Chapter 7


Page 7

There was further talk about grades and the height of a trestle at Seventh Avenue, which Mr. Palmer said was too low to enable a man on a freight car to pass underneath it.

Mr. Cuvellier called attention to the fact that the tracks of the company at Thirteenth Avenue would compel hundreds of people who reside there to cross them before reaching the tracks of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company. He thought the former tracks should be elevated.

Bartnett said that would deprive them of patronage.

Cuvellier said there were thousands of people who rode on elevated roads in New York. Besides the Southern Pacific had been the first on the ground and should not be discriminated against.

Mr. Dornin said he did not like the deal on Third Street.

Mr. Schaffer wanted to know the height of a box car with a man on top of it as also whether such man could pass under the Seventh Avenue trestle without danger.

Mr. Palmer said he could not pass without endangering his life.

Mr. Dornin said he would like Mr.Bartnett to tell him how many switches would go down on Third Street.

Mr. Bartnett said that that would depend on the business which spring up all along the line.

Mr. Dornin then said he would like to be informed as to what was the financial standing of the company. The assistance it expected to receive, the amount to be invested in Oakland, the time of beginning, the members of the company and the time of the completion of the road.

Mr. Bartnett said it would not be advisable to answer all these questions.

Mr. Dornin said that Bartnett expected him to vote away the property rights of residents of the city when he (Bartnett) was unwilling to tell to whom these privileges were to be given.

Mr. Bartnett said he would confer with Mr. Dornin and give him some information on the subject.

Mr. Schaffer said that if that information was to be given to Dornin he did not see why it should not be given to him. Why it wouldn't be good for the Council to get it.

A short time before midnight, the committee, after listening to the sometimes lengthy protests against and pleas for the proposed franchise referred the matter back to the Council which would in turn refer it to the Committee of the Whole for consideration at a later date.

The Council then met again on October 18 to consider the application for the franchise through the city along Third Street to the harbor front.

It was an open secret that it was really a preliminary step for making Oakland the terminus of another transcontinental line.

The Oakland Board of Trade warmly endorsed the franchise, and the only grounds of objection thus far urged related to the grades and the crossings of the tracks of the Southern Pacific and the spur tracks leading to the Adams wharf.

The company objected to the conditions which the Southern Pacific desired attached to the franchise, claiming that they were unreasonable, and would have the effect of placing the new line at a disadvantage in competing for local traffic.

Each Councilman had on his desk a copy of the resolutions adopted by the Board of Trade endorsing the application.

Councilman Cadman was called to the chair, Ruch was not present.

Bishop said Oakland was in favor of railroads. This left only two questions to be considered. First, is this a genuine enterprise: second, as to how the grade crossings shall be regulated. I suggest that the hearing be confined to these two points," he said.

A protest signed by several property owners on Third street, objecting to the running of freight trains on that street, was read.

City Attorney Turner presented a report in accordance with the request of the Council dealing with the engineering features of the proposed franchises, which was read at the suggestion of George W. Reed, who appeared for the applicants.

His conclusions were generally in favor of the franchise.

In support of his conclusions, he cited the dimensions of several tunnels recently run on some of the great trunk railways. He said an elevation twenty-five feet above the city grade was arnple at the Seventh Avenue crossing, and sixteen feet was sufficient at the Twelfth avenue crossing.

He also recommended an interlocking system at the Webster street crossing. Attached to the report were tables of comparative figures, showing the rules established in other similar cases.

Cuvellier objected to the reading of these tables, saying it was a waste of time as no one remembered the figures read half a minute before.

Mr. Turner incorporated in his report a quotation from a railway authority recommending interlocking systems at all crossings, the cost of maintenance being equally shared by both roads.

"I understood that the parties interested on both sides of this controversy were to confer with each other," said Schaffer, "If they have done so, I would like to hear the result."

A. A. Moore, attorney for the Southern Pacific, said the proposed conference had not taken place. He said there had been no time.

"In the absence of any understanding between the companies, it looks like a waste of time for us to sit here listening to flowering speeches and the reading of engineering reports," said Schaffer. "I am willing to stay here all night if it will do any good, but I think we would save time by adjourning and letting the companies get together and come to an understanding."

"Before you make a motion to adjourn I would like Colonel Bendel to be given an opportunity to present a communication on this subject," said Cuvellier.

"I would like to say a few words," said Walter J. Bartnett, president of the new railroad. "I will speak after Colonel Bendel or say what I have to say now."

"We will hear you now," said Chairman Cadman.

Mr. Bartnett proceeded to say that his company was prepared to comply with certain requirements in crossing the Southern Pacific tracks if the Southern Pacific would withdraw opposition to the right of way across that corporation's territory in East Oakland.

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