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Canadian Rail 235 1971

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Canadian Rail 235 1971

1VOM 235
.A.YJG-YJST 1971
There is no question that transportation systems everywhere
Brent what they used to be .• Horse-drlll.wn vehicles have dis appeared
and even ships dont 1.o0k like ships anymore. For a little less
than lOO years, the steel wheel on the steel ~ail -or some equiv­
alent thereof -excercised an absolute monopoly on land transporta­
tion, only to have it finally and entirely demolished b8 the advent
of the rubher tire on asphalt -or some equivalent thereof -early
in the twentieth century.
With just over haLf the century past, the aeroplane -or the
second-gere1ation jet -successfully, carved its own slice of the
transportation pie. And since the airlines were after the long haul
business,the railways suffered while the buses continued to thrive.
And so, the great passenger train robbery unfolded.
The railways were slow to react to this in.vlllsion of what was
once their particular,private pre.serve. The railway observer,having
been thrust into the slough of despond in the depression years of
the 1.930s, anxiousLy endured the crisis years of the 1940s,in an­
ticipation of the rssurgance of the 1950s.
And finally, this resurgance began to flower. Innovations by
the score,from dome cars to turbine trains,not to mention a~lerated
schedu·lss and variegated amenit ies.The railways w.ere fighting back!
But it seemad as though the blight could not b~ cured nor the
trend reversed. Canadian rail passenger service,in spite of all the
valiant eftorts of the protagonists,continued to be an unprofitable
and therefore expendable affair on the year-end balance sheet.
well then, what is to be done?
T.hat is. what this issue of CANADIAN RAIL is all about.
When Mr. R..A .. Linney was asked if he would do one of the summer
71 issues of our magazine, he replied that he would like to do a
think issue on the di1.emma of the Canadian passenger train. In
view of the recent action of the Canadian Transport Commission in
opening Pandoras Box bjy asking for briefs on the rationalization
of the Canadian transcontinental passenger train service,the propo­
s.ition seemed to be sound.
What follows m~ht b;e described as some of the ideas which.
escaped fro.m Pandora s Box.
I hope that you enjoy reading it oAnd I hope that it will force
you to do a llttle thinking about a sub;1ect which will have a pro­
round. efrect on aJ.l our-lives.
S .. ~. Worthen, Ed~tor
A doub~e-headed passenger extra east climbs up the grad~
~tween the upper and lower Spiral TWlJlel.s approaching
Yoho, B .. C. Photo courtesy CP RAIL.
The 1950s reverberated to theories about the future exia­
tence of passenger rail. service. Canadian National was making
moves that indicated the railway would like to forget about
passenger trains a1.tog.ether; Canadian Paci:f.ic, on the other hand~
had just put in an order ffor a. complete. set of stainless steel cars that included the newest feature in their pass.en­
ger service -the dome car. The C.P.R. was also operating a forty
page passenger schedule that included such trains as the Dominion,
the: Alouette, and the Canadian.
And today, the trend has almost completely reversed. Many
people tend to forget that before the Canadian Pacific adopted its
present policy of trying to discontinue the passenger trains that
operate at a defecit, the company made every attempt to attract
the travelling public back to the rails. It wa.s not the simple
concept of If there are no passengers, there will be no trains .
In the 1960s, Canadian National altered its position and
decided to make an all out attempt to attract passengers. They
have bought equipment from various U.S. rai.lroads that include.s
the now famous Hiawatha. or Sceneramlc full length dome cars,
and the Bay observation cars. The C.N.R. has rebuilt the equip­
ment to company standards, and set about to operate a modern and
efficient passenger service.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corpora,tion program The Great
Canadian Train RobberY, te~evised last Spring, tended to illus­
trate what has really happened to the transcontinental train ser­
vice -although that wasnt the expressed purpose of the show.
Ihe Canadian came across as a passenger train to take as a part
of a vacation, rather than as a mode of. transport to get across
the country – a relaxing, comf.ortable way to se.e the Rockies from
the depths of Albert Canyon.
The C.B.C. commentators continually dwe1.t on the question
about the fate of the trave.lhlng public and the citizens who live
in many of the slllall towns that were once station stops along the
route. The answer is, of. course, they drive.
The program also answered the question as to why both the
Canadian and the Super Continental have become such a seasonal
business. V,acations are a summertime habit, and winter travellers
are mostly on the road for bus.1ness reasons. Business is time,
involving necessary speed and short travelling time. Airlines do
of.fer that service.
The demands of such a seasonal service have forced both the
C.N.R. and CP RAIL to operate their transconti.nantal trains at a
defac it, and both have applied to the Canadian Transport Commiss­
ion for perm:ission to discontinue the, service, although the com­
mon feeling is that the. request was more for the 80 per cent
subaldy than anything else. lllie C.L.C. denied permission for both
the requests -as was expected -and has since asked iCl[ briefs
from all interested parties, including the g,eneral public, on a
workable proposal for the f.uture. operation ot a Canadian trans­
continental passenger service.
