A Little More Steam In Railroads Please, Published 16 April 1947For some time I have advocated in these columns that our passenger trains step up their time. In many instances, our so-called fast trains make slower time now than they did 15 years ago, when locomotive power was much less efficient, and when we actually led American railways in speed. Now I have ample confirmation in the "Annual Speed Survey" of American railroads, in the April issue of "Railroad Magazine."
Here's what "Railroad Magazine'" says about the Toronto-Montreal run. into which we tie in at Brockville.
"Recalling the glorious days of 1931 when the two Canadian systems won the world's speed championship as the result of thrilling competition for the lush Montreal-Toronto traffic, we shake our heads in bewilderment at the coma that now grips them."
I can vouch for that. In 1931, the fastest time made by any train in the world, as far as I know, and certainly on this continent, was the 120 mile run from Smiths Falls to Montreal West, at an average of 68 8 miles an hour. The CNR ran from Brockville to Bonaventure Station 62.5 miles an hour.
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"The Continental Limited CNR and the Dominion CPR are slow as ever" Insists the Railroad Magazine.
But the worst thing of all is when we are compared to Sweden and Norway. They now operate from Stockholm to Narvik, Norway, a distance of 992 miles, in 25 hours and 12 minutes. This over mountains; this through winter, and this also across the Arctic Circle.
"Compare this" says the magazine, with Armstrong to Montreal, 567.6 miles in 26 hours 50 minutes, or Fort William to Montreal, 989.4 miles, in 26 hours and 45 minutes." Swedish winters, adds the editor tartly, are not noted for their balmy breezes, and I also add that nobody goes to the Arctic Circle in winter for good weather.
The magazine says the Canadian railways have the roadbeds, the motive power and the population. "All they need is a little ambition" says the Railroad expert.