Gambar halaman

in the latter it is just the reverse; every thing which is not in the bond (and sometimes much that is) is omitted. As to the two systems, it is but Scylla or Charybdis to a railway company, in the hands of dishonest men; and, like forms of government,

"Whote'er ia best administered is best."

The original estimate was, no doubt, most insufficient in many respects—but there is very little reason to doubt that the greater part of the excess of £1,766,564 sterling, is due to the causes we have mentioned.

This company was induced, by the example of American lines terminating on Lake Erie, to embark in the steamboat business; a disastrous experiment, as it has proved even on Lake Erie, where its chances were always best. Before so many through railway lines were established between the East and the West, passenger-steamers could be patronized ; but the division of the business, and the dread of sea-sickness, no longer make it practicable to sustain such expensive boats as those floating-palaces, once the pride of the lakes. A much more serious undertaking into which the company has been led, was the subsidizing of the Detroit and Milwaukee railway. Whether this was a legitimate attempt to protect itself from the encroachments of the Grand Trunk, and to be able to avoid its proffered embraces, or whether (as is too often the case) the company was forced into it by controlling spirits, who had speculated in the securities of the subsidized road, and used their temporary power to give value to their major interest at the expense of a minor one, cannot yet be determined. Railway companies will always be exposed to such hazard's, so long as their directors are permitted to hold a greater interest in any other company.

The Great Western is one of the best equipped and best managed railways on this continent, and traversing a rich and populous district, to which it offers a choice of market^ will always have the best local as well as the best through business of any Canadian railway.

BUFFALO, BRANTFORD, AND GODERICH RAILWAY. "While the Great "Western was busily engaged in watching the proposed invasion of their territory on the north, by the Toronto and Guelph road and its extensions, they were assailed in the rear, and startled by the announcement that a company was formed, and had secured "vested rights," for a railway between Buffalo and Brantford. The general act, authorizing the formation of road Companies, had been amended in 1850, so as to extend to railways—a provision which, it appears, had escaped the notice of many railway companies. This virtually gave us the New York system of a General Railroad Law, under which any company may make a railway anywhere, by complying with certain conditions. This democratic measure is the horror of all orthodox existing companies; but while, in New York, the impossibility of getting capitalists to invest in competing lines has been ample protection, conservative legislation in Canada has entirely failed to produce the same result. The people of New York passed their General Railroad Law not only as a measure of justice to all districts, und a protection against monopolies, but chiefly in order to extinguish that corrupt trading in charters which has obtained in Canada, and which induced the legislature to1 repeal our General Railroad Law, immediately after the Buffalo and Brantford Company had been organized under it—saving those rights, of course. The mischief having been done in 1851, the Brantford Company, in 1852, was allowed to produce its line to Goderich, on Lake Huron.

This road originated in a desire, on the part of the populous city of Buffalo, to render tributary to herself the rich peninsula of Canada West; and also to divert the stream of eastern and western travel and freight away from the suspension-bridge route to her own hotels and stations.

If the Great Western had not committed the mistake of giving Brantford the go-by, it is extremely doubtful whether Buffalo could have organized a Canadian interest strong enough to have carried out this measure. This road, which has an admirable track, and is splendidly equipped in stations and rolling stock, deserves a better traffic. Virtually connecting Lake Huron with Lake Erie, it can have, on this route, no through traffic—because this could only be supplied during the season of navigation, when there is slack water of unlimited capacity between its termini, with which it is impossible it can compete. Its local traffic, also, may be limited to that between way stations, since its principal terminus is in a foreign country, and liaTjle to exclusion from Canadian traffic by international trade regulations and currency distinctions. The great want of this road is a terminus on Lake Ontario, in which case it would become available for the grain traffic from Chicago and Milwaukee, or Cleveland and Toledo, to Oswego, Ogdensburgh, New York, or Montreal. Now that the Grand Trunk is hora du combat, and better counsels prevail, the railways of the western peninsula will see that their great aim should be to build up the shipping interest on Lake Ontario. This lake is open by water communication both to New York and Montreal, and by the aid of water communication alone can our railways hope to deliver that back freight at their termini on Lakes Erie and Huron, which will induce vessels to bring grain to them instead of taking it on to Buffalo, where return cargoes always await them.