CF RAIL was allowe.d to raise fares f.or accomodation aboard
the Canadian, and was also given permission to study the effects
of the reduction or complete elimination of. dining car services
on the train. Without dining car servic.e on a transcontinental
passenger service, the railway may as well revert back t.o a
schedule that would include. meal stops. It would also b.e inter­
esting to see how the company would advertise the train if the
sleeping car accomodations were withdrawn as well -another of
the requests that they made at the recent C.T.C. hearings.
It would be an interesting trip -sitting up for three con­
secutive nights, and stopping every four and a half hours to eat.
But when Transportation Minister Don Jami.eson speculated
that a transcontinen·t;al pool service is a possibility, he opened
the door for a. great deal o·f speculation. The biggest question
is: who would gain the right (although it seems as if the rail­
ways tend to look at it more as a misfortune) to operate the
amalgamted service, and over what route.
The Canadian now serves Montreal and Toronto, and passes
through Ottawa, Sudbury, ]hunder Bmt Winnipeg, Brandon, R~ ina,
Moose Jaw, (Calgary, Kamloops, for Vancouver.
The Super Continenta~ leaves from Montreal and Toronto,and
serves Ottawa, Capreol., Sioux Lookout, Winnipeg .. Saskatoon, lli­
monton, Kamloops, and terminates in Vancouver.
Both railways now serve a maJor Rocky Mountain tourist
resort; eN has created Jasper, while CF has watched Banif grow
around their Banff Springs Hotel.
Through the process of elimination of all. duplicate ctiies
the proposed route should maintain service to the following
Montreal -Toronto -Ottawa -Thunder Bay -Winnipeg­
Regina -Saskatoon -Edmonton -Calgary -Banff –
Jasper -Kamloops -terminates in Vancouver.
Either Capreol or Sudbury would have to be eliminated as
the connecting point for the Montreal and Toronto sections.
But a possibility for a pooled transcontinental service
could be as follows;
Train 1; CN, Montreal to Ottawa.
CF RAIL Ottawa west to Sudbury and connection
with Train 2 from Toronto.
Train 2; CF RAIL, Toronto to. Sudbury and connect ian with
Train 1 from Montreal.
Train 1+2; CF RAIL from Sudbury to Thunder Bay, Winnipeg,
Brandon, and Regina.
Train 1; CN, Regina to Saskatoon and west to Edmonto n,
Jasper, and Kamlo.ops.
Train 2; CF RAIL from Regina to Moose Jaw, Medecine Hat,
Ca1g~y, Revelstake, and Kamloops for connect­
ion with T~ain 1, above.
Train 1+2; eN from Kaml.oops through to Vancouver.






Sheuld the decisien he taken to. revise the service fer a
seasenal o.peratien, then perhaps the reute ceuld be alter­
ed as fellews;
Traia 1; CN, Mentreal to. Ottawa.
CP RAIL, Ottawa to. Sudb.ury and co.nnectien with
Train 2 frem Terente.
Train 2; CP RAIL, Terente to. Sudbury and cennect ien
with Train 1, abOve.
Train 1+2; CP RAIL frem Sudbury to. Thunder Bay, Winnipe.g,
and Regina.
CN from Regina to. Saskateen and west to.
Edmenten, Jasper, Kamleeps, and Vanceuver.
Branch line service via CP RAIL to. Calgary, Banff, and
Lake Louise ~rem Edmenten.
The C.N.R. reute was chesen ever the Canadians in censidera­
tien ef. the larger urban populatien en reute; and while it is true
that the pepulatien will net all travel by rail, the petential is
there. The suggestien is designed to. eliminate fir at the dUplicate
cities served, and then to. eliminate the two. train eperatien west
et Regina during the slack winter months. It also. means that prep­
er cennectiens weuld have to. he previded by CP RAIL en the Calgary
to. Edmenten rig,ht-of-way -in terms ef mere than BUDD cars -fer
meets with beth the east and west beund trains.
One preblem with such a cemplex service is the sleeping car
accemedatiens frem cennecting peints such as Halifax, Saint Jehn,
New Brunswick, and coach cennectiens with Quebec City and Chicago..
Making such a system werk weuld invelve a great deal ef effert
frem both the r·ailways, as well as an henest attempt to. previde
the ijlest effici.ent service poasible under the ecenemic cendit iens
created by the sleeping and dining car accemedatiens and services.
That ceeperatien a1se includes giving the train right-of-way
prierity en the main line to. create a reasenably tight schedule.
AlSo. essential fer the service weuld Ue an arrangement where
passengers would net be required to. change cars if they were
leaving TerenL 0. fer Jasper; the same is true if a passenger Qe1ard­
ed the train in Mentreal fer Banff. At least ene sleeping car
would have to. be reserved fer Nerth Reute p·assengers en beth
Trains ene and two.; the same is true far· South Route passengers
Clese sup.ervisien ef the use ef equipment weuld also. he essential
s.imilar to. the eperatien recently int.reduced by CP RAIL fer the
eluipment used en the Canadian and Atlantic Limited.
The suggested reute er reutes are net designed to. ferce t,he
transcentinental passenger services into. ene direct reute witheut
considering cennectiens er existing services -an appearant
result ef AMTRAK, the gevernment censelidatien ef passenger ser­
vices in the United States. In fact, AMTRAK eliminated mere
passenger trains when it efficially teek ever en May 1st, 1971,
than the private railreads had eliminated in the past three years.
