New Brunswick. Commission on Branch Railways.

Abstract: Report of the Commissioners of the Branch Railways in New Brunswick, 1908

In 1907 there were just over 300 miles of branch railways in New Brunswick. This Commission, which was overseen by T.M. Burns and Gillmour Brown, was not an investigation of specific charges, as most of the early commissions of enquiry were. Rather, it was largely a description of the workings of the branch railway system of New Brunswick.

The bulk of the Report is a detailed examination of the nine feeder railways: Caraquet & Gulf Shore, Kent Northern, Beersville, Buctouche & Moncton, N.B. & P.E.I., Salisbury to Harvey, Elgin & Havelock, St. Martin's, and York & Carleton.

For each railway, Burns and Brown catalogued a number of descriptive categories: location, history, alignment, gradient, right of way, rails, ballast, ditching, culverts, bridges, station buildings, rolling stock, and a range of statistical and financial information. Thus, the report was a comprehensive picture of the branch railway seven years into the new century.

Though the report was largely descriptive, the Commissioners did have some general recommendations. For the most part, the Commissioners appeared to have given the branch railway system a positive review. They reported that both passenger and freight traffic were up considerably between 1901 and 1906, as were revenues and profit. They also reported that the track was in good condition, as were the locomotives.

Nonetheless, Burns and Brown had some criticisms for the branch system. They reported that all but the Kent Northern were ill-equipped to handle heavy snow. They also reported that in general the railways were in need of superior ballast and better ties. On a more ominous note, they warned that the wooden bridges on branch lines were in need of repair and preferably replacement "if regard is to be had to safety of life and limb."

h.c.

Commissioners:
T. M. Burns
Gilmour Brown.

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Bibliographic Information

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