Historic Anniversary for the Railway Association of Canada

    OTTAWA, Oct. 23 /CNW/ - The Railway Association of Canada will mark the
90th anniversary of the creation of the Canadian Railway Association for
National Defence today, October 23. The organization was created to expedite
the flow of freight cars back from the U.S. to help the Canadian war effort
during the first world war. The name was changed to the Canadian Railway War
Board. Because the concept worked so well, the War Board was dissolved and the
Railway Association of Canada was established on December 1, 1919.
    Representatives from Canada's railways first met in Montreal to create a
volunteer, national board to coordinate related industrial activities
regarding the war on October 23, 1917. Its purpose was to "render the most
efficient possible service to the national cause." The timeline of the
Association's activities was to be for the duration of the war, and gave
general authority to formulate a policy of operation for all or any of the
    "The creation of the association marked a significant point in the
history of the railway industry in Canada," said Cliff Mackay, president and
CEO of the modern RAC. "Their activities throughout the war years did not go
unnoticed, and our continued work as a representative body reflects the
importance of a national railway association. The RAC is proud to be a part of
this storied history."
    In addition to coordinating efforts to return railcars that had been
shipped to the United States, the Association also took responsibility for
managing labour issues between the railways and their employees. Under the
abnormal conditions of the war, it was deemed expedient that the Association
manage these issues. After the war, the Association maintained this role for a
number of years.
    "It is perhaps not necessary that I should outline ... the very wonderful
work accomplished by the Canadian Railway War Board during the period of the
war," said E.W. Beatty , then President of Canadian Pacific Railway at the
dissolution of the Board. "I do not believe that there is one single activity
in Canada, throughout the war, that was more appreciated by the Government and
by the people of Canada than the activities of the transportation companies
and the Canadian Railway War Board."
    The RAC will recognize its historic anniversary through different events
and initiatives during the year approaching December 1, 2009, said Mr. Mackay.
"Suggestions are welcome."

For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Roger Cameron, Director, Public
Affairs, Railway Association of Canada, (613) 564-8097, rogerc@railcan.ca

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