Speedway




This page is in constant construction given the amount of information that has to be reviewed before positing. The story of this Quebec trucking endeavor, will be continued as time allows....................................

Speedway Transport Reg'd (1950 -1951)

Speedway Transport Ltd (1951-1952)
Speedway Express Ltd (1952 - 1982)


Mack

White



The beginning .................

qc Montreal - Toronto ont


In 1950, Murray Macfie was working as a salesman for Hart Motors Ltd, located at 531 Cote de Liesse Road, in Dorval Quebec. From what is understood Douglas Morrison, may have been working as a mechanic at Maslin Bros. Transport Company. Working at this location, Murray had ample occasion to watch the trucks rolling along highway # 2 going to and coming from Ontario. At that time we find Smith Bros. Transport Ltd , Kingsway Transport Ltd and most probably Direct Transport being the pioneers in the trucking industry running the lucrative line between Montreal, Quebec and Toronto, Ontario.

In the Province of Quebec, there were many smaller, family run trucking companies , who each had carved out separate territories and who in most cases inter-connected with the major rail lines at Montreal , Quebec, Sherbrooke, Trois Rivieres, and Rimouski, the larger cities of the province. During the development of these early Quebec trucking companies major obstacles had been over come, the biggest one being the provincial gouvernment of Monsieur Duplessis . The trucking industry was growing, the trucking pioneers were in the news, the post war economy was heating up, new ideas were developing, there were improvements in the manufacturing of trailers and motor vehicles (tractors) among others. Murray Macfie and Doug Morrison were just the right age to take hold of the opportunities as they presented themselves.

In 1950 the Canadian railway employees went on strike, throwing the economy into a whirling funnel . The transportation of most everything came to halt , the few trucking companies running the main line between Montreal and Toronto were unable to fill the gap left by the railways. Manufactures were left with out means to get their goods to market, they were left with no way to obtain the necessary raw material to make their goods, it was a real blow to the country.


It was then that Murray and Doug, decided that they should undertake the business of trucking, and formed Speedway Transport Reg'd , in 1950. At first they borrowed the power units from Hart Motors, no doubt paying for the mileage accumulated, the trailer units would have been obtained from Trailmobile, and were no doubt older trailers traded in by other trucking entities. Speedway Transport offered the services of transporting goods between Montreal and Toronto.

By Jan 31 1951, if we rely on Murray's income tax report, the company had a gross revenue of $13,194.77 , with a net profit of $1,294.77 which was split evenly between Murray and Doug .This being added to the drawings that they two men took in 1950 of $480.00 and $990.00 provided them with a nice little sum for a period of six months. Murray had spent a whole year selling vehicles and had received only $3,377.22 in commissions at his regular job at Hart Motors Ltd.


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They moved their operations from the original Cote de Liesse office, which was more or less a big old barn located beside the Dorval Veterinary building (circa 2006) ,first to 2180 Rouen St in the eastern part of Montreal, taking over the warehouse of Drummond Transit Company ( who was purchased by Kingsway Transport at a later date). Then a bit later to perhaps a more adequate warehouse at 1685 Sanguinet St, Montreal , this was the former location of J B Baillergon Transport ( who became Direct Express Ltd ). This warehouse was located in the neigbourhood of today's Place des Arts (circa 2006) there was a loading dock with a separate building ( not much more than a shack) that served as a general office. The transport bills of the time were not typed, but rather were hand written by one James Allen, who according to Isabel Macfie, had a very neat and clear writing.


The partners then decided to seek incorporation, bringing in with them John Rennick as a third member of the management group. On the 22nd day of August 1951, Speedway Transport Ltd. became a legal entity under the laws of the Province of Quebec .



1951 INC


3truckers -John -Douglas -Murray

(front to back)


Offering transport services between Montreal and Toronto. Speedway Transport was doing good business and was taking freight away from the major carriers , Smith Bros. and Kingsway. It was not until late in 1951 that these two major carriers reacted, once they had found that this newly created upstart was taking business from them they began to ask many questions. One reason that these carriers did not react before this was most likely that they were still dealing from the influx of general freight that had come their way during the rail strike. It was not until things settled down and the railways took back their regular customers that Smith and Kingsway noticed they had not managed to retain more of these rail customers for themselves. It must be further noted that Speedway Transport was running the old number 2 highway with vehicles painted in a black and yellow color scheme, a color scheme that was similar to Motorways Transport who had been a well know player running between Ottawa and Toronto.


Finding however that Speedway Transport had never sought a transport permit to carry on business, they became intent on stopping them. One August morning, when the Speedway units began rolling out on the road , both Smith and Kingsway, each send out empty unitsto follow the Speedway units. Once the Speedway units crossed into Ontario, on the old number 2 , the King's Highway, they were overtaken and run off the road , forced to come to a halt.

To Murray and Doug's surprise, they did not know that they needed a transport permit to haul freight, they thought all they needed was a company and licenses for their trucks. Immediately they took themselves before the authorities in order to procure the necessary freight hauling permits, however both Smith and Kingsway Transports presented themselves and opposed the issuing any new permits for freight hauling between Toronto and Montreal ( their territory) . With Speedway's units sitting off the road, the drivers held up with out being able to do move anything, the shipper's calling continually requesting that the freight be delivered, Murray and Doug were forced out of business. Doug Morrison sought out an old acquaintance John Ewasew a lawyer (friend at the time), seeking his advice. With John Ewasew on board, the pair managed to bring this venture to a close with out losing their personal effects.

