When you left the
chair at six o'clock, I was speaking of the absolute lack of accommodation at Quebec for the traffic of the Transcontinental, of the trains which could come to us at the opening of navigation, towards the end of April or the beginning of May, and I was recalling to memory the campaign waged by the press of the Conservative party before 1911, against the then Liberal Government, who, they claim, jeopardized the interests of the
City and port of Quebec by the slowness of the terminal works.
Amongst the newspapers patronized by the present Government which gainel distinction in this campaign, I could mention i'Evenement and the Chronicle. Previous to 1911, both dailies denounced the supposed inaction of the then Administration with reference to the terminals; what censure should they not carry against the present Administration, who let two years elapse without a remedy? It must then be that they were not late, if the masters of to-day in Ottawa look placidly on the running out of months and years without raising a finger, even if they claim, however, that-they do not jeopardize the interests of Quebec.
How can one explain the somnolence of the present Government in the face of so disastrous a situation obtaining in our city, if it is not that this apathy is voluntary; and then for what object? Is it to make out of Quebec a secondary terminal which will receive but a small share of the western traffic, or even have to be satisfied with local traffic only? Numerous facts authorize us to conclude so; the most serious and the most peremptory is the scamping of the Transcontinental between Cochrane and Quebec, a scamping which, if not remedied at once, will necessarily reduce that part of the line to a purely local railroad between the two cities. Yes, in the face of the change in grades we must conclude that our lot will result in costly and almost useless buildings that will have served to lead us astray and to meduse us during the time required to plot our ruin and destroy our supreme hope.
In 1903, the Laurier Government had the construction of the Transcontinental voted by Parliament; the contracts stipulated that the western division from Winnipeg to Prince Rupert would be built by the Grand Trunk Pacific Company and the eastern section from Winnipeg to Moncton by Canada. This latter section was to be then operated by the company in consideration of a rent of three per cent of the cost of that eastern section, the lease being for fifty years. It was also decided to at once organize a perfect line able to give- the greatest hauling capacity and the greatest operating facilities that modern civil engineering could produce. And why? Because the progress of the West was so rapid that it would give to that new line at its very inception the full quantity of freight that it would be able to haul.
It is then evident that the most important point was to secure the greatest possible uniformity of level on the whole line. In order to realize this, the engineers fixed the maximum of eastward grades to four-tenths of one per cent or twenty-one feet per mile of rail, and the westward grades to five-tenths of one per cent, or twenty-six feet per mile; and subsequently they brought the latter to six-tenths of one per cent, or thirty-one feet per mile; but it must be remarked that these grades were only to be used where it would be impossible to avoid them, the constant preoccupation being to build a road of uniform level wherever it was feasible.
Such were the instructions given by the chief engineers to their assistants and upon which the line was organized up to 1911.
Owing to these measures, a locomotive could haul at least double the freight weight that she could have hauled on the other lines then existing in Canada and even in the Americas. The highest authorities have given their opinion on that point. Thus Mr. Elliott Cooper, president of the Civil Engineers Institute, of London, wrote on November 5th, 1912, speaking of these twenty-one feet per mile grades as follows:
On the Grand Trunk Pacific, the standard 2,000 ton freight train can be hauled without assistance from Winnipeg to Prince Arthur by a locomotive, the hauling power of this locomotive thus being four times above that of the Great Northern, Northern Pacific and Union Pacific locomotives, and five times superior to those of the Sante Fe, and seven times superior to those of the Canadian Pacific.
Mr. Leonard, speaking on the same subject at a banquet tendered to him upon his appointment to the Construction Commission, expressed an opinion similar to that of Cooper:
It is not easy to say what the completion of that [DOT] line to Moncton will cost; but most *of the works are under construction, apart from 400 or 500 miles between Cochrane and Quebec. The Quebec bridge which, when finished, will be the greatest in the world, will absorb 48,000 tons of steel, and its construction will take five or six years. Eastward, our line has a 0:4 grade, and a locomotive can haul 1,600 tons, whereas on other roads where there is a 1:0 p.c. grade locomotives can only haul 800 tons.
I can quote on the same question the opinion of Mr. Macpherson, to-day Mr. Leonard's assistant, and previously assistant to the chief engineer of the building commission. On June the 2nd, 1909, he spoke before the British Association for the Progress of Science and said:
The distance of the Transcontinental road will be 1,351 miles from Winnipeg to Quebec and as the maximum of the grade for eastbound trains is 21.12 feet per mile, with allowance for curving, tbe most powerful engine built to-day, the Mallet Articulated Compound, of which an excellent description is given in tbe Railway Age Gazette of April 30, 1909, can haul a dead weight of 4,200 tons behind the tender on that grade. .
