Facebook Page
Old Time Trains


Canadian Pacific

Canadian Pacific Railway had a long history of using trucks for different purposes over many decades
including serving customers and OCS (On Company Service) such as maintenance.


Toronto Division

Freight and Express

LCL Shed and Pool Cars

King Street

West Toronto
Shed and Express

Earliest use of trucks was for local pickup and delivery of LCL (Less-Than-Carload-Lot) freight and for express shipments LCL was loaded into box cars at freight sheds in cities all across Canada. In smaller towns and villages customers had to
go to the railway's station or freight shed to deliver small freight shipments outbound or to pickup this type of shipment.
Note: CP Cartage (green trucks) did pickup and delivery of LCL in large cities. This was contracted out to CP Express.

Canadian Pacific Express

Canadian Pacific Express, a separate company 100% owned by the CPR, handled small shipments usually of higher value, fragile or in need of faster delivery time on a dependable schedule. Express was handled on passenger trains and had their
own facilities located adjacent to or part of passenger stations. In major cities these facilities were quite extensive.

Newer highways criss-crossed the country while newer and bigger trucks, especially tractor-trailers began to take over
smaller freight loads providing faster service. By the mid 20th Century these trucks were everywhere and the railways lost
this business. Eventually, CNR, CPR and other railways started up their own transport operations. This was done in different ways. CNR and CPR began shipping their own transports by rail leaving the tractor itself behind and moving the trailer on flat cars on priority fast freight trains (sometimes solid trains) running on a regular schedule. ACR and ONR operated their
tractor-trailer transports as extensions of their railway to reach major cities, primarily Toronto.


Freight Forwarders

Cherry Street
Howell Forwarders

Parkdale Top Yard
Interline Forwarders

Pool car operators came into being operating in major cities to handle LCL freight in regular scheduled movements of
box cars to other major cities across Canada. These companies grew and eventually took over all LCL shipments as the railways got out of the business which was very labour intensive and required major facilities in big cities. Some freight forwarders used their own employees at sheds along with CPR office staff while at least one major company (CFF)
used CPR shed and office employees.

In later years the CPR would get out of handling box car traffic by encouraging freight forwarders to change over to containers. Some smaller companies would be driven out of this business all together. Consolidated FastFrate (a.k.a. Fastfrate) a major CPR customer would resist this for many years preferring the much larger capacity of box cars.
Eventually, they too succumbed to CPR's demands to get away from box cars.


CPR Intermodal Pioneer

The CPR took a bold step in 19XX by acquiring control of Smith Transport a major transport company in Ontario.
They then moved these trailers on fast scheduled dedicated piggyback trains between Montreal and Toronto expanding to three trains per day out of two yards in Toronto. Service was expanded across Canada using fast freight trains that added piggyback cars along with box cars etc.

Later, railways would offer different types of service wherein a transport company could ship their own trailers on trains.


Piggyback trains gallery
Trenton Division

John Street Piggyback yard

Obico and Queensway/North Queen
Piggyback, Container and CP Express

Vaughan Intermodal Facility
Mile 15.3 MacTier Sub.

CPR Rolling Stock
Piggyback and Container Flat Cars
with Trailers and Containers

Expressway history & gallery
Milton/Toronto West

Iron Highway
map of West Toronto Yard

Triple Crown


Highway Transport

Digital restoration: Gordon Kennedy

CP Transport operated in western Canada where Smith Transport did not have license. Eventually, Smith would disappear and it became CP Express and Transport, eventually under CP Rail just CP Transport. Highway transport under went a serious change when Ontario removed cartage licensing that restricted where a trucking company could operate and therefore limited the number of companies. This was done to benefit shippers by providing competition and thus lower freight rates. What actually happened was anybody could get into business and the competition resulted in lower rates but also lower wags and poor maintenance. Established transport companies had difficulty fighting off this flood of newcomers and fly-by-night type operations with non-union owner-operators that often went bankrupt. Another quickly came on the scene and repeated this scenario. The effect was the established companies always had yapping dogs snapping at their heels. Paying good wages and benefits plus doing good maintenance was difficult. Many did not survive.

Courier type companies came along to take over some of the express business and LCL freight and the CPR got into this business as well by setting up a separate company CanPar (short for Canada Parcel). Many CP Express and Transport employees moved over to the new operation. It operated for a number of years before it too succumbed to fierce competition. After the CPR gave up on Canpar it managed to re-establish itself and still exists.

Piggyback was phased out in favour of containers with the exception of Expressway (formerly, Iron Highway) operating dedicated trains in a shrunken service barely hanging on in southern Ontario and Montreal.




Trucks were seldom used for Company work until around the middle of the 20th century when mechanization of track maintenance expanded to include not only on-track machines but also Hy-Rail (Highway/Railway) equipped trucks of increasingly larger trucks and mobile cranes for easier and quicker access to track away from roads for regular inspections
and maintenance as well as clearing up derailments. The latter eventually contracted out to companies specializing in this type of work.




Back (Use your browser Back button)

Old Time Trains © 2017