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Canadian Railroads > What if Charles Melville Hays Survived?


Date: 01/08/19 17:26
What if Charles Melville Hays Survived?
Author: Northern

How would Canadian railroads be different if Charles Melville Hays did not pass away on the Titanic?  Hays was working to bring profitability to the Grand Trunk and believed that the system needed to be a transcontinental railway to achieve that goal.  This led to the effort to merge with the Canadian Northern, however, they said no.  Hays then began the construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific with help from the government.  The railroad was also laying the ground work for the building of the Southern New England Railway and was considering extending the Grand Trunk Western from Chicago to Winnipeg.  Could all or a portion of these efforts make the overall Grand Trunk system more competitive with the Canadian Pacific, or did they lay contribute to the company's bankruptcy?  What else could have been done to make the Grand Trunk profitable?  Should Hays consider the GTP as an extension to CNoR's line from Edmonton to Prince Rupert and build another section of the GTP from North Bay to Winnipeg with a haulage agreement with CNoR between Winnipeg and Edmonton?  How about the proposal to extend the GTW?  If the overall Grand Trunk system turned profitable, could the Canadian National consist of the Canadian Northern, National Transcontinental Railway, the Intercolonial Railway and the Prince Edward Island Railway without any elements of the Grand Trunk?



Date: 01/10/19 05:54
Re: What if Charles Melville Hays Survived?
Author: rob_l

I think Hays made a fatal deal with the government (the GTP/NTR deal). Grand Trunk defaulted on the massive debt to build the GTP to government standards and it reneged on its requirement to take over the NTR. Once the deal was made, Hays could not have avoided that outcome. Not even Superman could have avoided that outcome. Hays may have been a very good railroad manager but that deal brought down the company.

Best regards,

Rob L.



Date: 01/10/19 08:10
Re: What if Charles Melville Hays Survived?
Author: ts1457

Don't know much about (Canadian railroad) history.

Interesting what if, though.



Date: 01/10/19 09:05
Re: What if Charles Melville Hays Survived?
Author: Lackawanna484

Did the requirement that Hays build to government standards differ from the requirements placed on CP 25 years earlier?

Posted from Android



Date: 01/10/19 13:02
Re: What if Charles Melville Hays Survived?
Author: eminence_grise

The Grand Trunk Railway of Canada was a London UK based corporation dating back to the 1850's.

Although the GTR allowed Montreal, Toronto and many other eastern Canadian cities to develop and prosper, the corporation itself was not very profitable. The GTR absorbed two competing rail lines in Ontario, which helped the bottom line.

The GTR was heavily promoted in the UK , however the Board of Directors in London made the decision to employ an American rail executive based in a new operational headquarters in Montreal.

C.M.Hays bought the GTR close to prosperity by double tracking and building new yards and facilities, and was encouraged by the Board of Directors to suggest further improvements.

Hays felt that having to pay the CPR high freight rates at the interchange point of North Bay ON meant that the GTR would never be profitable
untl they broke  CP's monopoly on western traffic.

At the time of the planned expansion, the CNor was still a western based railway

So it was that the GTR felt compelled to "Go big or go home"  . The first years of the 1900's were a very prosperous and optimistic time in Canada and North America as a whole. The CPR had proven profitable from the outset of operation and until 1910, the CNor seemed to be making a go of it financially on a shoestring.

All of the Canadian transcons were land grant railways, and the sale of land to settlers and the pre-WW1 migrations from Europe
helped the bottom line. However, as CNor had deveoped a network of branch lines and secondary mains before completing the main line east and west, when the GTP sought to build branches on the prairies, often the CPR and CNor had already claimed the valuable land grants.

Both the NTR and the GTP were heavily engineered. CP had the advantage of building along the divide between the Missouri and Saskatchewan River drainages, meaning CP avoided many river crossings, and CNor was built cheaply, so they found ways around the big river valleys.
GTP built many big bridges and embankments.

