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PASSENGER TRAFFIC
By R.G. McNeillie
Passenger Traffic Manager

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Canadian Pacific Railway 4-8-4 Northern class K1a number 3101 departs
Montreal West with a passenger train - 6 Sep 1954 Photographer unknown.
 Internal link   Introduction

Many years ago Canadian Pacific published a series of ten books named the "Foundation Library". One particular book added to this collection, published in 1946, is named "Canadian Pacific Facts and Figures". It contains many short stories and articles dealing with the company during that period. This month's article from that book, "Passenger Traffic", written by R.G. McNeillie, Passenger Traffic Manager, is reprinted here for your enlightenment with the addition of some appropriate images.

 Internal link   The 1946 Article

In the early days, all phases of railroad activity were under the direct supervision of the Manager, with the Superintendent having charge of traffic as well as operation. As the public became railway-minded and traffic was developed, it was realized that the passenger business required specialization, with the result that passenger agents were employed to promote and look after this class of traffic. The activities of the passenger agents increased passenger traffic to such an extent that it was necessary to establish a separate department, under the direction of a General Passenger Agent, charged with the responsibility of promoting and servicing that traffic.

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William Cornelius Van Horne - 1904 A.H. Harris - McCord Museum.

With the completion of the Canadian Pacific's transcontinental line, and consequent upon the vast territory involved, it became necessary to appoint separate general passenger agents for the East and the West. In 1887 it was deemed advisable, in the interests of efficiency, to set up an organization which would coordinate the activities of the separate general passenger departments, and the late Sir William Van Horne called upon Lucius Tuttle to head this department, creating for him the title of Passenger Traffic Manager. This title has now become general with the larger railroads on this continent, and has extended into the steamship traffic field.

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An early timetable - Date unknown - CPR.

The Passenger Traffic Department of this Company is one of the most interesting departments in the railway organization, with its close contacts with the public through all its personnel, from chiefs of the department to the remotest agent. Its jurisdiction covers the whole of Canada, and extends to the United States through the medium of agencies in the larger cities of that country. The functions of the department include the promotion and solicitation of passenger traffic, the supervision and distribution of advertising literature, the supervision of newspaper and magazine advertising, the construction of passenger fares, and their publication through the medium of tariffs, the compilation, printing and distribution of tickets for sale to the public, the compilation, printing, and distribution of timetable folders for use by the public, etc.

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A colonization car - Date unknown Photographer unknown - CPR.

The chief sources of passenger business in the early days were colonization and migration traffic, and movements incidental to the opening of new land areas. When the Canadian Pacific provided railway access to western Canada there was an influx of people from eastern Canada and the United States desirous of settling in this new country, some to take up homesteads, and others to engage in various pursuits associated with life in the new territory. Then came the great migration movement from Great Britain and the European countries, which continued increasingly until the beginning of the Great War.

 Internal link   Great Lakes Steamships

In 1884 the Canadian Pacific Railway inaugurated a steamship service on the Great Lakes between Owen Sound and Port Arthur. This was prior to the completion of the section of the railway traversing the north shore of Lake Superior, and the steamship service provided a means of handling traffic between eastern Canada and the North West via an All-Canadian route. A poster in the records of the Passenger Traffic Department advertises this route as "The Thunder Bay Route - the new short line to Winnipeg and the Canadian North West - in comparison with the All, Rail Line to Winnipeg, passengers via this New Route save money in the cost of fare and over 300 miles of travel". This is an example of early-day solicitation through advertising. The alternative route was via the services of United States railways through Chicago and St. Paul.

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The Great Lakes steamship Keewatin - Date unknown Photographer unknown.

Since those early days, the Company's passenger service on the Great Lakes has been progressively improved and consistent efforts have been undertaken to promote the traffic. For instance, in recent years special arrangements were inaugurated whereby Great Lakes cruises have been made available to the large number of travellers to whom inland water trips have a special appeal. Another facility has been provided to cater to the increasing number of people who use their motor cars for business and pleasure travel, so that their cars may be transported with them by ship. Both of these innovations have been the means of creating a substantial amount of new traffic for the company.

 Internal link   Hotels

Almost from the beginning the new transcontinental route has held special interest for the tourist, and that interest has developed to the extent of including visitors from all parts of the world, intent on seeing for themselves the beauties of Canada, and in particular, the majestic grandeur of the Canadian Rockies, first made accessible through the opening of the Company's line. It is true to say that the Canadian Pacific, from its inception, pioneered the development of tourist traffic in Canada. For instance, it was early realized that good hotels are as necessary as efficient train service to the promotion of tourist travel, so that in 1886, the year in which the Canadian Pacific transcontinental trains were first operated between Montreal and the Pacific coast, the Company opened small hotels at Field, Glacier, Fraser Canyon, and Revelstoke, British Columbia. In 1887 the Company built the original Banff Springs Hotel and Hotel Vancouver, and during the succeeding years opened the many other famous hotels owned and operated by it.

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The Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia - Date unknown Photographer unknown.

The popular use of the motor car during recent years has had the effect of substantially altering the trend of travel by rail, with the result that it has been necessary for passenger traffic officers to find ways and means of developing and promoting other types of travel to replace the so-called local or short-haul traffic which has been largely diverted to the privately-owned motor cars and to the busses. This loss of passenger traffic has been particularly evident in connection with travel to exhibitions and other public events which usually attract large numbers of visitors, as well as in holiday and business travel involving short distances.

 Internal link   Excursions

As a principal means of stimulating local travel, the railways inaugurated what is commonly called the bargain excursion. These bargain excursions were developed from a small beginning to the mass movement of people between principal cities practically every week-end throughout the year. The development progressively expanded so that ultimately bargain excursions were operated between eastern and western Canada, and between the Prairie Provinces and the Pacific Coast, encouraging an interchange of visits between the peoples resident in the various parts of Canada, and thus establishing a basis for a much-to-be-desired better national understanding. These excursions, whose popularity is principally due to the low fares which are made possible because of the large number of passengers carried, and the fact that they are operated when the passenger equipment would otherwise be idle, have been the means of introducing a great many non-travellers to the railways, as well as inducing many, who had patronized other means of transportation, to return to the railways.

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Ski poster - Date unknown Artist unknown - CPR.

It seems but a short time since it was considered that sports and out-of-door exercises in the Canadian Winter were only for the more hardy of the race, but, very largely through the activities of our railway, winter sports are now the interest of all ages and classes, male and female, with skiing, in all its phases, predominantly popular. The ski enthusiast may start his career in a most modest way, near home, but soon he or she is looking for steeper and higher hills to conquer. Consequently, it has been the aim of the Passenger Department to supply the answer by the low fare, special train, one day excursion to suitable ski country within easy reach of urban centres, such as from Montreal to the Laurentians, Toronto to Dagmar, Winnipeg to La Riviere, and Calgary to Banff and Lake Louise. Naturally Montreal, with its large population and its proximity to the hills of the Laurentians, has produced the greatest volume of winter sports traffic. In ten seasons the winter sports traffic from Montreal to Laurentian points increased tenfold. The Laurentians have attracted not only residents of Montreal and vicinity but also a great number of enthusiasts from New York State and New England, and from even farther a field.

In co-operation with ski clubs and local communities, efforts are continually being made to explore additional areas suitable for development, for the purpose of promoting winter sports traffic.

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Chateau Lake Louise and Moraine Lake - Date unknown Photographer unknown.

Another method used to create passenger traffic is promotion of the all-expense tour. While this type of travel (which enables the purchaser to know almost exactly what a holiday trip will cost) was primarily intended to appeal to those who desire to work to a budget, experience has shown that it also has a distinct appeal to others who find it most convenient to pay in advance for the principal items of expense involved in a holiday trip, thus reducing to a minimum the arrangements which it would otherwise be necessary for them to make for meals and room at hotels, sightseeing, sleeping and parlor car accommodation on trains, meals on trains, passenger and baggage transfers, etc. The all-expense tour "travel package", which is sold for a stated amount, includes all of these expenses, and the advance arrangements for those services are made by the tour organizer, with consequent saving in effort, and frequently in expense, to the passenger. A wide variety of these popular tours is organized by, or in co-operation with, the Company. However the one that has the widest appeal is the so-called "All Expense Tour of the Canadian Rockies" which, at the passenger's option, provides for a given number of days at the world-famous Canadian Pacific resorts at Banff, Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, and Emerald Lake.