At this point Speedway Transport Ltd became a failed dream of two fortune seekers .............






BORN AGAIN :

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qc Montreal, Que --- St. John, N.B. NB


st John term

 (Photo compliments of Terry Shorey  Nov 2012  ,  -  Eldon Shorey's unit ready to roll - circa 1960 )

The taste for trucking however remained, Doug and Murray began looking for a new venue, unfortunately, they could not obtain a transport permit between Montreal and Toronto, as few were for sale, and all new permits were being vigorously opposed by the few carriers that were traveling this route, and even more so by the two railways companies who had seen what could happen when the trucking outfits offered their services to their customers, (many who they could not get back after the rail strike ended) . ( at this time there was no deregulation, but very heavy regulation, this very heavy regulation on trucking was political in nature, as the two major railways were not interested in letting their business go to this new wave of truck transport).

The pair heard about a small permit that Motorways Transport had, (this is unconfirmed information as it may have been a permit from a company out of Woodstock N B named back then Highland Tansport, that they were able to purchase), that was not in active use and for the right price could be purchased. This permit however was for transporting merchandise between Montreal and the maritime province of New Brunswick.

After many discussions at Murray's home on Curzon St. In St. Lambert, Que., with Doug Morrison, John Ewasew, and the Clowes brothers it was decided that the purchase of this trucking permit would provide an avenue to solidify their futures. Needing a good contact person in New Brunswick, Murray and Doug had called upon Charles T Palmer, a well known figure in the maritime province of New Brunswick. Mr. Palmer, being an opportunist, requested that he be given the title of President, and that the head office of the company be located in St John N. B. This being agreed to, much to Murray's dislike, the players set off to give this Montreal-Maritime line a run for its money. There was very little opposition against the granting of this permit, one reason being that the permit already existed, the second was that the only real trucking line running in this area was Smith Bros. Transport Ltd.,( Day & Ross Ltd had not yet established itself) thus there was practically a monopoly situation, and thirdly the rail lines did not think trucks were going to be competitive on long runs such as between Montreal, Quebec and St. John and Moncton, New Brunswick.

In order to hedge their bets, the name Speedway was chosen for this new operation, the two had proved themselves responsible to the few clients they had managed to handle on the Montreal - Toronto run and they were hoping that these clients would be willing to use their services on the Montreal-Maritime run . Legally the name Speedway Transport Ltd, could not be used as it had been placed under the Quebec bankruptcy laws ( however the corporate enity of Speedway Transport Ltd. was not deregistered by the gouvernment until 1987.)

On May 15th 1952, Speedway Express Ltd made its appearance, incorporators - Joseph Seldon Hewson, General Contractor, John Ewasew, Advocate and Robert Inglesby Morton, Accountant, all of Montreal , 5,000 common shares without nominal or par value .

Speedway Express Ltd was operated until 1973 under the never diminishing enthusiasm of Murray Macfie  Morrison ( unfortunately  Doug Morrison had passed away in 1966) .

By 1973 Speedway Express Ltd was taken over by Les Entreprises Bussieres Ltee of Quebec City , who owned the trucking companies -  Bellchasse Transport Ltee, and Rimouski Transport Ltee.


1952



They were off and running , the records show land being purchased in Montreal in the name of C T Palmer from H A Sacks in November of 1952, then C T Palmer selling to Speedway Express Ltd and with these transactions a Montreal terminal was opened at 8855 Park Ave. in Park Extension.

( photo taken 2007)

The telephone number became Dupont 1- 6262 , home of Speedway Express Ltd, running between Montreal , Qué and St. John, New Brunswick . The warehouse had four doors, office space and a heated room for fragile goods, all in all about 2,000 square feet. ( Brooke Bond Co. Ltd, the makers of Red Rose Tea, and one of Speedway's largest customers had its Montreal warehouse and operations just down the street).

While the lucrative business between Montreal and Toronto developed at an astronomical speed, the economy in the Maritime Provinces dragged on and on.

Doug and Murray found themselves scrapping the bottom of the pork barrel for every cent of freight they could obtain. From Montreal it was relatively easy to locate goods going outbound to the Maritimes, BUT it was very difficult to get a load back to Montreal. Handicapped by the fact that Speedway was considered more or less a firm from outside the area, Speedway had to prove it's interest in the growth of the Maritimes and not just in the growth of their own profits.

Charlie Palmer as he was called, in the meantime hired Eldon Shorey, Charles Parkinson and Errol Laskey to help run the office from St. John. Frank Donavan was enlisted to delivery freight that would be left at Fredericton and Dick Cook was hired at first to run line haul into Moncton and return back to St. John. ( Eldon Shorey left Speedway to form Midland Transport which was evenutally taken into the Irving Oil family's group of enterprises , Frank Donavan became terminal manager of the Fredericton office, and eventually became operations manager of the Midland Transportation group) ( Dick Cook was promoted to terminal manager of the Speedway Express, Moncton an office which was shared with Eastern Transport and remained with the Speedway organization after it changed ownership in 1973)


They began with one International tractor and a trailer and by the end of the first year of business had acquired two more tractors and three trailers.

