I submit herewith a diagram, which will serve to explain:
1. I would suggest that the most suitable points for stations, should be selected at convenient distances, say from six to ten miles apart. In selecting these points, care should be taken to have them on level, and as far as practicable, on straight sections of the Railway, or failing this, on easy curves; they should not be near the foot of long steep grades, nor on any grade exceeding fifteen feet to a mile.
The points selected should not be where the Railway is on embankment or in cutting, but where the grading necessary for station purposes, could be done at the least cost.
2. The reservation of land for stations should be on a liberal scale, say 2,000 feet long, (at all events this length in level prairie sections), so as to allow for long trains shunting and standing without interference with the road-crossings, hereafter referred to. The breadth of the station grounds need not be great, except where special provision is required for engine-shops, etc.; 150 to 200 feet on each side of the centre line of the Railway would be ample.
3. A road should be laid out all round the station; it would cross the Railway at two points, 2,000 feet apart; there should be no other road across the station ground, except for foot passengers.
4. Opposite and around each station located as above, a suitable area of land should be reserved for a town plot, laid out and sold as such; behind the town plot, some of the land should be laid out as park lots.
5. I would strongly advise the reduction of crossings, both public road and farm crossings, to the least possible number. Statistics show that a very large percentage of fatal accidents on railways result from road-crossings. In a new country they should be largely reduced, without any inconvenience to the public, and, at the same time, save the cost of making and maintaining them.
In order to effect the desired object, I would suggest that the farm lots between stations should all be laid out with their rear ends to the Railway line, as shown in the sketch; that a road allowance should be made on the ends farthest from the Railway, and that there should be no allowance for roads between any of the farm lots. This would render farm crossings entirely unnecessary, and it would throw the public road-crossings at the stations only, at which points there is always least danger, as the trains invariably reduce thier speed when approaching stations.
I have drawn on the accompanying sketch, the strip of land proposed to be reserved on each side of the Railway, one mile in width. This width would probably embrace sufficient area for town plots, park lots, as well as farm lots; in connection with the latter it might be advisable to withold the sale of them, until all the other farm lots in the neighbourhood were taken up, and when offered for sale, special stipulation may be made for the maintenance of the railway fences, the planting of trees, or other provisions to prevent snow-drifts, and also with respect to fires caused by sparks from the locomotive engines.