The hepeful nete is that the erganizatien did go. back to. the
U.S. Co.ngress to. ebtain permissien to. add trains to. their eper­
ating schedule.
Canadian Pacific IS transcentinent al train The Dominien,
photegraphed in the late 1940
s between Lake Leuise and
Banff, Alberta. The Dominien ene ef the. items that
kept passe.nger service alive fer many years -the mail car.
Phetegraph ceurtesy CP RAIL.

The Canadian transcontinental route would simply eliminate
the mi~es of duplicated services, to try and modify the defecit
claimed by both railways on the operation. And that defecit is
a sizeable one.
The privately-owned CP RAIL lost fifteen million dollars
on their coast-to-coast service in ].968. (IN has reported a work­
ing defecit of fourteen million dollars for their transcontin­
ental service in 1969.
Its even difficult to imagine a transcontinental passenger
train breaking ev.en on itts operation with existing operating
union regulations, and the basic cost s of. sleeping and dining
car accomodations and services. Dining car facilities are just
inherantly expensive. Basic meal-service equipment involves an
initial cost of thirty thousand dollars. Add space requirements
for food storage, food preparation -even with airline type
infrared ovens -refrigeration, and staff; they all combine to
Diake even the concept of serving meals uneconomical. But with
the railways loOSing almost twenty million dollars a year in the
continuation of the service, there has to be some way for revis­
The. General Manager of CNs Passeng9r and Services
Department, Alex Olynyk, speculated in an art ic1.e printed in
the Montreal Star earlier this ~ear, that the railway will be
forced to try aeveral innovations in s1.eeping and dining car
serv.ices in the near future, to· help. determine public reaction
to them -and to help eliminate that Large defecH. Those in­
novations could include, a form of. sleeping car accowodation
where the. passenger would be reQuired to make up his own be.d,
with the neces,sary linen supplies coming, fro m a commisary on
the train.
That sounds almost like the colonist cars used in the
ear ly 19.00 s. All the ca·r would need is a coal stove in one end,
and :it could be Ii step back into the pages of history. It was
a~wa;rs the. greatest enjoyne nt to take the train, and be on the
recei:ving end of the service from the crew.
But CN would also like to redesign their equipnent so that
the dining and club car facilities could be operated in units,
with combination dining-aleeping car crews. The problem with
instituting such a service is, o~. course, the unions. CN and
the various Brotherhoods involved would have to come to an
ag~eement berore such a service could ever be introduced. But
it would certainly be a step in the right direction.
Dining and s~eping car accomodations combine to provide
the services essential on any transcontinental run. And if the
run is ever going to appe~ to the travelling publiC, there has
to be a complete service.
And if. such a ~ervice is ever to be developed in some form
clo se to that suggeste.d ear lier, there will have to be a sig­
nifigant amount of government money, and some government leader
ship in the development of the concept. The Department of Tran­
sports Canadian Transportation Commission will have to consider
the feasability of. a pooled 01 c.oncentrated transc.ontinental
rail paasenger service, and after a great deal of relevant in­
vestigation and consideration, come to some deciSion as to who
should operate the train, on what baSiS, and over what route.
Jasper, 1945: the eastbound Continental Limited sits in
the Jasper station awaiting servicing and passengers.
Photograph courtesy of Canadian National Railways.

There are five potential possibil1ties:
CP RAIL could operate the service with a guaranteed
gov.ernment subSidy, and with the cooperation :from
CN on maintenance of the right-of-way and priority
for the train.
C •. N.R. could operate the train, with the same gov­
ernment backing and the same cooperation :from CP
federal government could set up a crown corp­
oration (much like AMTRAK in the United States) to
do the job, with research, advice, and cooperation
:from both the railways.
Or it could be a pool service in every sense of the
word, w~th CP RAIL operating the train over its
right-of-way, and CN doing the same over its track
The last alternative is what CP RAIL asked for at the
recent C.T.C •. hearings – a transcontinental service
that was scheduled on an alternative day basis with
the CN. CP RAIL would operate the Canadian one day,
and CN would operate the Super Continental the next.
But there is bound to be ~ great deal of debate before any
decision is reached.
It seems that the most effective way of operating a trans­
continental passenger train service -froll·an efficient and non
duplicate point of v~ew -would be to give one of the railways
the right of monopoly on the service. A pool operation could
only too easily revert back to the same deteriorated condllion
of mixed service that developed in the early 1960s with the
Montreal to Toronto traffiC; one company could withdraw from
such a joint operation, leaving the other in a position of
monopoly anyway.
Should one company begin the task of setting up the sug­
gested transcontinental train service, it could at least
concentrate on the actual operation of the train, without the
problems of two company confusion or d~1erences.
And a concentrated effort is exactly what the transcontin
ental passenger service needs.
The feeling is that the C.N.R., with all present condit­
ions in prime consideration, would get the service.
Theyre working to earn it.
Jasper,1962; the Super Continental ••••• decked out in the then
!lew lazy worm II image of the C • .N .R., pulls into Jasper en
route to Edmonton.