Through hard work and a great deal of dedication, Speedway Express Ltd proved that it could provide transportation services that bettered the existing system. They managed to cultivate Maritime customers, such as Brooke Bond Ltd, T McAvity Vale Ltd, Connor's Bros Ltd, T S Simms Ltd, Crosby Molasses Co. Ltd and even the Irving group of companies. It was these valued clients that provided the majority of shipments outbound from St John N.B. and allowed Speedway Express , unlike Day & Ross , who arrived a bit later on the scene, to avoid having to accept loads of potatoes as a main commodity.

Speedway Express was then also able to benefit from the quantity of freight moving to these particular enterprises, as well as all the other general merchandise that was being directed to the ever increasing and developing Maritime provinces. At the time Speedway Express entered into advertising agreements with Brooke Bond, T S Simms, Crosby Molasses and McAvity Vale, several trailer units were painted in the colors of those companies, with their respective logos prominently displayed, the trailer units became rolling billboards as Murray labeled them.






In Montreal, the warehouse and loading area was so small (compared the space in St John) when the trucks began arriving at night, there was no room to move, there was little space to park on Park Ave, the trucks had to circle the block until a place at the loading dock could be freed. This averted getting tickets for blocking the road, while they waited for a free door. In the winter months, the trucks were parked down at the end of the street and sent for as the doors were available. As much as possible Speedway preloaded their few trailer units, and then topped them off with the freight picked up with the city trucks.

The warehouse on Park Ave was built before the concept of palletized shipments, all merchandise was hand bombed off the trucks and into the trailers, and off the trailers on to the trucks. Heavy stuff was moved with the use of a Johnny Bar, and brute force," heave and shove". Long crates were moved using pieces of cut pipes as rollers, hand trucks were in great evidence, as were platforms ( they had two wheels in the back and two fixed land supports in the front, they were moved with a little two-wheeled dolley or horse ). The warehouse floor was unable to support the weight of a tow-motor ,so even once they became a more useful tool in the trucking industry, Speedway was unable to take advantage of them, palletized freight was then moved around using a jigger ( a pallet truck). When they were obliged to off load the lighter freight, that was piled to the front of the trailer, unit rollers were employed, and were passed along on top of the bottom freight as one advanced towards the front of the trailer ( we must remember that most of the unites were from 33ft to 38ft long not like the 53 footers we have today)


Murray's time was now taken more with selling and operations, so Mr. Leslie Mowat was hired on as the company accountant (1956). The building on Park Ave was unfortunately built to handle freight operations, not accounting, so Speedway rented space at 8361 St Laurent St. not too far from the Park Ave warehouse, (
almost across the street from Jarry Park, where the Montreal Expos first began to play baseball ) A need for more funding brought the boys into contact with Mr. Parker, a well known financier in the Maritimes who joined as an executives of the company in 1956, Mr. Parker remained a silent partner until he was bought out in 1966.

Records show that by 1955 the company had attained a gross revenue of some $329,000.00 and were operating a fleet of 21 Units. A new warehouse had been acquired in St. John West at 314 Molson Ave., four loading dock doors and a large four door garage for maintenance of the fleet.

st John term

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(Photo compliments of Terry Shorey - St John  yard 1960

In 1957 it was decided that the time consuming reloading and separating of goods at St. John was costing money, so Dick Cook was asked to become manager of a separate Moncton warehouse, a couple of doors were rented from Eastern Transport to whom most of the Nova Scotia freight was transferred in any case. In Montreal the freight destined for the Moncton area, and Nova Scotia was then loaded in trailers for Moncton N . B.

Early on Bestway Cartage had been contracted to do the Montreal pick ups and delivery, George Best and his best friend and old army buddy Angus ( Mack) Whittiker were running several small 5 ton trucks in the Montreal area for their own account . When Speedway approached them to work full time as their particular carter, a deal was struck , George Best came into the office as city dispatcher and took over from Doug Morrison, allowing Doug to concentrate on other more immediate needs of the growing enterprise.

Financial position 6 months ending January 31st -1958

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Speedway now had three old international tractors in Montreal, and had bought several used B61 Macks to do the line haul, several newer trucks were purchased for the head office operation and those that were in St. John were transferred to Moncton. Doug Morrison had become fleet manager, using the knowledge that he had gained from his years as a mechanic to ensure that Speedway's equipment could meet their needs.

Speedway Express Ltd Operating statement 11 months to June 1958

1958OS

By June 30th 1958 Speedway had hauled 16,299 tons of freight, acquiring a profit of some $28,151.66.

Murray Macfie realizing that if his company was to grow in the manner which he desired, having once encountered the phomenial movement of goods on the Montreal-Toronto run, continued to seek permission to obtain a transport license, for that lucrative business. Counting on the loyalty of the customers Speedway had acquired not only from the Montreal area, but adding the requests of those shippers from the Martime provinces he continually presented himself before the transport boards of Quebec and Ontario seeking permission to extend Speedway Express Ltd's transport permits in this area. More and more opposition blocked his every move, as the other companies feared the intrusion of this particular company for they had once experienced the ferouscity of Murray's desires and were unwilling to let his operation have a second chance at their coveted territory.

