Records of the Board of Railway Commissioners [textual record]
Record Information – Brief
Records of the Board of Railway Commissioners [textual record]
- Hierarchical level:
- R11250-2-4-E, RG1-E6
- Type of material:
- Textual material
- Found in:
- Archives / Collections and Fonds
- Item ID number:
- Link to this page:
This link identifies the web page describing this particular record. Unlike the temporary link in your browser, this link will allow you to access, and reference, this page in the future. To link to this descriptive record, copy and paste the URL where ever needed (wiki, blog, document).http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.redirect?app=fonandcol&id=205287&lang=eng
- Context of this record:
Record Information – Details
- Place of creation:
- 60 cm of textual records.
- Language of material:
- Scope and content:
Series consists of minutes, correspondence, reports and related documents accumulated by the Board of Railway Commissioners, 1851-1865. The minutes of the Board, 1851-1857 (vol. 2) are supported by files of submissions to the Board, 1851-1865 (vols. 7-10) which are themselves listed in a register of letters received by the Board, 1851-1858 (vol. 1) and a register of Orders-in-Council received by the Board, 1851-1857 (vol. 4). Entry books were kept to record both the reports issued by the Board to the Governor in Council (vol. 3) and correspondence sent out, 1851-1861 (vols. 5-6). Other records include draft minutes of the Board, 1851-1857 (vol. 7) and drafts of letters sent, 1851-1852 (vol. 7).
- Biography/Administrative history:
Canada. Board of Railway Commissioners : The first Canadian legislation dealing with railways in general rather than with individual corporations was the 1851 Railway Clauses Consolidation Act of the Province of Canada (14-15 Vict. c. 51), which delineated the status, rights, and responsibilities of railways. This Act did not establish any government regulatory body to deal with railways. In the same year the Main Trunk Line Act (14-15 Vict. c. 73), which dealt with the construction of a railway across the province, was passed. This railway was to emerge as the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada. As the government was heavily involved in this project, a Board of Railway Commissioners was created under this Act consisting of the Receiver General, the Inspector General, the Postmaster General, and the Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner of Public Works. This Board was intended "to better insure the attainment of the objects ...in this act". Its activities mainly involved the selection of participating companies, the authorization of contracts, guarantees, and subsidies, and the approval of completed construction. The Board had no authority over other railways. The Accidents on Railways Act (20 Vict. c. 12) of 1857 was the first Canadian legislation to recognize the government's responsibility to guard the interests of the general public by establishing standards for railway construction and operation. Under this Act, the existing Board of Railway Commissioners created under the Main Trunk Line Act of 1851 was now given the power, should inspectors appointed by the Governor in Council report that certain standards had not been met, to forbid the opening or operation of railway lines, to compel railways to construct proper overpasses, underpasses, and level crossings, to require railways to adopt adequate safety devices, and in general, to ensure the safe operation of the railways. The Board was empowered to modify the recommendation of an inspector. The first Inspector of Railways, Samuel Keefer, was appointed in 1857, and his office was part of the Board of Works. His relationship with the Board of Railway Commissioners was to report and to make recommendations. There was no administrative link between the Inspector and the Board; however, the Act did convert the ad hoc Board into a permanent body primarily responsible for railway standards and safety. The first legislative recognition of railways by the Dominion of Canada was the passage of the Railway Act of 1868 (31 Vict. c. 68). While much of this Act was an updating of the Railway Clauses Consolidation Act of 1851, 25 of the 84 sections dealt with the establishment and duties of the Railway Committee of the Privy Council. The Committee was vested with all rights and powers of the previous Board of Railway Commissioners of the Province of Canada. RG46 General Inventory
- Finding aid:
Textual records (Paper) The CAB RG 1 Shelf List (see RG 1, E6 section) is a typed volume-level description which provides volume content description, inclusive dates, page numbers, and corresponding microfilm reel numbers. The Shelf list also includes instructions on how to locate submissions using the contemporary registers, how to locate reports of the Board, and how to locate replies to submissions. CAB RG 1 Shelf List (90: Open)Textual records (Paper) Registers of correspondence in volume 1 and of orders-in-council in volume 4 give access to the submissions in volumes 7-10. The chronological arrangement of the other volumes facilitates access. A description of the relevant finding aids was included as a preface to each reel of the microfilm. This finding aid is also available on microfilm. (90: Open)(Electronic) All or some of the documents described have been digitized and are available at the following address: (90: Open)
http://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_mikan_205287(Electronic) Les documents décrits ont été complètement ou en partie numérisés et sont disponibles à l'adresse suivante : (90: Open)
- Additional information:
- Arrangement note:
- The records found today in vols. 7-10 are not described in the 1953 published RG 1 Inventory. It is understood that the records were part of the transfer in 1907 from the Privy Council Office, and so it is presumed that they were in National Archives custody and transferred into RG 1 from elsewhere some time after 1953. The relationship between the dockets #1-340 found in vols. 7-10 and the register of letters received (vol. 1) is clear since that register records incoming submissions numbered 1-340. What is odd is the appearance in vol. 10 of scattered dockets bearing dates 1862-1865. The whereabouts of a register that corresponds to those dockets is unknown.
- Citation/reference note:
- Suggestions on proper citation style for the records in this series are provided in the CAB RG 1 Shelf List (see RG 1, E6 section).
- Availability of other formats note:
- The records in this series are available on microfilm. Microfilming of the records was completed in 1983. Microfilmed copies are available on reels H-1401 to H-1402. For lists correlating volume numbers with microfilm reel numbers, see the finding aids cited elsewhere within this descriptive entry.
- Related material:
Records of the Board of Railway Commissioners, exclusively from the period of the Board's activity which post-dates the 1857 legislation changes, is found in the Board of Railway Commissioners (Province of Canada) series in the Canadian Transport Commission fonds (R164, formerly RG 46). Included there are minutes of proceedings and decisions as well as indexes to those minutes. Those records are closely linked, in terms of business process, with the records in the present series. Many of the maps which were associated with the submissions have been detached and should be sought in the railway maps collection of the Cartographic and Architectural Archives Section, Government Records Branch. Many of the submissions were forwarded from the Provincial Secretaries' Offices to the Board. The indexes and registers for RG 4 (Records of the Civil and Provincial Secretaries, Quebec, Lower Canada and Canada East), series C1, and RG 5 (Records of the Civil and Provincial Secretaries, Upper Canada and Canada West), series C1 can be used to trace files forwarded and returned. The state minute books (State Minute Books of the Executive Council series, elsewhere within this fonds), put by submissions ("Put By" Submissions to the Executive Council series, elsewhere within this fonds), and the orders-in-council (Orders-in-Council of the Executive Council series, elsewhere within this fonds) are also closely related to the present series. Relationships to records in the State Submissions to the Executive Council series, elsewhere within this fonds, also merit investigation.
- Former archival reference no.:
Ordering and Viewing Options
- Conditions of access:
In order to protect the fragile nature of the originals, the records in this series have been microfilmed and the originals withdrawn from circulation. The microfilm must be used for consultation and copying rather than the originals.
- Date modified: