Canadian Pacific Railway had a long history of using
trucks for different purposes over many decades
Freight 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
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
Newer highways criss-crossed the country while newer and
bigger trucks, especially tractor-trailers began to take over
Pool car operators came into being operating in major
cities to handle LCL freight in regular scheduled movements of
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
The CPR took a bold step in 19XX by acquiring control
of Smith Transport a major transport company in Ontario.
Later, railways would offer different types of service wherein a transport company could ship their own trailers on trains.
Obico and Queensway/North Queen
Vaughan Intermodal Facility
CPR Rolling Stock
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
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