Assuming that the tare is 33J p. 100 per ton, the net paying load would be 2,860 tons, averaging 95,333 bushels of wheat for each train. Supposing the profits of that train to be $4.40 per mile of train, exactly double that of tbe profits realized by the Canadian Pacific on every mile of freight train in 1908, it is seen that the cost per bushel for the whole distance of 1,351 miles between Winnipeg and Quebec, is $4.25. The lowest cost prevailing to the knowledge of the writer from Fort William to Montreal, by way of the lakes, canals and St. Lawrence river, on a distance of 1,216 miles, would equalize 4 :44 cents for 1,350 miles, so that at $4.40 per mile of train, the locomotives above mentioned could haul grain eastward on the Transcontinental, from Winnipeg to Quebec, for 0:19 cents per bushel less than the cheapest water route could carry on the same distance, and at 10 :86 cents a bushel cheaper than the present rail and water route could carry between the two points in question.
Under these conditions, transportation cost for every bushel of wheat was to be reduced by one half of what it has been up to date. Such are the enormous advantages that the Liberal Government wanted to extend to Canada in building this road under the conditions that I have just recalled.
More than any other, the city of Quebec was interested in this uniformity of level. The maximum of those twenty one foot per mile grades had been fixed with the object of assuring the entry of western grain in the harbour. The Liberal government had promised to the people that the road between Winnipeg and Quebec would be built in such a way as to give the St. Lawrence route the greatest possible volume of traffic; this is why it assured, by proper gradients, the greatest hauling power to the locomotives.
But as soon as the present government came to power, they replaced the construction commission by a single man, Mr. R. W. Leonard, one of the first acts of whom was to increase the gradients from twenty one feet to as much as one hundred feet per mile, and he repeated this operation in from fifteen to twenty cases between Cochrane and Quebec; he put in lieu of first grades, some momentum grades that the trains ascend owing to the momentum acquired. This is good if all goes well; but if anything defective occurs in the mechanism when the train reaches the bottom of the grade or when it ascends the slope, the train stops and is moreover in-
of the station site. Who will profit by that? Less the Transcontinental than the Canadian Pacific, the political ally of the present Government. The late Government were to organize at Quebec, for the Transcontinental, for a terminus of the highest class; the Canadian Pacific Railway, properly speaking, have there no facilities for handling freight; by the changes made in gradients, the Transcontinental will be nothing more than a line the volume of traffic of which will be almost equivalent to that of the Canadian Pacific Railway from lake Superior to Quebec; there is no more disproportionate competition for the latter, then. Let us add to this that the Government seek in the offices of the Canadian Pacific Railway the authors and the in-spirers against which we protest.
Owing to these modifications, the Canadian Pacific railway will build a so-called passenger union station for the use of which this Government Will pay a rent above the interest on cost and of which the Canadian Pacific railway will finally be the only beneficiary, passenger traffic on the Transcontinental being necessarily very limited for years to come. Moreover, the Canadian Northern and the Quebec and Lake St. John have their own station and terminal a few hundred feet further off.
The station will be built at the Palais; the Transcontinental have no line reaching thereto. It is proposed to build a tunnel, a work of many millions and of many years and that when western trade would come to us at any moment and that when for two years the Government did not even think of building a station of some kind for freight at the Champlain market.
Will that tunnel ever be built? It is doubtful. In fact, in the correspondence between Messrs. Chamberlain and Leonard, I find a letter from the latter to the former in which are the following words. The letter is dated from Ottawa, May the 13th, 1913. The words aforesaid read as follows:
I agree with you that the immediate construction of a tunnel is not justified by the traffic that we have a right to expect and it might be possible that such a tunnel will not be necessary for two or three years and possibly before the completion of the Quebec bridge so that we do not seek to take that into consideration now.
Do you think that the city council would have agreed to a change in the site of the station if they had known of that letter? I do not believe it. According to the letter, the tunnel would be opened only if the traffic increases sufficiently to justify
the undertaking, but in the meantime the Transcontinental will remain without any access to its station. Anyhow, the estimate of the new terminals do not mention a cent for that tunnel and the plans on which these new estimates are based indicate nothing for a tunnel. We are then compelled to conclude that this tunnel is a project the realization of which is most problematical and that at all events it will be constructed only in a very distant future. In order to abandon the site of the Champlain market, the Government pretended that that space was insufficient. We have on that point the opinion of Messrs. Hoare and Doucet, who declare to the contrary, and in relation to this, their judgment must be worth that of Mr. Leonard. It is also alleged that for the unity of the terminals, the ground in the location of Cap Diamant is not large enough; here again the three engineers appointed by the sub-committee of citizens have stated the contrary and Mr. Leonard being alone against them I see no reason why preference should be given to the latter. Nevertheless the working area in platforms from the market going up towards Lampson and Wolfe's Cove is larger than any other in the city.
