Sir You Have Spoken Of The Woman I Love! Published 25 January 1951

I see where G. H. Phipps had a letter on the back page of The Citizen. He complained about trains 'running 70 miles an hour through the city. I thought his weak argument got too weak when he said this:

"If I am caught driving 30 miles inside the city limits I will be hauled before the courts and charged with reckless driving. But there are a chosen few who are allowed to highball a train into town at 70 miles an hour and it is your fault if you get in the way."

Let us examine this sentence, the most curious statement I have read In 1951.
First of all, the Canadian Pacific Railway travels on a right of way. It has paid for this. Mr. Phipps in his car is driving on a public highway that I have paid for, as much as he.
Again, the railway fenced that highway at its own expense.
The buses pay for no right of way and no fences along their roads. The airplanes pay for no space in the air. The steamships pay for no strip of the ocean, for any right or way in any water. But the railway pays for everything. It pays for the property, it pays for the rails, it even pays for fences to keep you and I off the rails.

Final Blow

Finally, it pays at least part of the cost of special signals so people, who know where the railway is, can be kept off.
I might add that the railway has to go on the rails; It does not run up the street and hit you, as a bus might do.
But let us examine this premise that a train must not go through a town at 70 miles an hour. If you take the fast train to Toronto this afternoon, you will go singing down into Toronto from the Danforth Station at a mile a minute or better. I have gone through the suburbs of Chicago at 80 per, or better.

How would Mr. Phipps ever get from New York to Washington if he had to creep 30 miles an hour through Newark, through Philadrtphla. through Wilmington, through Baltimore? And there are level crossings there too.

Imagine this order applying to Canada. There are 400 passencers on the train. Ooops. she is slowing down. Sorry, we have to go slow through Mallorytorn. Or, sorry, have to slow down for Brantford. Or too bad. but there Is a slow order here in Moose Jaw. The plain fact is that if every single town insisted on slow orders it would take an extra day to get to Vancouver, or Los Angeles, or wherever the passenger is going.

It just happens to be the rule on this continent that trains have to travel quickly to get anywhere. If a train had tyo slow down 200 or more times between here and the Pacific Ocean it would put the time table back half a century and have us operating glorified Toonervilles instead of Transcontinental Limiteds.

The Chosen Few

Then Mr. Phipps. who apparently speaks for one school of thought, refers to "a chosen few on the trains. If he were on that train, would he consider himself part of a chosen few? This is sheer nonsense. If a majority rules, then the train certainly has right of way on its own property over one car driver or one truck driver.
Electric street railway companies are always preaching that a tram carries 50 or 60 people, a motor car rarely more than six. As such, the public transportation has the right of way.
I tell Mr. Phipps this. I know for sure that the train tomorrow will be on the track and no place else. Any driver by looking and by listening, can keep from being hit by a train. Because the train will never chase you up Churchill Avenue or any place else. But put an unheeding or absent-minded driver behind the wheel, be it Stittsvllle or Saskatoon, he'll get hit by the train.
Meanwhile, the alternative to people being hit is to remove level crossings, close up streets and generally make our railways foolproof. But this is a problem for the city and the public. There is no reason why the railways should spend their money trying to keep people away from where they have no business to be anyway.

The trouble with our trains is that not enough of them go 70 miles an hour through cities. If we did, our trains would make better time. Right now, American trains beat us from Ottawa to Vancouver by a business day. Vancouver is three nights in a sleeper via U.S.A.; in Canada it is still four, as it was 20 years ago.
But the Phipps of the world want to make it five nights.

(Editor's note; Now don't get sore, Mr. Phipps, criticizing the railroads, to Mr. Cross, is like kicking your beloved wife in the teeth.)

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Updated 20 September 2019