Photograph courtesy Canadian National Railways.
The. Canadian transportation corri.dor &t~etches from Windsor,
Ontario in the so· to City in the More than
three-quarters of! ail passenger tra,ins operating in Canada are
listed on achedules between these two points. But the. Canadian
transportation ~rridor is more than just a transportation route­
it is alao the principle testing ground for innovations in the
railway industry. 1t is here that the CN TURBO made its first run;
it wil1. &lso be the testing area for the new LRC (Light,Rapid and
CoIDrortable) passenger t~ain.
The major routes within the corridor, in terms ot: passenger
patronage,are as follows;
Montreal -Quebe~ City
Mont~al -Ottawa
Mont~eal -Toronto
!oronto -Windsor
the present time, Canadian National prov.ides service to
all the.s.e cities. CP RAIL not offer passenger service between
!oronto and Montreal, and has also reduced its Quebec City-Montreal
operation to a. return service twice a day. CP RAILJa Montreal to
Ottawa service is an RDC consist, supplemented once a day by the
Luxury of the Canadian.
Short, inter-city runs such as these are greatly affected by
the competition with both the airlire.s and the automobile. The
best example of the possible future competition is STOL -the pro­
p.osed short take-ot.f and landing system tor service between Ottawa
and Montreal. Such a system would mean that a businessman could
fly f~m downtown Montreal to downtown Ottawa, avoiding ground
transportation problems in either of the. two c.ities, and make the
trip within a one hour flight time.
!he railways used to offer that service between the two
cities -without the noise and space that al.ways seems to accompany
every airport. For some reason, the City of Ottawa saw fit to re­
move the ~ailway r-ight-o.f-way :from the city, and build a station
that is as far out of the downtown district and as inconvenient as
the a1rport was to begin with.
The only thing that really saves the Montreal to Ottawa train
service -for the next ten years, anyway -1s an interde.partemen­
tal report that was issued by the City of Montreal earlier this
year. It revealed that the propo sed STOL airport site in Montreal
the Victoria parking lot, originally built for Expo 67 -will not
hold permanent structures for at least another ten years. The lot
was o.r:Lginally built on 1an.d reclaimed from the St. Lawrence River
by dumping garbage as fill, and the land is still settling.
But CP RAIL is facing another di1.emma with the Montreal to
Quebec passenger service. Several. resident groups in the Quebec
capital are demanding that the only access track to the station,
through the lower section o.f the city, be removed in the interest
of urban beautification. That would mean that Quebec City, as far
as CP RAIL is concerned, would be as good as eliminatedo CN does
have the facilities to terminate at Ste. Foy in the west end of
Quebec City. CP RAIL would have to terminate their service at
Anc1.enne Lorette -and that is exactly where the airport is. A
rail.way station that is not within a reasonable distance of the
centre of the city is as inc.onvenient as flying -and flying re­
portedly takes less time.
STOL threatens the one real advantage that inter-c.ity rail
passenger transportation has had over the airlines. That is the
direct ~owntown to downtown service, at a reasonable price, and
within a reasonable time limit. Canadian Nationals Rapido con­
cept certainly proves that the public are still interested in
trav,elling by train -if the railways are interested in ruru1ing
them. The Rap idos to Toronto were reported to be the only trains
on the entire CN system that do not operate at a defecit.
But the C.N .R. -after four long years of trying to pro ve
the viability of the passenger service between the two cities­
will. apply for a federal subsidy to cover 80 per cent of the
losses on the entire Montreal to Windsor operation; but the rail
way is particularly concerned with the Montreal to Toronto ser­
vice. UN has not released the exact amount of the defecit from
the run, but the figure probably does not irk the railway as
much as the prospect of appearing before· the Canadian Transport
Commission with a subsidy application for the service does.
The C.N.R. had inv,ested heavily in both ideas and promotion
to show that the service could be profitable. Now, as one Toron­
to official conceeded, this has not .been the case. And the
very idea that the railway has to app,ly for a subsidy for the
service will come as a disappointment to many, partiG.ularly to
those who have insisted that trains could operate at a profit
in competition with inter-city airline services.
The Montreal -Toronto run had the traf!ic potential of the
countrys two largest Cities, and the ingenious promotion of the
CN to maintain it. Together, itt appeared to be a winning combin­
ation. And now, the CN apparently finds the need to improve its
financiaL backing more important than perpetuating the idea that
train trave.l oetween Montreal and Toronto was paying its own way. Company
officials say that if the 80 per cent government
subsidy is approved, it will permit the company to operate an
even better train service between the two cities..
Canadian National has also b..ecome involved in a great deal
of. experimentation in the development of techniClues to maintain
and improve their corridor traffic. lhe. mainstay of the exper­
imentation is, of course, the TURBO, and the concept of operat­
ing high speed trains on existing tracks through the utilizat~
ion of sophis.ticated suspension ~stems.
But the future of the TURBO itself is still in Cluestion.