Hays was the victim of the over optimistic pre-WW1 years. I think by the time Hays was lost on the "Titanic", the GTR and the GTP were doomed finacially.

It should be remembered that the creation of the CN came about gradually. The first component to fail was the Intercolonial, which like the GTR fulfilled a purpose in nation building, but never prospered. The Canadian Government Railway was formed to operate the ICR, the CNor which failed in 1916, and to operate the NTR which was already Government owned.

The Canadian Northern System was in fact a number of differently chartered railways, and the shareholders were a number of banks, businesses and individuals. Should CNor simply have been declared insolvent, several Canadian banks would have failed and many shareholders would have lost great amounts of money. The solution was for the Canadian Government to purchase the CNor shares at a fair price.

This didn't happen with the GTR and GTP because they were UK owned. The GTR struggled on until 1922, when it was combined with the other components to become the CNR.

So it was that there were GTR CEO's after Hays who tried to keep the railway solvent.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/19 18:20 by eminence_grise.



Date: 01/10/19 14:31
Re: What if Charles Melville Hays Survived?
Author: rob_l

Lackawanna484 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Did the requirement that Hays build to government
> standards differ from the requirements placed on
> CP 25 years earlier?
>

GTP was required to have no gradient greater than 1%. I think it was intended for NTR to observe the same requirement but actually the NTR was built with 1.1% grades.

Best regards,

Rob L.



Date: 01/10/19 15:54
Re: What if Charles Melville Hays Survived?
Author: Lackawanna484

rob_l Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Lackawanna484 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Did the requirement that Hays build to
> government
> > standards differ from the requirements placed
> on
> > CP 25 years earlier?
> >
>
> GTP was required to have no gradient greater than
> 1%. I think it was intended for NTR to observe the
> same requirement but actually the NTR was built
> with 1.1% grades.
>
> Best regards,
>
> Rob L.

Thanks.

Posted from Android



Date: 01/10/19 18:47
Re: What if Charles Melville Hays Survived?
Author: Northern

eminence_grise Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> Hays felt that having to pay the CPR high freight
> rates at the interchange point of North Bay ON
> meant that the GTR would never be profitable
> untl they broke  CP's monopoly on western
> traffic.
>
Did Hays and the GTR ever consider constructing a connecting line from North Bay to the CNoR in Winnipeg, separate from the GTP effort, that would end the payments to the CP and achieve a longer haul for their westbound freight?  The construction of this line could provide motivation to the CNoR to focus more on its western network of lines and not undergo the building of anything to the east of the Great Lakes. 



Date: 01/11/19 12:48
Re: What if Charles Melville Hays Survived?
Author: eminence_grise

Northern Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> eminence_grise Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
What did happened was in late GTR days, or perhaps early Canadian Government Railway , the GTR traffic from Toronto was interchanged
to the T&NO (Ontario Northland) at North Bay , and north to Cochrane, and then west on the NTR to the end to end interchange with the GTP at Superior Junction just east of Sioux Lookout.

At Superior Junction, the GTP built a secondary route to Port Arthur (Thunder Bay).

The GTR/GTP transcon passenger train ran via the GTR/ONR/NTR/GTP routing for several years, as did the CN Continental Limited for several years. Henry Thornton of the CN built the Longlac Cutoff, which connected the former CNor main line at Longlac to the NTR at Nakina, and most freight and passenger traffic was diverted over it.





> -----
> >
> > Hays felt that having to pay the CPR high
> freight
> > rates at the interchange point of North Bay ON
> > meant that the GTR would never be profitable
> > untl they broke  CP's monopoly on western
> > traffic.
> >
> Did Hays and the GTR ever consider constructing a
> connecting line from North Bay to the CNoR in
> Winnipeg, separate from the GTP effort, that would
> end the payments to the CP and achieve a longer
> haul for their westbound freight?  The
> construction of this line could provide motivation
> to the CNoR to focus more on its western network
> of lines and not undergo the building of anything
> to the east of the Great Lakes. 



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