This railway has a value in its power of mischief, for it furnishes, in connection with the Grand Trunk, via Stratford and Sarnia, an opposition to the Great Western; and as it has at present no legitimate orbit, it may become merged in one of these larger bodies. The Grand Trunk, which has so long unsuccessfully wooed the Great Western, might hope to have in this an engine of coercion; while the latter may take it up as a means of self-defence, or to prevent the Trunk from establishing one leg on the Niagara frontier. It is, perhaps, superfluous to say, the Brantford road could be happy with either; but the legislature has fortunately been aroused to the danger of these amalgamations, and it is to be hoped we have seen the end of them. From Hamilton to Quebec, railway monopoly is shorn of its power by the water route, but a general amalgamation on the western peninsula would place the people there under a tyranny which could not and would not be endured.


The Niagara peninsula separates the open stretch of inland navigation afforded by Lakes Erie, Huron, and Michigan, from Lake Ontario (which is 330 feet lower), by a distance of only thirty to forty miles. Although the Welland canal connects these waters by a fixed scale of navigation, it is found that the longer voyage on the upper lakes is most profitable when with a size of vessel too large for this canal; and that the saving in freight on grain from Chicago to this peninsula, in the larger vessel, is more than sufficient to cover the cost of elevating it by steam power and machinery, transporting it across by rail, and discharging it into the vessel on Lake Ontario. Time is saved, so that the wheat reaches the seaboard before the drafts by which it was purchased mature ; the grain is improved and prevented from heating by the aeration it receives in passing through the elevators; and, most important of all, every craft afloat on and above Lake Erie is available to carry grain destined for Lake Ontario, instead of the limited number adapted to the locks of the "Welland Canal.

The Welland Railway, which runs parallel with the Welland Canal, and thus takes advantage of its harbors, has demonstrated the importance of this traffic, having transferred upwards of eleven millions of bushels of grain from the upper to the lower lake since its opening in June, 1859. Instead of being a competitor with the canal, it has proved an auxiliary to it, as a lighter to grain vessels too deeply laden to pass the canal. Over half a million of bushels were thus " lightered" from one end of the canal to the other in 1862; the total quantity transferred from Lake Erie to Ontario in this year, was 4,111,640 bushels.

This work, originally projected to connect a steamboat route between Port Dalhousie and Toronto with Thorold and the Great Western Railway, unites the two railways which skirt the opposite shores of the peninsula, and the numerous villages created by the water power of the canal, and thus has a self-sustaining local traffic as well as its through business. It has been successfully carried to completion by the same mind and will which produced the Welland Canal, and amid the same general predictions of failure. Following this lead, the Erie and Ontario road, which is now valueless, is to be extended to Lake Erie, and become a grain portage railway, besides forming part of the line between Buffalo and Toronto.

The Buffalo and Lake Huron Company also propose to acquire the half-completed Hamilton and Port Dover Railway, between their line and Burlington Bay. If a connection is made with Lake Erie at Dunville or Port Maitland, another grain portage railway is established for Lake Erie, in addition to their route from Lake Huron. All three of these roads will avoid the expense of harbor protection works, as all have the advantage of terminating in the best natural or artificial harbors to be found on these lakes. The difficulty which all, however, have to contend against, is the securing of a regular supply of tonnage working in connection with them, without which they are helpless, especially while the supply of routes to the seaboard exceeds the demand for them. Iron, from its cleanliness and greater carrying capacity in proportion to beam and draught, would make the best grain craft, but there is not capital here to supply them.

These, together with the larger portage roads, offer an opportunity for a legitimate and extensive increase of

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »