There might be a specific amount voted to meet such a case as that, but not as a general rule. There might be an amount voted which would be available for any urgent work and which the minister could use without having the place specified.
That is the intention, and in all cases that have come under my notice the rule has been the same. The parties are required to grade the siding and prepare it for the rails, and the government usually loans them the rails or advances the price of the rails, and then a proportion is deducted from freights until tlje account is squared. I am not aware of any departure from that rule.
It is customary on other railroads to charge interest on the material that is not perishable. I was under the impression that the government exacted less onerous conditions from its patrons than other roads did.
I am advised that we do not exact the interest. The general complaint of people who come to me is that we are a little more exacting than are private corporations in the matter of sidings. I have not had an opportunity of investigating that, but I was told so quite recently.
I do not know that the government railway should grant privileges to private individuals which it is not customary for other railways to grant. I understand that the Canadian Pacific Railway and Grand Trunk Railway charge the parties for sidings to the extent of the grading and the ties and other perishable material. Then the party has to pay the interest at 6 per cent, I think, -on the rails that are used.
The practice on the Intercolonial Railway is that the
party desiring a siding must practically make the road ready for the rails, and the government contributes to the extent of the value of the rails, either by loaning the rails or giving a cash equivalent. The interest is not charged, but the capital sum itself is charged, and is repaid by the parties from time to time through the adjustment of freight account. I know they say we are harder on them than are the companies.
Double tracking parts of line (revote, $18,000)-, $118,000.
This is for a portion of the double tracking of the Intercolonial Railway between Halifax and Windsor junction. That part of the road carries not only the traffic of the Intercolonial Railway, but, under an arrangement with the Dominion Atlantic Railway, which leases the Windsor branch, it carries also the whole traffic of western Nova Scotia. The department has been gradually double tracking that section, although it has possibly not been done as rapidly as we should have done it. However, it is rather an expensive work. There was appropriated for this service last year $30,000, of which we expended $11,918. That leaves an amount of $18,000 to be revoted, to which we are adding $100,000 for double tracking three or four miles between Rockingham and Windsor junction, making $118,000 for work which we propose to do during the present year. The whole work will be somewhat expensive, and we will have to ask votes for it in future, years.
We have a vote in connection with terminal facilities at Halifax, but the particular place at which property may be taken has not been mentioned. It contemplates getting additional accommodation wherever we find property suitable and at a moderate price. Whether we should go to the Bedford basin or not we cannot at present determine.