Railway Highlights
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 4 Nov 1954, p. 56-69
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Railway Highlights

A joint meeting of The Empire Club of Canada and The Canadian Club of Toronto. Interest in Canada's railways. The impact of railway actions taken from time to time discernible in much of our business and personal life. A review of railway highlights. A consideration of the major problems that face the Canadian National Railway (CNR) today. CNR's basic task to ensure that the CNR is an efficient, successful business organization as well as a good servant of the public. Leading aspects of this challenge seen in our wage bill, in the sources of factors bearing on the growth and shrinkage of our nation-wide rail syste. Some historical perspective. The history of the CNR as one of continuing compromise between the maintenance of far-flung service and the planning of profitable operations. Finances. Factors influencing annual losses. Two lines of approach to the reduction of labour costs: technological development, and managerial progress. The need for a professional approach to administration. Technological and managerial strategy for coping with a large wage bill. Revenue and factors affecting this side of the financial picture. The need to cut freight rates on traffic vulnerable to truck competition and to bid to regain lost busienss. Passenger revenues. The broad problem of peak load which explains the seemingly unavoidable losses in passenger traffic. A comment on commuter service. Policy on branch line extension and abandonment. A response to the question "Why should the CNR make a profit?" Looking at the history of transportation to see ample evidence of the deadening effect which a steady diet of losses and an insatiable demand for uneconomic service can have on railway efficiency. The current problems of railways and the intelligent deliberation of all thoughtful citizens they merit. The need for the support of an enlightened public opinion.