through tracks, over 160 trains and over 41,000 passengers a day!  Greber's later report credited the vision
and depth of the Holt report as far more that he could have accomplished on the railway question.

Finding No. 16.    Updated 29 December 2004
Alfred Peat Bog Railway

Article by Colin J. Churcher which appeared in the May 2000 edition of the Bytown Railway Society's magazine "Branchline".  Click here to view the article.

Finding No. 17.    Updated 29 December 2004
Russell Shale Bricks Company Railway

Article by Colin J. Churcher which appeared in the June 2001 edition of the Bytown Railway Society's magazine "Branchline".  Click here to view the article.

This page updated 12 December 2019

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