After almost five years of on-again-off-again service, CN is in
the process of revaluating the concept of the train, and is ex­
pected to reach a decision on whether or not they will keep the
train, when the contract with United Aircraft expires at the
end of the summer. The
problems of the TURBO characterize the same problems
that have been encountered by the railways in other facits of
future development. If United Aircraft had been given a govern­
ment aubsidy to complete necessary testing on the TURBO in the
Canadian weather conditions before it was put into service,
many of the breakdowns could have been aVOided. It seemed to be
a never-ending process of trial-and-error repairs. The train sets
w.ere taken out of service again in February of this year, after
Canadian National complained about the development of thermal
cracks in the wheels. United Aircraft has since gone shopping
to find wheels. suitable for the TURBO assembly, and is believed
to have found the answer in a low carbon, softer railway wheel
that was developed in Britain.

Uni ted Aircrait has been forced tQ CQver the CQst s .of the and experimentatiQn invQlved each time that the TURBO
was taken .out .of service. Aircraft ~esearch in Canada is almQst
cQmpletely subsidised by the federal gQvernment, but the rail­
ways have .only thus far received piece grants fQr the develQP­
ment .of the LRC -and nQthing intQ the feasability .of sQmething
like the TURBO. TransPQrt Minister Don JamiesQn has annQunced
that his department WQuld like tQ help in the develQpment .of a
8anadian aircraft industry, in cQoperatiQn with De Havilland
and the variQus develQpers .of the STOL prQject. Yet ra.ilways
carry a much higher percentage .of gQQds mQved tQ help the
GrQss NatiQnal PrQduct, and receive less .of the grQss when it
is time tQ distribute financial assistance fQr develQpment prQ­
jects. The c1assic example is, as mentiQned, the TURBO. A prQ­
;teet like STOL, when wQrkable, WQuld be a highly eXPQrtable
item. There are already variatiQns .of the TURBO in service in
the United States, France, and West Germany. Britain is alsQ
develQping a high speed passenger cQncept knQwn as the Advan­
ced Passenger Train de.sign, which they tQQ are anxiQus tQ eXPQrt.
Even if the eN dQes dec.ide tQ cQmpletely abandQn the TURBO,
and United Aircrait takes, the cQncept back tQ the United States,
there is still anQther experimental train .on the drawing bQards.
It is the LRC -Light, Rapid, and CQmfQrtable -being develQped
by a three cQmpany cQnsQrtium. The federal gQvernment has given
the cQnsQrtium financial backing to cQnduct experiments and.
research intQ the c.Qmplete develQpment .of the c.Qncept. M.L. W.
Industries .of MQntreal is dQing all the basic lQcQmQtive design
and assembly; Aluminum ~Qmplany .of Canada (ALCAN) is cQncentrat­
ing .on the structural desi~n .of the cars, and DominiQn FQundry
and Stee.l Company (OOFASCO) Ls building the suspensiQn system.
The LRC is a push-pull train cQncept, much like the TURBO­
and will have diesel units at either end -just as the TURBO
was equipped with turbines at bOth ends. The OOFASCO suspensiQn
system will permit high speeds en banked curves, SQ that the
LRC could be easily .operated .on existing readbeds. The LRC has
.one Large. advantage .over the TURBO; cars can be added .or sub­
tracted within certain limitatiQns, thus prQviding accemodatiQn fer the rai1way directly prQpertiQnal tQ the
traffic requirements.
But aside frQm the. flexi bi1i ty, TURBO has the edge. Eacll
.of. the. turbines f.Qr propulsiQn w.eighs less than .one poUDd
per hQrsepQwer the regular dies.el unit designated fQr
use en the LRC averages l5 PQunds fQr each hQrsepQwer prQduced.
The weight will effect starting speeds tractive effQrt, am
ac~eleratiQn at speed.
Canadian Nat.iQnal has yet to announce t.o put the LRC
intQ service, but the developing consortium has already cenduc­
ted stress tests .on the prototype G:ar, and KLW Industries has
said that the first diesel lQcQmQtive could be ready by the end
.of the yea;r.
One thing to be cQnsidered in the devel.opment .of high speed
passenger service is the CLan~erQus situati.ons that develop
at level crossings. Here, eNs TURBO is pictured at high
speed during the, first seaSQn .of .operati.on.
PhQtQgraph cQurtesy Canadian Nati.onal Railways.


Number of diesel units
Number or turbines
Seven car set s
in tandem
Number of passenger cars 14-
(control) 73 feet
Average length of cars (regular) 56 feet
Number o~ passenger places 600
Weight when
empty 700,000 lhso
(including motive power)
Weight per passenger place 1,130 les.
Total horsepower propulsion 3,200 hp ••
Potential top speed ]20 mph
13 car conven­
t ional consist
85 feet
2,300,000 lbs.
3,600 lbs.
5,400 hp.
90 mph
• The TURBOs turbines weigh less than
one pound per horsepower produced.
A General Motors 16 cyl~der 567 diesel­
electric unit weighs 15 pounds for every
hOrsepower produced for traction effort.
The prototype L.R.C. car under construction at Montreal
Locomotive Works. Both photographs courtesy Forster McGuire
and uompany Limited
TURBO is almost as good as dead and buried. It no longer
has the faith or the crews that work on board, or in the main­
tenance division; and as a result or the record that shows the
TURBO has been out of service more than it has been in, it has
a poor reputation for dependability with the travelling public.
The TURBO has the true distinction of having delayed almost every
train listed on the schedule between Montreal and Toronto. But
the very concept of turbine propulsion, combined with the over­
hung suspension system, is one answer to the search for a vehicle
that could maintain high speeds on existing roadbeds.
It is aLBo interesting to speculate on what the life of the
T.URBO could have been if the government had provided some res­
earch funds into the project. Perhaps the TURBO would still be
in service, enjoying the tremendous recognition it received
during the in:L.t ial weeks of operation; perhap.s a TURBO service
could be expanded to such runs as Montreal -Ottawa, or Quebec –
Montreal. A shorter TURBO, much like that used in the U.S. cor­
ridor at the present time, could possibly fit into the require­
ments for the Edmonton to Calgary service -or at least tighten
rail service as public transportation between the two cities.
But the car still looms as the greatest competitor to the
rail passenger service in the 71~ mile Canadian corridor, and
f.orecasts indicate that the dominance will. continue for at
least another twenty years. It is something that rail proponents
will have to live with; for when the merits of the various
f.orms of transport.ation are compared, the auto still provides
the greatest flexibility, convenience, and low cost benefits.
That is also one of the basic observations listed in the
Canadian Transport Commissions Intercity Passenger Transport
Study, which surveys the needs in the corridor for the next 20
years; it should provide the groundwork for future transportation
plannill6 in the area that contains half of the entire population
of Canada. Yet compared to the other three major intercity rail
corridors in the world, the Windsor to Quebec City section has
the lowest population.
The ratio of population per mile is than one seventh
that of the U.S. northeast corridor between Boston and Washing­
ton; 14,000 persons per linear mile in Canada, compared to
100,000 per linear mi1.e in the U.S. The ratio of. population per
mile in the Japanese Osaka-Tokyo-corridor is 95,000; the ratio
in the British northwest corridor (London to Leeds, Manchester
or Liverpool) is also 100,000 per linear mile.
~anadas relatively low population accounts for the fact
that there has not been the congestion and intercity travel
restraints that other countries have had to face, to cope with
rising traffic demands. But the fact that there are still
problema with rush hour and ·holiday peak traffic indicates the
need for more transportation. planning.
If the dominant mode of intercity travel in the corridor
is still the auto, it is even more the case on a national
representat.ive scale. The C.T.C. study indicates that the
family car account s for 85 per cent of annual travel., versus
11 per cent for the airlines, 13 per cent for railways, and 8
tor ID.US.
In the U.S •. corridor, auto travel accounts for some 68
per cent of annual totals, versus 11 per cent for airlines,
1.3 for the railways, and 8 per cent for the bus. Canadian
figures for the corridor are the 50 per cent by auto; 31 per
cent travel by air, 1.7 per cent travel by rail, and 2 per cent
take the bus. Nationally, only three per cent go by rail, five
per cent go by air, and seven per cent trave 1 by bus.
The figures indicate that rail travel is still in a rel­
atively competitive situation in the Canadian corridor, a
fact that could be explained by the lower population ratio and
the longer distances involved. Road trips can also prove to
b.e a problem under Canadian winter conditions. The other
interesting fact is that air travel is more prevelant in the
Canadian corridor than it is in the U.S.; 31 per cent against
11. per cent.The railways need something like the TURBO that
can compete with the airlines on a scheduled time basis to
b.alance those figures for survival of the passenger service.
From the point of view of the railways, a number of econ­
omic ract s dict ate against a viable passenger service -at
least they do to the research council for the Canadian Trans­
port Commission that made up the in~ercity report.
T.echnical changes and increased income have helped to
streng.then other forms of transportation. The federal govern­
ment has, as previously men~ioned, provided substancial
financial assistance to and air services in the form of
new terminals and expensive highway netwroks. It would be
interesting to speculate on the differences that would show
up in railway spehding procedures if the government adopted the
same policy towards railway stations that it has maintained for
airports across the cou.ntry. The Government of Canada covers a
portion of the cost of construction, operation and maintenance
of every.m&jor airport in the cou.ntry. The airlines can concen­
trate on operation and the maintenance of equipment, and avoid
the complicated procedure of operating terminalso Railways are
required to contend with the operation and maintenance of equip­
ment, shops, stations, and the overall service that they offer
through freight and passenger operation. Perhaps au innovation
sponsored by the government along the lines of passenger service
revisions recently introduced by, CP RAIL for the Brandon subdiv­
ision (and alredy in effect in several other areas throughout
the system) -called Central Customer Service -might put rail
passenger service on a level closer to par with the airlines.
CP RAIL has also applied to institute the same service in the
Montrea1. area, to eliminate the many jobs that are duplicated
between Windsor Station and several other commuter stations along
the lak3ehore. Passengers would he re.quired to contact Windsor
Station for lniormat·ion or reservation services, such as the
passengers travelling from the Brandon subdivision are required
to contact the main office in Brandon.