The hon. the Postmaster General declared in this House tlat nine-tenths of the population were opposed to the building of the station at Champlain market . I beg to be allowed to contradict him flatly. I live in Quebec, I meet as much and perhaps more than he does, the different classes of the population, and I declare that the majority have accepted the decision of the sub-committee of citizens and acknowledged that the station and the deep water docks were greatly advantageous.
It is said that the city council approve the change of the site of the station. Yes, but if they had known one half of the facts we now have, to-day, I am sure they would have refused to concur; and Mr. Leonard sent this ultimatum to them: accept or else you run the risk of having the same delays you so much deplored, and at the same time, the Canadian Pacific railway said to the same council: give us certain streets of lower St. Roch and St. Sauveur, or else you will not have our grounds to build a *station. One must admit that the Government, the Canadian Pacific railway and Mr. Leonard took good means to attain their object.
Nevertheless, this question of a passenger station is secondary; the only important thing for the time being is the freight
station and the terminals; but I wished to question the correctness of certain declarations made on the scarcity of grounds and about- the objection of the majority of citizens, and according to the report of the. Board of Trade that I read a moment ago, one can see that- the opinion of the citizens is still what it was in 1908.
Thus, for two years the Government, have taken up this secondary question of the union station and set back the only important one, that of the freight terminals; owing to the glaring of that union station, they succeeded in hiding their inaction, in deceiving us, and perhaps, also in dissimulating the objects that we are justified in believing to be contrary to the interests of Quebec.
As to change in site of shops, many observations., that I just now made, apply.
I represent Quebec and it would be far too stupid on my part if I did not look after all that can favour that city; but I deem my fellow-citizens to be too intelligent not to have immediately understood that the shops were destined before long to serve the interests of the road and that the Liberal Government had acted logically in locating them near the line at Cap Rouge, a point where the rolling stock must necessarily pass from one to the other end of the country. However, in my humble opinion, the shops at Cap Rouge, would have, in a better way, promoted Greater Quebec; they were as a rod pinned outside of the limits and in all the immense intermediary highland with limitless horizon, a new residential city would have arisen which, by the natural and inevitable course of things, would have become part of this "city before long. To concentrate all in a small ratio is not the best means of promoting expansion.
However, the Liberal Government have a peremptory reason: it is that they intend to immediately utilize the road along the river and establish terminals at Cap Dia-mant. Their plans did not comprise, for the present at least, any communication via Cap Rouge in the valley of the St. Charles river; it was then impracticable to establish these -shops in that valley.
It is now more opportune than ever to recall these facts and to compare the attitude of the parties on the divers questions of the Transcontinental with regard to Quebec. We thus see that at the beginning of the enterprise, and always since, the Liberal government worked with the competent authorities in order to give the greatest efficiency to the road, serving thereby the
best interests of Quebec, which were to derive therefrom more benefit inasmuch as the line and facilities would be perfected; all partisanship had been banished in the original plans of the building commission. Very different would be the thought of the Conservative party, if we have to judge by the declamations of their newspapers. Not a single day passes but that they number by thousands- and thousands the workmen that will work in that shop, and the millions of dollars that will be derived from it, and as a -conclusion they already claim a victory in all the ridings of the city -and -surroundings. -Chance may help them; but this effervescence would justify us in understanding that there was more in this change than -a pretence to make political capital. _
And, after all, when the public discussed this question, in 1906, it would have been easy for the Liberal party to use it as a partisan exploitation in locating their shops in the city; the government, with reason, refused. It would have been a breach in the adequate plan prepared by the competent authorities as the most advantageous for the unity of the service. And it would be because we have followed this conduct simple, disinterested, patriotic, would I say, that the electors would blame us! Never. The events will give us reason, even before we go to the country.
And there is already a large spot in the picture: the establishments that are erected at St. Malo are by far less important than those that were planned at Cap Rouge; the latter included thirty buildings, those at St. Malo number only fourteen. Moreover, it was intended to build local shops at Wolfe s Cove, covering an area of fifty acres for urgent repairs and to accommodate twelve engines at a time. Furthermore, at a distance of a mile westward of the Champlain station, the road was to be branched and from there twelve parallel lines were to run for one mile forming the freight yards: all that is erased from the new plan. _ According to these facts the change in the site of the shops would rather be an appreciable lot to Quebec. [DOT]
Moreover, a new and essential factor arises to the detriment of our city: the Grand Trunk does not consent to these changes in site of terminal station and shops. Their assent was indispensable under clause 7 of the contract, quoted a moment ago, and that company will be able to rest upon this clause in refusing to take charge of the road with the results aforesaid.
On pages 31 and 32 of the debates of the present session, the Right Hon. the Prime
Topic: THE NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.