In 1958 the first Piggy Back service to the Maritimes was inaugurated, Trailer on Flat Car , Speedway took full advantage of this service, now more trailers could be sent back and forth with out adding additional drivers and tractors which were an expensive commodity to this small business. The wear and tear on the trailer units was reduced leaving more money to develop other ideas . Records show that Speedway moved some 5,214 tons of freight over the piggyback system in its first year of service to St John N.B.



Compliments of the
Canadian Pacific Railway 's Archive

Compliments of
Richard Yaremko
Professional photographer of
trucks, trains
construction equipment & cargo ships


Competition from Smith Transport and D'Anjou Transport, ( who also had begun running into the Maritime area) while very strong was now being over taken by Day & Ross Ltd, an upstart gravel and potato hauling firm which who was merged with Maine Maritime Express Company the transportation arm of McCain Foods Ltd of Florence NB., and who is today the only remaining player of the times. (Another transport company named Highland Transport incorporated in 1953 ,was running during those years originally owned by the MacDonald Bros. of Moncton NB, this firm was purchased by the CPR when it acquired Smith Transport. Over the years Highland Transport changed ownership many times, however it is still running on the Canadian highways, under the Highland name(as of 2005 it belongs to the Transforce group))
(
Midland Transport ,a subsiduary of the Irving Oil group, and a major transporter of Martime freight was not formed until the early 1970's . A merger of several smaller trucking firms including Parent Transport of Edmunston N B.
)

Competition at those times was fierce, as there were very few major shippers of supplies to the Maritimes and fewer shippers for return loads, Speedway would attempt to win over a client that had been one of Smith's and Day & Ross, would follow behind and try to take the shipper from Speedway. The shipper's were courted with all means at hand, Speedway it was rumored supplied a new car to one shipper each year or two, in order to keep the business. At Christmas all shippers were supplied with a vast array of products, including bottles of liquor, trips and of course Hockey tickets. Speedway had as representatives in the off season the famous hockey players Dickie Moore and Doug Harvey. They accompanied the shippers to games of golf, fishing, and when baseball began in Montreal , to those games also, as good will officers of the company. In those days Speedway had box seats at the old Montreal Forum, as did most trucking companies.


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Business was booming, the days were long, the nights even longer, Saturday was a day when the office work could be caught up with, the last parts of the Friday freight could be shipped off, and plans could be reviewed for the next best initiative.

Speedway needed a direct line into Halifax and the rest of Nova Scotia. At present they were transferring all the freight to Eastern Transport, a company owned by the CNR, while their service was not on the whole bad, each shipping revenue had to be split with them and there was constant haggling about how much each would pay if their was a loss or damage. Speedway knew that they would not be able to purchase Eastern Transport from the CNR, even at a reasonable price, as the CNR were missing only the Montreal-Maritime line to complete their road transport operation. The CNR road transport operation was always testing the waters to see if they might be able to pick up another carrier, often they spoke with Speedway, who were not interested in selling and it seems also Day & Ross who were not interested either.( neither company was willing to sell their operations for the deal that the CNR was offering them)( That is until some time in 1980 when the CNR finally managed to lay their hands on Speedway Express Ltd , as they had entered in to an arrangement with Les Entreprises Bussieres Ltée who were then owners of this trucking operation)

During the same period Speedway did some interline connecting with a fair sized company in St. John N.B., named M & D Transfer Ltd., but they were not as reliable as Eastern was when it came to obtaining Speedway's portion of the freight charges. Murray began to assemble his figures to see what could be done with this unfortunate situation.

In 1959 we find a note to the Auditors written by Murray giving instructions on incentive bonuses

Instructions to Auditors 3 Dec 1959

Two thirds of the profits in excess of $20,000 as determined by the company's auditors shall be set aside as management commission and incentive bonuses and this amount shall be appointed amongst the following personnel on the following basis

Charles T Palmer 38.75%
Hardie C Parker 35.00 %
Murray Macfie 26.25%

100%

Signed in our capacity as Directors of Speedway Express Ltd

Charles T Palmer
Hardie C Parker

GMMacfie


(Murray got $2,885.66) (Company profits $36,489 for 1959)


Speedway Express Ltd continued to develop its customer base, however in 1961, Joseph Palmer joined the Day and Ross company and their competition began to effect Speedway in the same way Speedway Transport's had effected the business of Montreal-Toronto carriers some 10 years earlier.


To quote a statement from the book " Joe Palmer, A New Brunswick Entrepreneur "


" Speedway was a big Maritime transport company hauling to Montreal. We'd take a truck Sunday night and haul up there and work all week and bring the truck back on Friday night. To get more freight in Montreal, I'd follow Speedway. When they went to pick up freight at the back door, I went to the front door. I knew it had to be Maritime freight when I saw them picking it up. Following Smith Transfer was a waste of time. They didn't have our eastern freight but Speedway did."