Another major difference that does give the edge to flying
is that railways are primarily organized to carry freightp for
that is basic source of income. Airline.s were organized
from the start to make money from passenger services; this doe.s
tend to make a difference in the style of operations.
A eN executive, Mr. R.M.Veenis, manger of the southwestern
Ontario area, made that point in another article published by
the Montreal Star. He said that railway critics often forget
that early passenger trains were a form of commu.nication as
much as they were a form of travel..
If we were building the cou.ntry allover again, our fir st
priori ty would probab1y not be a railway. It would more likely
be a nat ional commu.nicat ions link..
lianadian Pacifics train to Quebec l,;ity leaves Windsor Station
heading for Westmount. Photograph courtesy CP RAlL.
He gave the far north as an example of a place where tran­
sportation is important, but where communication services, such
as telephones, comes first in the minds of the developers.
Project.s such as STOL, strong government subsidies to the
airline industry, a..ul the marked bias towards the cOlil.Btruction
of highway,s. have all but killed basic medium-distance intercity
passenger traffic potential for the ra.ilways. Rather than :i.n­
vestiKating the possibilities of improving masa transport at ion
between two pOints, provincial gov.ernments have oftened turned
to the hasty construction of highways. The clasaic examp~e of the
reverse of that trend is GO Transit; but the classic exa.mple of
the thinking the way of. the autoroute is the Province of Q.uebec s
decision to build more road connections to the site of. the new
jetport at Ste. ScholastiClue, rather than investigating the
possibility of developing mass transportat,ion aystems with CN,
who in turn have announced a reconstruct ion progIaJD to build
tracks into the area. A. railway link would at least so~ve most
of the problems associated with ground transportation at every
airport in every City. The train would have the advantage oir a
private right-ot.-way.
And. ailolat in retaliation to this .. lean towards the c.onstruc­
tion of! hig)1ways and federal grants to the airline industry, the
railways hav.e reverted to a trial and see process of introduc­
ing or reducing services on their intercity passenger trai.nB.
Canadian National is in the process of determining ways to
maximize passenger services without dIopping any essential. com­
ponentso One of the more controvers.ial. moves was the discontin-.
uance. o:r meal service on the Montreal to Ottawa run last spring.
There was a reason for the move; the railway was in the prepar­
ation staKes for the introduction of TURBO-stYle eat at your
seat meal service, rather than the convent ional dining car. The,
airline-type meal is not new to CNs conventional trains; it , was
also introduced in 1967 on the TEMPO trains that serve south­
ern Ontario. The service came to the Ottawa operation as of June
lst, when three rebuilt dining cars were placed in service on the
morning and eveni:ng trains. The cars are named after famous clubs
across Canada (Club Richeleu, CJLub at .Denis, and University Club)
and are offcially known as the club-galley cars.
For the passengers who choose not to pay the extra fare for
the service, there are other types of dining facilities on the
train. CN refers to this type of car as their cafe-bar-Iounge,
which includes the familiar 24 seat lounge, and another 20 seat
area that is reserved for passengers who use the cafeteria ser­
vice. The seats are not sold as accomodation to passengers as
they hav.e been in the past.
The three new club cars are part of a 24 car rebuilding
program that was announced by the C.N.R. in the spring; it is
part of the 8.5 million dollar passenger car improvement program
to make t]fflin travelmore acceptable to the public
• CN is aLso
conSidering. ways to make a trim in service on slack days, in an
attempt to operate the train at Ii! lower defecit.
GP RAIL has initiated a program of closer rupervision of
their eCluipment in an attempt to either reduce the defecit of
passenger operation, or prov.e to the Canadian Transport Commis­
sion that the At~tic Limited and the Canadian are indeed a money
loosing proposition. A department has been established in
Mo,ntreal to ensure that both trainB are operating on an eCluipmntlt
to crew to passenger ratio that represents 80 per cent capaCity.
And both companies. have applied for permission to c.ancel.
trains in various districts across Canada that have proven to
be uneconomical to continue. With CN, it involves a total of
fifteen passenger trains; two of theae, involve a total loss of
2.2 million dollars on services within the corridor (Ottawa­
T_oront_o and Ottawa-Brockville). The other applications involve
the_ following runs;
In. Quebec;
Que~ec City; -La Ma1hiaie -Clermont
Quebec (.;ity -Lyster -Richmond
Montreal. -Sherbrooke -Coaticooke
Deux Mont agne s. -Grenville
In. Ontario ~
Ottawa -Brockville-
Ottawa -Toronto
Hearst -Nakina
Hornepayne -Manitouwadge
Sioux Lookout -Thunder Bay Mani.toba
Dsuphin -Winnipegeosis
F1.1n FlDn -Cranberry
Portage -Osborne Lake
The Pas -Lynn Lake.
-Reg.ina -Saskatoon -Prince Albert
Prince AlQ~t -Hudson Bay
Edmonton -North Battleford
Camrose -Calgary
The majo~ity o£ those services are extremelY affected by one
thing; the highway. The use of rail passenger transportation has
dwindled in propo~tion to the rise in the use of the private car,
or bus. Rail service has always been restricted to the use o~
standard equipment -be it conventional train or RDC, acd cannot
present the flexible and reasona~lY fast transportation that the
car can. It is lery difficult to evaluate services. such acs those
ljsted above, where the railway provides a tp~nsuortation link
between two points that are not exactly major urban centres, and
are-re.s.tricted by the lower passenger traffic potential. The short
back woods runs that filled the schedules unti 1 the early 1950 r s
have been displaced from the railways by the rapid developne nt of
highways and other forms of private transportation.
