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Sandford Fleming’s Correspondence Respecting the Location of Stations

Instructions to District Engineers and others.

or several reasons it is important that early steps be taken to select the very best positions for the Railway Stations, and that they should be located, and the gradients of the line, and at approaching thereto, finally established before construction be commenced.

In districts fitted for settlement the Government has approved and sanctioned a system of laying out lands adjacent to the line of Railway, which will render public and private road crossings unnecessary, except at Stations.

In these districts it is intended to reseve a sufficient area of land around each station for a Town plot, and to lay it out when required, into lots of suitable size.

Each station will become a centre of traffic for the country around, and in some cases, important towns will undoubtedly spring up. In selecting station sites, attention should therefore, to some extent, be given to the physical features of the adjacent country, so as to afford the greatest facilities for developing the resources and accomodating the business of each locality. The general interests of the railway in directness, good gradients and cost of construction must however, be considered of primary importance.

In prairie and fertile districts, the stations should not be so far apart as to leave an opening for intermediate stations at a future time. All the stations in any way desirable should be located in the first place. It is considered that the average distance between stations should be about eight miles.

In mountain and other districts, where the necessity for stations for traffic purposes will not be great, sidings where trains may cross, or engines may wood and water, will nevertheless be required—points for this purpose may be selected about every ten miles.

The undersigned requests that immediately after a trial location be made and before the gradients are finally adopted, the District and Resident Engineers should proceed to ascertain the most suitable points for stations, reporting to Head Quarters without delay. In this matter the following rules will be observed.

1. Station sites may be considered at minimum and maximum distances apart of six and ten miles respectively.

2. Station should be located on a nearly level portion of the line, if such be practicable. Where the line undulates, a summit is preferable to any other position.

3. It should never be placed, under any circumstances, on a grade steeper that 15 feet per mile.

4. It should not be near the foot of a long steep grade; a minimum distance of half a mile from the foot of the grade should be obtained, if at all practicable.

5. It should be on most suitable ground transversely as well as longitudinally.

6. It should be on a straight line, if at all practicable, so that approaching trains may be seen a long distance off.

7. It should be on ground where the main line and siding would be nearly on the natural surface, so that the quantity of work in grading would be the least possible. No borrowing should be done within the limits of the station ground.

8. The length of the line to which the rules, 3, 5, 6 and 7 are to be applied, should be 2,000 feet, or as near thereto as possible.

9. The station should be at a place where a good supply of water can be had; in hilly districts a gravitation supply should be looked for.

Source: Sanford Fleming, Engineer in Chief