Chapter 7


Page 5

Referring to the coal line of the San Francisco and San Joaquin Company from Stockton to Tesla, Mr. Palmer said that the Southern Pacific had an agreement with it at several places in the San Joaquin Valley by which the coal road was obligated to maintain serviceable and modern signals at crossings. However, with only one train a day on the coal road, there was not much danger of collision, and the agreement had not been insisted on, but it was nevertheless in existence.

"The Tesla road," he continued, "has been offered time and again for sale to the Southern Pacific. But the Southern Pacific didn't want it. It has been offered often to the Santa Fe. But they don't want it either."

Tesla, he declared was as high as Altamont, the highest place in the county, and, before a line could be built there would have to be a big tunnel cut through the hills.

"It has been said," continued Mr. Palmer, "that this road will run near places not now having the benefits of railroads—that it will run to Dublin and thereabouts. Well, haven't they railroad accommodations there? Our line runs through the Livermore Valley and I have not heard that the people feel that they are not being served.

"We have a line to San Ramon. That serves the people there. We have a right of way purchased from San Ramon to Pleasanton and the road will be built on it as soon as the trade demand warrants it. I don't see that the people are suffering. If those people should see fit to sell their franchise, we should still be at the mercy of those who got it."

"In any event," said Mr. Moore, "you would be the suffering party."

"Yes," was the reply.

"How close to your road do they run at Seventh and Eighth avenues?"

"Within 30 feet."

"If a trestle should be built for the track, you would not object to the franchise?"

"Not if it safeguarded our road and patrons."

Mr. Palmer then presented to the Councilmen blue prints showing the right of way asked by the new company, its paralleling of the tracks of the Southern Pacific, its crossing of the tracks of the same company and finally, its termination on the western line of Union Street. These maps showed also the grade at which the new road was to run across thoroughfares in East Oakland as also the grade at which the new line should run so as to in no wise interfere with the patrons or the business of the Southern Pacific Company. These maps Mr. Palmer explained in detail.

They were not numerous enough however, and, at the request of Councilman Cuvellier, Mr. Palmer promised to furnish a set of the maps to each Councilman, the City Attorney and the Mayor. They showed, according to Mr. Palmer, that the grade of the new line would interfere with the patronage of the Southern Pacific Company, that the line would close up certain avenues which were opened and that at overhead crossings, the height over all was not sufficient to enable a man on a freight car to pass under without endangering his life.

Mr. Palmer then said he would like to ask City Attorney Johnson who was present whether he did not think that it was possible for the council to pass an ordinance which would establish the grade at which the new road would cross streets of the city and parallel and cross the tracks of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company.

Before Mr. Johnson could answer the question, President Bartnett said he would, before the City Attorney should give an opinion on the subject, like to have the side of the petitioner be heard.

Mr. Johnson, however, replied that he would not be willing, under any circumstances to pass offhand on questions of so much importance as were involved in the subject under consideration.

Edson F. Adams said that he represented the California Development Company and the Adams' wharves situated on the water front. The company he represented did a big business on the water front and on its property there were a number of tracks for the facilitation of that business. More tracks were to be built up as far as Sixth Street an order had been placed for that purpose. The applicant for the proposed franchise proposed to cross the tracks in question at Third street. The speaker had had a talk with the gentlemen who were seeking the franchise, but could get no satisfactory answer as to what was going to be done at that crossing. "I got," continued Mr. Adams, "What is commonly called the 'glad hand.' "That he continued was not business. The new company proposed to pull out a right of way forty feet wide. Such a width was ample for a double track. What was required and desired was the placing of flagmen at the intersection and the use of a modern signal device which would be the means of preventing accidents.

"We have expended," continued Mr. Adams, "a great deal of money for the improvement of the property. We have forty acres there and we have a number of spurs on them and it is only fair that we should be treated properly by the new company."

He knew he said that they would say the general State law provided how railroad crossings should be made, but he could not expect the Southern Pacific Company in this instance to go to the expense of providing the safeguard required by the coming of the new road. They expected to lease more property for commercial and manufacturing purposes further up and already there was a box factory there in course of operation.

Mr. Wallace asked if there was any objection to crossing at grade at the intersection mentioned and Mr. Adams said that there was none.

A resident of Third Street named J. Golden said: "I represent a number of property holders on Third Street. When the agents of this new company made application for right of way to the people of that street, they said they wanted that right of way for the running of passenger trains. The people now understand that they want to run freight cars. I notice now that they ask not only a right of way, but the entire street. That is not what was represented when the canvass was made. The people want time. They want to know if they have time to protest. If the right of way is given to this company along Third Street it will be impossible to live on that street.

The people would like to know whether the street is to be used for a passenger service or whether it is to be used as a freight yard. A width of 50 feet would give them room enough for four tracks. Before a train could cross the Southern Pacific tracks at Webster Street it would take fifteen minutes to get a signal. During that time the streets for four blocks would be blocked with trains. The people want to have time to protest against the use of that street as a freight yard."

Mr. Wallace asked if the new company would require more tracks or more feet of room on Third Street than the Southern Pacific now uses on Seventh Street.

Mr. Golden said that on Seventh Street the Southern Pacific used only twenty-seven feet, and if the new road would use no more than that on Third Street, the residents on the latter thoroughfare would not object.

"This Council," said Councilman Schaffer, "has not come here tonight for the purpose of passing to print an ordinance on this subject. The committee has just assembled for consultation. It does not intend to make any recommendation this evening, but simply to hear both sides of the question. The Council will then deliberate and the people will be informed as to when action will be taken."

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