But all the cancallat ions h1g,hlight the Q·ne thing that CN is
trying to do with their passenger services everywherej either
make it attractive and reasonably quick to try and attract passen­
gers to make the service pay its own way, or eliminate it -and
concentrate on those that do have s:upport ~rom the travelling
And CP RAIL is right behind; they re_cently applied to the
Transport Commission for permission to dis(;ontinue two passenger
Toronto -Windaor
(after an annual_ loss of $600,000)
Calgary -Lethbridge -Medecine Hat
(after an annual loss of $340,000.)
The morning Montreal-Toronto local arrives at Gananoque Junction.
Photograph courtesy Canadian. National RailWays.

But despite the problems with economic and passenger theory
operations, the question of intercity rail transportation is still
a vital one. It will be up to the railways, and unfortunately to
their own financial backing, to find a way to keep railway travel
attractive and efficient. There are various items under consider­
ation for the immediate future -such as TURBO and the LRC -but
there are also several companies investigating the possibilities
of ground transportation for operation without existing tracks.
One such idea is the French TACV, or tracked air cushion vehicle
for possible use within traffic points such as the Canadian ani
U.S. corridor.
But both the National Research Council for the Government of
Canada and the Canadian Transport Commission have conducted re­
search into the feasible use of such a system under Canadian
weather conditions; the C.T.C. report, the Intercity Transporta­
tion Passenger Study, will be released by Information Canada
later thi.s year. One major conclusion of the report 1s that it
would definately not be economical to upgrade or rebuild exist-
ing c.oDventional track systems. The suggestion is to get leverage
out of better designed vehicles through advanced suspension sys­
But it is. also interesting to c.ompare the various cost
estimates for the construction of the three basic proposed forms
of ground transportation for use in Canada. Developers estimate
that it would cost a minimum of 55 million dollars to develop a
TACV system bexween Montreal and Toronto. Transport Minister
Don Jamieson has estimated that the construction costs for the
STOL concept between Montreal and Ottawa would be 15 million
dollars, although did not mention if that price included the
development of a short take off aircraft. Complete development
of the existing railway facilities for use with a TURBO concept
between Montreal and Ottawa has been set at 7 million.
And those estimates sEl) it all.
They also say why the railways need TURBO.
That concept answered every requirement for the immediate
and future improvement for intercity rail transportation.
With the use of regular diesel propulsion and. basic standard
passenger car facilities, the LRC now seems to be almost a step
backwards from the TURBO -but it is certainly a step forward
from the rigid conventional passenger train. And. the developing
companies are correct when they say that the LRC will not pre­
sent as many problems as the TURBO did when first introduced,
because it is not such a radical or swift advar~ement from the
conventional train.
But 1or either the LRC or the TURBO to win any ground in
the intercity transportation competition, they must have more
backing -finanCially and otherwise -than they do now.
to the Montreal Star, the Montreal Gazette, the Toronto
Globe and Mail, Information. Canada, The Ottawa Citizen, and
La Fresse (Montreal) for information used in this article.
Special thanks to Ken DeJean for providing information and
suggestions used in the assembly of this art icle.
–t<, Cornwall Street Ra.ilway s,tee.pJ..ecab locomot1:v:e number-:l2
1lw.:lteheS, tank cars, at the C .. I.L .. pl.ant in the weat end
o:II Cornwal~. Canad:lan Nat.:lona.l Railw.ays has purcha,aed
the holdings o:II the. Cornwall Street Railway, and plans
to eliminate the e.l.ectric operation as soon as possible..
Photograph by John Doyle..

Page 234: One, of the afternoon comrnu.ter trains from Montreal
to Deux Montagnes heads across the diamond at EJ
Tower. Photo courtesy Ken DeJean.
Page. 235: CN Mountain number 6067 backs into Saskatoon station
in the wint,er of 1959 to take train number 9 on to
Edmonton. Photograph courtesy J. Nash
Canadian Pacific IIC liner heads a trio of Gld Geeiha
on ~g Hil~, near Field, British Columbia.
Photograph courtesy CP RAlL.
CN No. 5090 with Train 31 at North Saskatoon., Sask. in
Febru.ary of 196D. Photo courtesy J. Nash.

The second to last weekend oL 6218:. here the engine pulls
an axcursLon to Ottawa on June 26th, 1971.0ne week later,
the eng,ine. was o:fficLally retired with ceremonies at
Belville.,. Ontario.
Photogaph courteey Sylvia Garnis.
The Delaware and Hudsons day train to New York passes
through St. Constant, Quebec en route from Montreal.
Photograph by Ken DeJean.
Eng.ineers from Montreal Locomotive Works make the final
inspection of eN 6400 prior to delivery in 1936.
Photograph courtesy Wm.Y. Townsend.
published by t.he
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