To counter this loss of revenue, and to place Day & Ross in a more defensive position, Speedway Express began taking loads of bagged potatoes for delivery in Quebec and to overseas markets through the port of Montreal. Speedway sought out and offered their transportation services to the Wards originally from Debec, then Grand Falls, and Montreal who acted as produce brokers for many of the potato producing farms who were not dealing with the McCain family, and who would not deal with the Hartland Potato Company, a produce packing firm begun by Joe Palmer and associates. ( The Ward family were living on Curzon St., in St. Lambert, Que around the same time as Murray Macfie, the sons Bill Ward and Doug Macfie attended the same schools)


By 1962 the transportation fleet of Speedway Express Ltd consisted of 5, B-61 Macks , used basically for the long distance hauling between Montreal, St John and Moncton. There were 6 city tractor units and 4 city trucks in St John N.B., two tractors and one city truck in Moncton N.B. and 4 city tractors and 7 city trucks running from the Montreal terminal.. The company had 27 trailers, -
12-33ft units, 7-36ft units, 5-38ft units and 3-40ft units, broken down into 6 heated vans, 6 stake and rack trailers ( could be used as flatbeds) and 15 ordinary dry van units.

The company had moved in 1962 approximately 59,300,000 lbs of freight within their territory ,with earnings of some $728,600.00.


Speedway Express Ltd , Operating statement 11 months to June 30th 1962

1962OS

By June 30th 1962 , 29,648 tons of freight had been hauled by Speedway with a profit of $51,464.11 an increase from 1958




With things running at an ever increasing speed, with costs climbing, and competition knawing at their heels, Murray began to visualize a bigger and stronger corporate entity. One that would allow the transport company to prosper, while at the same time saving taxes and keeping its running cost in the same pockets and possibly allowing the company some edge in obtaining a transport permit into Ontario , if he could not obtain one between Maritimes and Ontario.

He drew up what was titled in 1962 the operational prospectus for - Speedway Terminal Realty Co. Ltd, and Related Companies. This Terminal Realty company was similar to a holding company similar to that which would be finally incorporated in 1966. The holding company was to be put in place to act as a vehicle to obtain liquid funds for distribution to those operating units for which it was to act as management . Under this umbrella Murray then proposed to operate Speedway Express Ltd , a transport company; Chemi Solv Ltd, a boiler cleaning company; Maritime Sales and Service Co Ltd., to sell, repair and probably lease trailer units, ( mostly back to Speedway Express Ltd ) , Golden Era Realty Co. Ltd., an operation that would first buy the terminals that Speedway Express owned, then rent them back to the transport company, as well as buying and selling other industrial sites and finally Atlantic Region Distributing Co Ltd, a unit that was to be used for any projects that might arise through links with a favourite Federal government and its projects for the Atlantic region.

At this particular point in time the three majority partners in Speedway Express Ltd, were not always on the same wave length. While Murray and Charile Plamer appeared to see their future potential in the transport industry , Hardie Parker the silent partner, was more interested in obtaining a return on his investment and thought that Speedway had run long enough , having established itself as a number one player in the Maritime transportation system an that it was time to sell the outfit and reap the rewards. By the establishment of a holding company Murray figured that sufficient funds could be obtained though loans and capitalization that would allow them to buy Hardie Parker out right so they could proceed with the plans and visions they had for Speedway Express Ltd. Unfortunately nothing more happened with this prospectus , that is until 1966.


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Hardie Parker was convinced however for a time to allow Murray and Charlie to progress with their efforts to enhance the operations and finances of Speedway Express Ltd. It was also about this time that Day & Ross with it long history of financial difficulties began looking at overtures from the CNR, but when CNR would not meet the price asked, Elbert Day began talking with a private association of possible financiers some from the Montreal area and others from the Hartland area

( Hardie Parker was well informed of the private dealing going on and was himself possibly involved, after all he was only interested in financial gains, he was not interested in the transportation industry , to him Speedway, Day & Ross, Smith Bros and or any other trucking operation was one in the same.)



From the beginning of Speedway Express Ltd,   Murray and Doug with the guidance of their lawyer John Ewasew, were exposed to the gatherings of the different transportation groups, both shippers associations and truckers associations. A great deal of glad handing was involved at the respective meetings and other social gatherings. John Ewasew was thick in politics ( liberal party politics) and while the government of the day were of his politics, Speedway managed to obtain lucrative transport contracts ( one in particular was to Camp Gagetown New Brunswick ), however once the gouvernment changed, Speedway's opportunities diminished.

Speedway Express Ltd managed to sell its transportation services to several of the large ship brokers, who always found themselves in tight situations when it came time to meet the vessel sailing dates during the winter months . With the rail service to the Port of St John N. B. shipments had to be planned with longer lead times, booking on vessels could not be made on the spur of the moment, customers who wanted to have their merchandise delivered on or before certain dates, were obliged to meet the sailing times of the vessels leaving St John harbour. With the transport system that Speedway was offering, even though at times, at a cost higher than that of the rail lines, the shipping customer was able to cut his lead time, as the trucks would deliver from Montreal in most cases in twenty four hours.

Rush orders could be met with very few problems, vessels which were sailing with a short layover date could be loaded with freight, making it possible for them to obtain revenue where as before they would have sailed with less capacity. Speedway Express was always open to discussing rates for the return loads of imported freight off loaded at the docks at St John , thus providing them with revenue on a round trip.

Again Speedway's biggest problem was the connecting lines to Nova Scotia, the port of Halifax was fast developing an import export trade that was to rival St John, Speedway did not want to miss out. Up to well into 1968 Speedway was at a disadvantage when it came to controlling its destiny in Nova Scotia.

