Work on the new railway came to a sudden stop on Thursday last. The following despatch from Brantford explains the situation.
Brantford Expositor.—For some unknown reason construction work on the line of the L. E. and N. R. has been temporarily stopped. All along the line the men have been laid off, and at the present time the only gangs employed are those at Lorne bridge.
The office of Johnson Bros., general contractors for the line, was a busy scene this morning. About 35 men were paid off, and this is but a small portion of the firm's employes. All the sub-contractors' gangs have been laid off, and from indications not another bit of work will be done for some time.
At Galt 40 men have been laid off, and between Galt and Brantford 170 men have been given their wages and paid off entirely. Between Brantford and Simcoe there is not a man on a construction gang working. Grant, Campbell and Company and Jackson and Company having laid off every man, totalling at least 170.
J. Johnson, of Johnson Bros., general contractors for the line, is in Toronto, having been there for some time. The local offices of Johnson Bros. claim to have received no orders that the men should be laid off, but this morning paid all off without a murmur on presentation of the proper time checks. Asked why they did so, they stated that they did not know the reason, but the men had proper checks, issued at the camps and so long as there was money in the bank they would be paid off.
That there is trouble between the C. P. R. and L. E. and N. R. is rumored. At Galt a number of C. P. R. engines have been at work drawing ballast over the new line. The C. P. R. men received instructions from their head officials to take the engines off the work and return them to the yards at Galt. The L. E. and N. men, on the other hand, received orders to tear up the rails, and not allow the C. P. R. engines to be taken off. These orders were obeyed. The rails were torn up, and left that way. Then on Wednesday last orders were received to allow the engines to go through, so the rails were laid again, and on Wednesday night the engines were taken back to Galt.
The employes who have been paid off, state that they have not heard why they were laid off. They state there is still a great deal of work to be done on the line between here and Galt, and much between here and simcoe.
Messrs. Lloyd Harris and W. P. Kellett returned to the city this morning. Mr. Kellett was seen by an Expositor reporter, but the latter was referred to Mr. Harris or Mr. Muir for information.
When asked this afternoon why work on the line of the L. E. & N. Railway had been stopped, Mr. John Muir, president of the company, stated that the difficulty was purely of a financial nature and that everything would probably be straightened out within a day or two. He explained that the work had progressed more rapidly than the financiers in Montreal were prepared for, and that it has consequently been found necessary to suspend operations temporarily, adding that the work would be continued within a short time.
Mr. Muir made the further statement that the Lake Erie and Northern Company was still in complete control of the line and that there was no trouble between the L. E. & N. and the C.P.R.
Galt, Nov. 28.—Mayor Scott, of this city, has withheld payment for the $25,000 bonds of the L. E. & N. Railway, which it was agreed by the council would be paid, owing to the fact that conditions on the railway at the present time are in a rather unsettled state. There is no work now going on on the line, and the mayor thinks it wise to hold the money back until something definite as to the future of the railway is forthcoming.
Local C. P. R. engineers had some trouble in getting their engines up here from the line of the Lake Erie, but finally the rails which had been torn up to stop the engines from being taken off the line were replaced and the engines returned to the city. No C. P. R. officials are stationed here, and nothing definite can be ascertained as to the cause of the trouble.
The new M. C. R. freight shed in this place is now completed.