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Old Time Trains

Susbsidiary Companies

Dominion Express Company
building completed in 1914 at Simcoe and King Streets. c.1915
Note the tank wagon at right used for street cleaning. Canadian Pacific Archives A-3328

Local pickup and delivery truck, 1929.

Both the Telegraph service and the Express Company were totally separate operations, which charged the Railway for services they performed for it and vice-versa. Canadian Pacific Express Company also acted as the Cartage Agent for the railway’s LCL freight, making local pickups and deliveries in green "freight" trucks, while express trucks doing similar work were red. In addition to the large shed at King Street there were separate express buildings adjacent to stations at Union Station, West Toronto, Parkdale, and elsewhere. Smaller points utilized a portion of other structures, usually the station where the agent acted as a commission agent for the Express Company as he did for the Telegraph Companies as well.

A large modern express shed was built at Obico next to the Piggyback Yard opening in January 1969. It was to be short-lived when deregulation of trucking came into being in 1987 and CP Express as well as Smith Transport and many others were driven out of business by the competition, much of it non-union.

Telegraph and telephone operations were provided to the railway as well as for commercial and public purposes. Railway train dispatchers, and operators used telegraph and carrier telephones for giving out written orders to train crews. These were all party lines on which everyone up and down the line could, and did, listen in! Public telegrams were handled by station agents or in bigger places like Toronto, at a CP Telegraph Office. Toronto’s was located right next to the Ticket Office on Yonge Street. It was here that messages were handled by phone for transmission, including RS wires. Railway Service was a telegraph company term since the railway always used O.C.S. for shipments that were being moved free On Company Service. Rush messages were handled by RS wire or if urgent/complex by Company phone lines but NEVER by long distance via Bell Telephone. Using Company phones for long distance required you to go through the Telegraph operator and often wait for her to call back when a line was available. Every call was noted (to be charged back to the correct department), and ordinary employees could not use this. The afternoon shift at the Telegraph office in Toronto was staffed by young girls and was a source of dates for some of us afternoon shift railroaders after our shift ended at 11 or 12 pm!

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