Even though plagued with this Nova Scotia difficulty, ( Speedway had appeared before the Nova Scotia transportation board on many occasions seeking to obtain running rights into the province, and had met with stiff opposition from those carriers who were already established in the Province and who were in most cases already interconnecting with Speedway ) , the company managed to increase its share of the Montreal- Maritime freight transportation market.

As Speedway was proving to be a viable freight hauling firm, more and more customers were using the east bound services. In 1966 another railway strike provided an opportunity for Murray and his group to show the shippers just how valuable road transport could be, there was so much merchandise moving that much of it had to be refused as Speedway wanted to provide top of the line service to its regular customers . Many of the customers were offering much more freight for the Nova Scotia area, that Speedway found themselves seeking partners other than Eastern transport, to handle the increased Nova Scotia freight.

Speedway had on several occasions utilized M & D Transfer Ltd , a small firm running out of St John N B to Halifax N S, however most of the freight sent to M & D had to be on a prepaid basis inorder to ensure that Speedway collected the freight charges. M & D were very slow in remitting their portion of the freight charges, yet their service to Halifax was much better and a bit more reliable than the services offered by Eastern Transport Ltd (
owned by the CNR , they often managed to convey the names of Speedway's clients to the rail firm who attempted to secure the business away from Speedway).

As things developed, and as often found in the trucking industry it was rumoured that the partners at M & D were not always in agreement with the way things should be or could be run. It was decided that Speedway should approach them with a proposition , and if at all possible an agreement could be found then Speedway might be able to finally get itself running into to the Nova Scotia area without having to transfer its freight to an outside line. This would also allow the company to stop using Eastern Transport running the risks of having their customer base hit-on by the CNR, it would also allow Speedway to keep all the revenues earned from the freight charges (both collect and prepaid). Speedway would benefit from an increased trailer base ( M & D 's fleet was in good shape) and they would be able to improve the quantity of west bound movements.




At the year end 1963, Speedway 's Montreal terminal on Park Ave had out lived its usefulness, the volume of freight had increased , the number of trucks, both city pick ups and trailers had increased, the number of employees (along with their cars) had increased, the use of shipping pallets and the size and weight of the individual shipments had changed. The little terminal, with its 4 doors and no yard just frustrated operations . If Speedway was to continue to develop, new premises were required. The management began their search for a new location in the Montreal area, Murray's family who resided on the south shore of Montreal, would very much have liked the new Speedway terminal located close by , but the majority of Speedway's customers had been relocating towards the western section of the Montreal island. Speedway's customer base was now in St Laurent, Dorval, and Pointe Claire ( the West Island) .

Much to the dismay of the Macfie family , ( this was to play a large part in the dissolution of the family at a later date, and eventually came to cause the end of the area of Speedway ) the location chosen for the new Montreal home of Speedway Express Ltd, was 1140 St Amour St, St Laurent Quebec, a site that was in a recently opened subdivision on the back side of the Montreal International airport ( the Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport). Speedway Express Ltd took up occupation of this new location Saturday October 3rd 1964 , it was located directly across from Overnite Express Ltd, an carrier that interlined with Speedway already ( a carrier that was later to be incorporated into the transport group of Les Entreprises Bussieres Ltée by then owners of Speedway) .

1140 St Amour

1140 St Amour St. St Laurent , Quebec

Speedway now had a real cross dock operation, a warehouse that permitted the use of tow-motors , a warehouse with a gantry crane , 6 doors for the trailers ( that were now 40 and 45 feet long 13.5 ft in height and 98 inches wide) , 6 doors on the opposite side for the use of the city trucks, and three doors at the end including one oversize door with an overhead crane. There was a yard that permitted the parking of the trailers, and trucks when not in use, there was a two door garage facility opposite the warehouse , and now there was even room to allow the employees to park their private cars close by .

Speedway had moved up a notch, there was now a lunch room ,a sleeping room with showers , the offices were built to allow the accounting and transport operations to be joined under one roof.. There were now private offices for the management, and spacious offices for the dispatch, billing and rating functions, real improvements over the Park Ave operation.

With a newly built garage Speedway Montreal, could now look after the maintenance of its fleet, rather than having to send its trucks to the St John N B terminal for major repairs, thus cutting the downtime for small repairs that usually had been set out to third-party garages in the Montreal area.

Improvement in operational functions, led of course to increased productivity and lower costs, improved services and more customers , Speedway was now KING of the ROAD, when it came to moving freight between points in the west and the Maritimes.

The management of Speedway began once again their quest of increasing their transport permit rights, now however not only looking towards Nova Scotia , but towards that lucrative Toronto , Ontario market. It was known then by the management that if Speedway was to become a major player in the movement of freight in Canada it would eventually have to move into the Ontario market directly , and could not rely upon the connecting carriers to continue to provide them with freight. Speedway increased their permit applications, both in the province of N.S. and Ont. .Their every growing list of customers backing these applications 100%, as Speedway continued to show that they could delivery when it came to proving transport services . These new applications however, met with intense opposition, rebuffing Speedway's territorial expansion again and again.