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Passengers travel aboard a "Hayrack" open observation car - 1941 Peter Stackpole - Life Magazine.

Someone at some time discovered that people like to meet their fellow men (and in this we include the ladies) in groups large or small, and so was born an outstanding pastime of the North American continent, the convention. The solicitation of the delegates, and catering to their hotel and railway travel requirements, singly or in groups, is a major effort of the Canadian Pacific sales force. The travel arrangements entail not only the transportation of the delegates to and from the convention, but frequently also the organization of the popular post-convention tours which are provided to enable the delegates to see something of Canadian cities and resorts. Of comparatively recent origin is our Convention Traffic Bureau, associated with our hotel system and closely allied to the Passenger Department, which, working in co-operation with the passenger sales and solicitation forces, has done much to increase this type of business for the benefit of the hotels and rail lines of the Company.

 Internal link   Passenger Traffic Departments

The Passenger Traffic Department of the Canadian Pacific Railway is headed by the Passenger Traffic Manager who is under the executive jurisdiction of the Vice-President of Traffic. The Passenger Traffic Manager deals with questions of general policy, as well as with administrative and personnel matters. This includes such important subjects as the inauguration and development of services for sale, sales methods, fares and arrangements, equipment and schedules of passenger trains, and the choice of locations of sales offices in Canada and the United States. As all of these matters directly affect the travelling public, it is of paramount importance that constant and close touch be kept with the requirements of the various communities which are served by the Company throughout the continent.

The Passenger Traffic Manager is assisted by the following officers who are charged with administering, under his direction, the particular activities which are their responsibility:

  • Assistant Passenger Traffic Manager, in charge of Eastern Lines;
  • Assistant Passenger Traffic Manager, in charge of Western Lines;
  • Assistant Passenger Traffic Manager, in charge of Overseas, Military, and other Special Traffic;
  • Manager, Mail, and Baggage Traffic;
  • Manager, Passenger Tariff Bureau;
  • General Tourist Agent.

The Assistant Passenger Traffic Managers, Eastern Lines and Western Lines, are responsible for matters pertaining to civilian domestic passenger traffic within their respective territories in Canada and the United States, including the administration and supervision of personnel, offices, etc.

Reporting to the assistant passenger traffic managers, and each in charge of a well-defined territory, are the general passenger agents, supported by assistant general passenger agents, who are responsible for the supervision, promotion, solicitation, and handling of traffic, as well as the direction of the activities of the district passenger agents, general agents, and other representatives of the Passenger Department in the territories under their jurisdiction.

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Canadian Pacific Railway and Steamships Span the World map - 1923 Matthews-Nortrup & Co.

The district passenger agents are supervisory officers responsible for sections of territory in Canada, served by the railway or contiguous thereto, and they deal locally with traffic matters pertaining to their respective districts. Working under the direction and supervision of the district passenger agents are the various passenger agents, city and town ticket agents, and, insofar as their duties concern passenger solicitation and ticketing, the station agents.

General agents are stationed at strategic points in the United States and have jurisdiction over off-line solicitation and sales in their respective territories. They are also equipped to assist and service the Company's clients from Canada and overseas countries who visit the States, as well as to provide up-to-date information respecting Canada. The general agents, with their subordinate passenger and ticket agencies, constitute the Company's sales force for the railway, ocean steamships and hotels. There are two exceptions to the general arrangement, namely New York and Chicago, where there are separate ocean passenger organizations. General agents are also stationed in several of the larger cities of Canada, and their duty is to direct the work of solicitation within their respective cities or territories.

