Streamliner Would Make Suburb Out Of Montreal, Published 31 March 1950Now that we are getting into streamliner engines in Canada, It might be Interesting to think about streamliner trains. Like television, which lags far behind in Canada, a streamlined train is also a thing of the future in these parts. There happens to be a real expert in the United States on this. His name is Theodore Brand, and he writes a railway column In the Chicago Tribune. He does nothing else but ridetrains and write articles.
Mr. Brand chose as his example, the Shasta Daylight. This streamline train was put on last year, and runs daily , between San Francisco and Portland, a distance of 718 miles. Brand says that more than 3,500 passengers were "Galloped" to ask how they would have travelled "if the new Shasta Daylight had not been ip operation." Let me explain that the Shasta Daylight makes the trip in one day, whereas before, the fastest train always took a large chunk of two days. Of the people who were canvassed, 37 percent said had it not been for the Daylight, they would not have taken the train at all. Repeat, they would not have taken the train at all. They would have gone by bus, by plane, by car.
Another 14 percent said they would not go at all.
Here are some things a streamliner could do easily:
1. Put Ottawa and Montreal an hour and a half apart.
2. Make Ottawa 4½ hours from Toronto.
3. You could go from Ottawa to Windsor from 12.30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
4. Winnipeg would only be one night away.
5. Vancouver and Montreal would be three nights distant Instead of four.
6. The Ocean Limited would go from Montreal to Halifax with a 3 p.m. departure in Montreal, and a breakfast arrival in Halifax.
Make More Per MileOther streamliners also show, according to U.S. figures, that they make more per mile. For instance, the Burlington Zephyr, running from Chicago to Minneapolls-St. Paul has a train mile revenue of $4.37 and a net revenue of $3.16, or 72 percent gross income.
The streamliner's speed though, is often secondary. It is the luxury that thrills people. We have nothing even approaching it in Canada.
But until we give our railways more money to make a decent showing, we can hardly expect the CPR and CNR to burst into a fleet of streamliners. The only way a streamliner would pay would be if it could make money as fast as a diesel. For instance, take a diesel. They tell me that a good diesel will pay for itself in three years. Therefore, even if a railway has to borrow 100 percent of the cost of a diesel, it is a good bank risk. The bank lends the money, the diesel is bought, and in three years she is paid for. No steam locomotive can stand that kind of competition.
Last fall, down at the Chateau Laurier, I asked Ernest E. Norris, president of the Southern Railway, what he got for old steam locomotives.
"Got for them?" he queried. "Why, we give them away."
It may be that pretty soon, the railways will be coming to the banks to borrow money on streamliners, If the CPR or CNR has any trouble, they might tip me off. I know J. L. Carson, president of the Bank of Toronto pretty well, and I'm sure he'd fix them up if I backed the note.