In this newly established subdivision many buildings were being put up, both of St Amour St, and on the street called Pittfield one street over. There was a small trucking company named Trove Transport who purchased a loton Pittfield directly opposite Speedway's warehouse, but since the road in and out of their location had not yet been completed, they found Speedway agreeable to opening up the back fence of their lot, to allow the Trove trucks to drive back and forth to get to their warehouse . Trove Transport, its pale blue trucks, had a transport permit similar to that of Speedway's other neighbour , Overnite Transport, running between Ottawa, Ontario, to Montreal and Toronto. ( Trove Transport Ltd's president was William Campbell , the Montreal operations man was Eric Lavalle )

It was not quite the prized direct Montreal-Toronto run that Speedway was looking for, but it was a permit that allowed for operations in the Toronto area ( a location Speedway's management had wanted to get settled in) .

Speedway reached an interconnect deal with Trove, and began transferring the Martime- Ontario freight that was not routed , to Trove. While Trove's permit provided a method of getting freight between Montreal and Toronto, the traveling time was much greater, as the carrier had to travel back up past Ottawa and then on to the main cities of Montreal and Toronto. There was no highway 407 at that time and so the traveling was done on the old number148 in Quebec, passing via Masson, Buckingham, and Hull then on to Ottawa or through Hawkesbury up the 17 to Ottawa , then passing Perth, Peterborough and on into Toronto. More time consuming, more fuel, more stops and often more accidents for the same revenue, however it was one way to beat the main Montreal-Toronto carriers at the game of moving freight.

Speedway of course wanted to sweeten their deal and wanted to control their future, so they courted Trove with the utmost of care , every effort was made to entice Trove to join with Speedway to become one in the same. Trove knew of course that they held all the cards, even though they were a new guy on the block, and held a transport permit that was not quite the best,they knew that thier permit could be used to advantage by a enterprising transport company the likes of Speedway. The final decision, since Trove's management was not in favour of a partnership arrangement as proposed by Speedway , was to ask - HOW Much for an outright purchase. Two million dollars was the asking price for Trove Transport Ltd, if Speedway wanted it.

Needless to say, Trove Transport Ltd, remained on its own until 1973 when it was amalgamated into the Brazeau Transport group of companies, Speedway tried in vain to amass the funds needed to take advantage of the deal that Trove had offered. Speedway's management even approached several other carriers asking them if they would take over Trove's operation until Speedway could get hold of the necessary monies and then they would buy them back . The banking outfits and financial houses , then were not as open minded as they became in the early 70's, when they backed many truck transport company takeovers. Unfortunately once again Speedway's asperations of running to Toronto came to a grounding halt.

With the new warehouse facilities Speedway could now plan it loads better, they developed a drop off service that cut the delivery time to certain customers by half in some cases. Whereas Speedway was loading trailers for shipping over the piggyback services to Fredericton , the St John and Moncton area , freight in the front of the trailers , the Fredericton, Grand Falls,and Edmunston freight on the back , their now biggest competitor Day & Ross was loading all his trailers to Hartland where he would break the freight down , for shipping to St John , Moncton , Fredericton etc.

Speedway having only six highway tractors began experiencing operational problems, they wanted to decrease the use of the piggyback services, which were slow and uncontrolable, and yet did not want the increased cost of a highway operation. It was decided that Speedway would offer to sell its highway Macks to its long haul drivers and provide them with a contract of hauling the Speedway trailers for a fee based on mileage, drop deliveries, insurance, repairs and accidents ( damages) and financial assistance.

Speedway's over the road drivers became what was then labeled - Haulaways - today we call these ladies and gentlemen Owner Operators.

Not all of Speedway's drivers were pleased with situation, some of them could little afford to become a Haulaway, as they lived from pay cheque to pay cheque. The better organized drivers were able to take Speedway up on its offer and made in some cases very good on the deal, some hired those who were unable to buy into the program, so that most of the Speedway's experienced drivers remained with the company. Speedway was able almost immediately to increase the size of its motorized fleet as these new enterperneurs were able to add extra tractors in their contract with Speedway.

The piggyback services of old , were now reserved for loads that did not require rushed deliveries, and the units were now shipped direct with straight loads only, no more mixed deliveries went by train. With the additional power units Speedway was able to pre-route the deliveries , they could deliver Edmunston, Grandfalls, Fredericton and all those places in between right from the highway trailer. They had again bettered their services. Even those loads coming out of the Maritimes provided a faster delivery, to places such as, Quebec, Trois Riviers, Drummondville and in between. In the past Speedway would interline many of these shipments, splitting the revenue with other local carriers, now they could delivery directly and hold onto 100% of the revenue, and they could control the quality of the service, for they could control the driver reasonably well.

As services increased, the customers increased, as the economy boomed, the need for more and more equipment became evident. At the Montreal terminal , Speedway had hired a body-man for the garage, an experienced gentleman who was hired to do the repairs on the trailers, and keep them maintained. Up until this time all repairs on the trailers or bodies ( boxes ) of the city fleet was sent out to Freuhauf, or Highway trailers etc and control of the down time was lost. With these repairs being carried out onsite , Speedway 's down time was cut considerably.While the garage was always occupied , it became evident that a good experienced body man , might be able to do more, so Speedway decided to embark on a trailer building program.

