Railway's Job To Pull Not Push Folks Around, Published 17 February 1947A certain "Mr. C." of Renfrew dropped in on me yesterday, to complain about the way the Canadian Pacific is pushing him around on the Chalk River train. I shall list three of his complaints, and I am leaving it up to the C.P.R., if the man hasn't got a case.
First of all, he objects to locked doors. Mind you. everything I say also applies to the Canadian National, but Mr. C. happens to be a CPR user, so I am mentioning the CPR first. What burns him up, and me too. is the way they lock doors on trains. This is of course, purely for the convenience of conductors.
Now I am looking the Messrs. Vaughn and Neal right in the eye when I say this is costing you business and building bad will. Because the train crews want to have things easier, the public gets pushed around.
"Mr. C.'s" second complaint - and it is this Mr. C.'s complaint, too that you can no longer sit with your friends. For instance. Mr. C. and his friend chatted on the station platform. He and his friend got on the train, together or started to. "Where are you going?" asked the brakeman.
"I am going to Ottawa" said the Renfrewite. and he was allowed to pass in.
But the other man said "Carleton Place" and he was forbidden to enter.
Now isn't it just too bad that the railway crews have got so uppity, that a man and his friend cannot ride together, because it is too hard for them to keep track of the passengers in different coaches? I say that if I want to ride in any coach of the train that my ticket calls for. I should be able to go there. But, thanks to this high handed action. Mr. C. had to ride all the way to Ottawa alone, unable to talk to his friend. The conductor or brakeman who did that went home no doubt, feeling he had done a fine day s work.
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I yield to no one in my admiration for train crews, and probably have ridden on more different trains than any of them. But I cannot see how railway crews hope to be working, when they try to do their book keeping by locking car doors. I am aware that you had to keep certain cars closed perhaps, for local passengeers, but I think they have gone too far.
I would remind the railways that when you ride by bus, you can ride anywhere in that bus. Mr. C's third complaint is that one day he got on No. 8, the Vancouver train, at Renfrew and he said to the conductor:
"Please find a place for my wife."
The conductor snarled:
"Why doesn't she wait for the local."
Mr. C. said he held his temper, which is more than I would have done. He merely said: "Why did the CPR sell her a ticket?"
Here, it seems, we have another reason why the railways are losing goodwill. Millions for new equipment: thousands for advertising, but no change of heart on the part of some bad-mannered train crews. I myself must admit this man is an exception. But why he should tell any person in Canada what train he should ride on baffles me.
Now I had an argument about a year ago with a brakeman, and printed the story. It got a funny reaction. Instead of the Brotherhood checking up to find out what the facts were, and to discipline the man from within their own ranks, all that happened to me was a letter of criticism from the B. of R. T.
The gist of it was: never mind what the brakeman did, but you are a so and so for criticising him. What the B of R.T. should have said was somtheing like this:
"We don't believe in bad manners any more than you do. We do not endorse bad railroading, and we are urging this young man to be a better railroader." Instead of this, a lot of adjectives were wafted in my direction. Can't the railroaders see that their days are numbered, and their jobs are disappearing before their eyes, when they start pushing the public around?