It was early found that, in order to encourage travel, there must be a close contact between the carrier and the prospective passenger, and so the position of travelling passenger agent was established. His is the interesting, though at times arduous task of selling his Company's service and facilities to the public, or assisting the local agent to close the deal. He must maintain very close contact with the agents and representatives of other railway and transportation companies, who may have for solution the transportation problems of a large local clientele, extending beyond the reach of the lines which they represent. This, then, means that other lines must be brought into the transaction to complete the "travel package" which the passenger desires to purchase. More recently there has developed in Canada and the United States a large number of tourist agents and travel service bureaux which cater to, and encourage, the ever-increasing travel-consciousness of the people, following closely the example set many years ago by Thomas Cook, the founder of the well-known firm of travel agents. In addition to the information received through the medium of literature, circulars, and tariffs, the agencies receive the personal attention of the Company's officers and travelling representatives, who lend assistance in planning tours and arranging requisite details.

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In addition to their regular duties a station agent also sold tickets - Date unknown David Larrabee.

In the general ensemble of the great traffic solicitation machine, a most important cog is the so-called local ticket agent. He may be the station agent, who is located at large and small points over the length and breadth of the country, whose duties are numerous and who is frequently the only source of travel information to the people of his community and contiguous territory. Or, it may be that, as in the larger towns and cities, the town ticket agent or the city passenger agent is the man in the field, but, whichever he may be, on him largely falls the responsibility of closing the deal, selling the passage and sleeping or parlor car tickets, making the hotel reservations, and in general doing everything necessary to send the passenger on his way, to say nothing of the work incidental to accounting for the revenue received. It is difficult to exaggerate the value to the railway of a wide-awake, intelligent, and courteous local ticket agent because, particularly in the smaller communities, he is the employee who is in a position to maintain the closest touch with the Company's patrons, whose impression of the Company and its services is frequently a reflection of the service and attention they receive at the hands of the local agent.

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The Owen Sound ticket office - Date unknown Photographer unknown.

In addition to his responsibilities in connection with military traffic the Assistant Passenger Traffic Manager in charge of Overseas, Military, and other Special Traffic is the liaison officer between the steamship lines and the Company's rail service. With Canadian Pacific transportation facilities bridging the Atlantic and the Pacific, and providing in conjunction with its rail lines a route between Great Britain, Europe, the Far East, Australia, and New Zealand, alternative to that via the Suez, the Panama, and South Africa, the Company is in a unique position to develop traffic from and to overseas countries. When passengers from overseas land on this continent, their travel requirements become the responsibility of the railway, and the Overseas Department provides a continuity of service and management. The Assistant Passenger Traffic Manager, therefore, maintains a very close contact with the Company's European and Far Eastern organizations for the purpose of promoting the development of rail traffic from overseas countries and which reaches this continent in Canadian Pacific or other lines' ships. He has direct supervision of the Company's organizations in Australia and New Zealand.

A special feature of the Overseas Department has been the development of escorted all-expense tours from Europe to places of interest in Canada and the United States. The European, and of late the same may be said of the passenger on this side of the water, likes to know before he leaves home, what his tour will cost, therefore the Company organizes all-expense tours of varying duration for his convenience. The quoted rates include the ocean fare as well as all expenses incidental to travel from the time the travellers arrive until they depart from these shores. This policy has met with the approval of our European clientele, as instanced by the increasing number of passengers who each year patronize these tours. All-expense tours to this continent were also promoted by the Company in Australia, New Zealand, and the Far East.

Instancing the Company's established policy of long-term promotion of tourist travel, it may be noted that for some years the Overseas Department has actively fostered the development of travel from South Africa, Central and South America, and the West Indies to Canada, notwithstanding the fact that the Company does not operate steamship services directly to those countries.

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A Trans-Canada Limited brochure - Date unknown Photographer unknown - CPR.

While speaking of travellers to this country from beyond the seas, it should be noted that a unique service is afforded to passengers who travel in Canadian Pacific trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific steamships, in that the Company maintains a highly qualified rail traffic representative aboard each of these ships, whose duty it is to facilitate the passenger's travel requirements ashore. The rail traffic representatives are qualified and equipped to outline itineraries, issue tickets, arrange sleeping car and hotel reservations, and effect many other arrangements for the passengers' comfort. Ashore, a special staff, attached to the General Passenger Agent's office, arranges details of special train movements directly from the ship's side, and otherwise assures the efficient and expeditious forwarding of passengers and their baggage from the port of debarkation to their various destinations. This service is one of the advantages of "One Management-Ship and Shore", a position enjoyed by no other transportation company.