Production was set up to create what were called stake and rack trailers. Flatbed units were built from scratch, in the garage the frames were put together , at times using the wheel assembles from damaged trailers, (but mostly built new) , the floor was screwed in and the unit painted. Wooden racks (
before the advent of fiberglass - this would be another complete story in Murray Macfie's life
) were built on site , the rack poles bent and formed and all assembled by Speedway's own staff. The tarpaulin , a heavy oiled and weather protected covering was the only object of these units to be purchased ready made from W. E .Canning Mfg. . Some 75 units of this type were made to be added to Speedway's fleet .

With the increase in business, and having such positive results from selling of the highway tractors, Speedway's Montreal management decided to do the same with the fleet of city pickup tractors. A deal was made with Herve Lemeuix to take over the services of providing drivers and tractors in Montreal .
Herve Lemieux Ltd was also able to supply some of the city pickup trucks and drivers to the operation. This change in operations provided Speedway with the ability to increase the size of its fleet when needed and to decrease the size when business slowed down as the economy dictated.






One of the more disapointments in the life and time of Speedway Express Ltd. was the fact that as a trucking company they had a hard time each time they attempted to increase their financial fund. Their backers were not overly enthusiastic to plow more money in to the operation, even though there was a steady flow of increased earnings. Each time Murray wanted to get ahead he kept hitting a brick wall of hesitation on behalf of his partners, who were more interested in an immediate return on investment, rather that a larger return on future revenues. Finally it was decided that drastic measure would have to be taken if the operating management of Speedway wanted to take the company forward in leaps and bounds.

 The trailer fleet 1968 :


Murray set out to create a holding firm, a firm which he was going to control, a firm that was going to buy Speedway Express Ltd and allow him to make the decisions he wanted so that the trucking firm would be able to take its rightful place in the industry. in 1966 Momac Ltd was created ( Mowat - Macfie) and Jomurles Realty Company Ltd was created (John- Murray-Leslie). Shares in these companies were offered to all employees of Speedway Express Ltd, thier family members, thier freinds. Money was borrowed from the insurance company, the tire company, the trailer supplier, no stone was left unturned in the search for those willing to embark on this adventure. Murray's plan was to buy out Mr Parker, and get rid of his conservative hold on the finances of the company. Murray also wanted to to take over as President and Chief Operating Officer, he was to retain Charlie Palmer, but in a position of Regional Manager only, his influence on the operation of Speedway was to be diminished.

Year end meeting 1968 Montreal Qc :

Many creative accounting proceedures were undertaken at this time, inorder to make funds available to allow the buy out to take place. Many of these creative accounting proceedures unfortunately led to the downfall of Murray and the sale of Speedway express to Les Entreprises Bussieres in 1973, bringing an end to Murray's dream.

Shareholders of Momac Company Ltd



To be continued...........

List of Employees of Speedway Express ( not all of them but as many as I can remember at this time)

Montreal office .

George Best

Angus Wittacker

Johnny C. Aucoin

Rudy Cappelli

Art Neil

Hervé Lemieux

Leo Bessette

Bobby Phillips

Corky Adams

Kent Malo

Claude Gagnon

Johnny Appolois

Claude Legault

Philip Cockburn

Frank Fuchs

Claude Laplante

Charlie Menard

Omer Roy- (Mechanic)

Ernest Rheume -   ( Trailer man)

Waston Anderson -  (Garage)

Jean Paul Pleau

Claude Keroauc

Maurice Massé

Harry Simpson

Garry Malo Red Malette Rene DuPhilly Charlie Samson

 ( Thanks to Kent Malo  , I have been able to add a few more employees , Kent's help was very much appreciated - 2012)


Office & Administration

Murray Macfie

Douglas Morrison

Leslie Mowat

Arnold Irwin

John Couch

Gaston Roy

Francine Roy

Simonne G. Vincent

Eddy Best

Keith Barber

Norman Singler

Douglas Macfie


Maritime Staff

Charles T Palmer

Eldon Shorey

Charlie Parkinson

Errol Laskey

Richard ( Dick ) Cook

Frank Donnavan

Robert Melanson


Yvonne A Wales

Norman F. Gallant





Highway drivers & Haulaways

Paul A Smith

Ivan Lunn

Steve Hanson

Harry Hunter

Eldon McLean

Harold Fowler

Rex Thorne

Averil Hunter

Eugene Humble

Elwood Dore

Frank Wright

Oakley Shamper

Carman Little

Earl Cormier

Richard McDougall

Peter Smith

Alphonse Hebert Ross A Ainslie Rodrigue St. Hilaire        Marven Arbeau




I am always seeking more information regarding, both the good times and the bad times of this trucking company.
If any one at all would like to share his or her experiences , I would be pleased to include them in this page, I do real
Iize that at times some of the stories are not always good memories, but I would like to be able to recount things as they were, regardless. I, for one , certainly will not dispute any of the stories

Infomation kindly provided by Danny McCracken of Frederiction N B 

Train derailment happened at Eaton, Maine - 27 miles from the New Brunswick border- when
the East bound train struck a truck load of pulp or logs at a level crossing on
Nov 7, 1968.  The truck driver was killed and the leading diesel on the train
rolled over on it's side, and the 3 following diesels,  a dozen or so flat cars with

Speedway, Canadian Pacific  trailers, and box cars derailed.



 
               
              







B 61 MACK....................... CANNONBALL THEME SONG................. Trucking SIM GAM

CANNONBALL the story





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