The Mail and Baggage Traffic Department has supervision of all matters pertaining to passengers' baggage on the rail and steamship lines, and the carriage of post office mails. During recent years the Department's responsibilities have been extended to include the arrangements for handling passengers' motor cars in the Company's trains and ships, including the many customs and other formalities entailed in shipping motor cars to Great Britain, and European and Pacific countries, as well as to the United States.

 Internal link   Tariffs

Passenger fares within Canada are, in general, established on a mileage basis, and the maximum rate per mile to be charged is established by law. However, in actual practice the standard rate per mile does not always apply because in a great many cases passenger fares produce much less than the standard rate. This may be due to one or more of many conditions. For instance, a shorter mileage via some competitive route between two points may have the effect of reducing fares between intermediate stations. There are also those charges which might be termed concessionary such as commutation, round-trip, week-end, one-day excursion, and party fares, all of which represent reductions from the standard rate per mile. The administration of the law, and jurisdiction over tariffs containing passenger fares, is in the hands of the Board of Transport Commissioners for Canada, commonly known as the Transport Commission. In the United States the administrative body with similar powers is the Interstate Commerce Commission.

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A tariff document - Date unknown Photographer unknown - CPR.

Standard tariffs publishing the lawful rate per mile, and station-to-station mileages to be used in compiling fares, are filed with the Board of Transport Commissioners. Tariffs containing fares must be filed with the Transport Commission, and, if the fares involve international traffic, also with the Interstate Commerce Commission. Each tariff so filed must bear an appropriate identification number, which numbers are used consecutively and prefixed "C.T.C." for Canada and "I.C.C." for the United States. Tariffs thus filed contain the lawful charges for the traffic specified therein.

When more than one carrier is involved in a tariff, either as a selling line, or as a line over which the business could move to reach its destination, proper concurrences must be secured from each participating carrier, and shown in the tariff. These documents are numbered consecutively by each carrier issuing same and the original is filed with the Canadian or American commission directly interested.

Various regulations must be observed in the preparation of tariffs for both the Board of Transport Commissioners for Canada and the Interstate Commerce Commission. These regulations include the arrangement of the tariff rules, fares, etc., and also the size of the tariff, which is generally 8 x 11 inches, with certain minor exceptions as to tariffs for conductors. It will be seen, therefore, that in the publication of fares and the conditions that pertain thereto, the Tariff Bureau must follow prescribed rules, and must be specific as to the scope of the tariffs, otherwise tariffs may be rejected by one or both commissions, resulting in the use of the fares being prohibited until proper corrections are made.

 Internal link   Tourism

Canada, with its myriad streams and lakes, its forests and mountains, and other bounties of nature, has unlimited interest to sportsmen and other out-of-door enthusiasts. The fame of Canada's fish and game extends beyond its borders into the United States and across the seas.

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A fishing poster - Date unknown Artist unknown - CPR.

As the result of careful enquiry and investigation, the General Tourist Department has set up a vast fund of information relating to sports and vacation resorts, and that information is being constantly augmented. For the purpose of soliciting the prospective sportsman, passenger, and vacationist, and answering his many inquiries, this information is promulgated to the various passenger agencies, representatives, travel bureaux, and clubs at home and abroad. Many inquiries for specific information as to suitable hunting and fishing localities, advice regarding guides, modes of transportation, etc., reach the office of the General Tourist Agent, as do numerous letters and personal calls from vacationists, other than those who may be termed hunters or fishermen.

 Internal link   Ticketing

The Passenger Ticket Bureau is assigned the responsibility for the compilation, printing, and distribution of all revenue tickets and checks used by the Company's ticket agents, conductors, pursers, etc. This includes all forms of local and interline railway passenger tickets, ocean steamship tickets, coastal and lake steamship tickets, meal checks for dining cars, dining rooms, and hotels as well as all other tickets and checks involving revenue. The Bureau also performs similar services for the Quebec Central Railway, Dominion Atlantic Railway, Grand River Railway, Lake Erie & Northern Railway, and Canadian Pacific Air Lines.

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A coach ticket, ticket envelope, and seat check - Date unknown Photographer unknown - CPR.

The bureau receives from the printer, and stores in its properly protected store-room, supplies of the various checks and tickets pending their shipment to offices, etc. A record of every ticket and check received from the printers is entered in the stock books of the bureau, and a corresponding record is kept of their distribution on the basis of the requisitions received from agents, pursers, etc. An invoice, embodying full particulars of the forms and serial numbers, is prepared to cover each shipment of tickets and checks, a copy of each invoice being forwarded by the bureau to the Auditor of Passenger Receipts. The receipt portion of the invoice is also forwarded to the Auditor of Passenger Receipts by the office receiving the shipment. The auditor then holds the agent or other person who has received the tickets, responsible for them until they are disposed of by sale and properly accounted for through the ticket reports.

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A ticket dater and ticket case - Date unknown Joe Smuin.

The Passenger Ticket Bureau is also responsible for the supplying of ticket daters, ticket cases, conductors' punches, cash fare cutters, etc., to agents, conductors, and offices, and the keeping of the necessary records thereof.

The timetable folder, primarily intended for public distribution, is a publication which has grown from the comparatively insignificant affair of the 1880's to the Folder "A" of today. Folder "A", which contains passenger train schedules and general information concerning the entire system, is supplemented by Folder "B" for Eastern Lines, and Folder "C" for Western Lines, as well as Folder "D" for use in the Province of Quebec.

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Timetable folders C and D - Date unknown Photographer unknown - CPR.

The Compiler of Timetables carefully collates particulars regarding the Company's passenger trains, times of arrivals at, and departures from stations, and classes of equipment carried in each train, similar information being gathered for the representation given in the folders to connecting rail and steamship lines. This requires constant checking with the various sources of information, such as the operating and transportation departments of our own Company, and the passenger traffic departments of connecting railway, steamship, and air lines. When the data is compiled, it must be put into proper form for the printers, proofs checked, and distribution of the finished folder so arranged as to adequately serve its purpose.

With the 26 April 1931, issue of Folder "A" the Canadian Pacific inaugurated a new idea in railway folders. The old "accordion" type, requiring patience and plenty of room, was abandoned for the present book form, which has received the unqualified approval of both the public and the railwayman, because of the ease of reading and handling.

From the foregoing, it will be gathered that the Passenger Traffic Department has two chief aims, to create the facilities for travel, and to promote travel by inducing prospective travellers, through various means of solicitation, to avail themselves of those facilities. Probably the latter is the greater task, and the appointed soliciting representatives are keenly alive to it. Each and every member of the Canadian Pacific's personnel may be, and many are, ex-officio traffic solicitors, augmenting the efforts of the specially appointed staff through personal and business contacts. The traffic organization is fully appreciative of this, and welcomes a continuation of such assistance.

 Internal link   Military Traffic

The foregoing constitutes a short history of the Passenger Traffic Department, and also an outline of its functions under the normal conditions which existed prior to the outbreak of World War II in 1939. However, under the emergent conditions generated by a state of war, which necessitated the direction of the Company's maximum possible effort to the movement of war traffic, there were modifications in several phases of passenger traffic.

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World War II soldiers on the platform at the London station - Date unknown Photographer unknown.

The urgent demand for motive power and railway equipment to expeditiously move war munitions and personnel necessitated the suspension of certain special fares which were instituted for the purpose of stimulating passenger travel. For the same reasons efforts to develop and solicit convention and other civilian traffic were discontinued for the duration of the war. Therefore, bargain excursions, week-end holiday fares, etc., were indefinitely suspended, and the movement of such special traffic as ski trains, etc., was temporarily discontinued. Any diminution in traffic which may have been the result of those changes was more than offset by the service and furlough travel of the men and women of the armed forces.

The advent of hostilities naturally had an immediate effect upon overseas traffic, with the result that the overseas, military, and special traffic staff of the department was assigned the responsibility of looking after the very heavy passenger traffic which the Company has been called upon to handle for the Navy, Army, and Air Force.

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