Special Report on . . .

Public Freightways Limited

Public Freightways
Public Freightways, White Freightliner and its Columbia trailer loaded with 6,000 gallons of gasoline destined for the Okanagan Valley passes over an International tractor and new Brantford trailer inbound from the Fraser Valley with a 15-ton load of Pacific Milk at the approach to New Westminster's Patullo Bridge.

Here is the sixth in a new "Motor Carrier" series of Special Reports on Western Canada's most progressive truck and bus companies-firms which annually roll millions of miles of modern motor transport.

Co-ordination Is Keynote Of Story of Freightways

KEEPING tab on over 132-million pounds of freight yearly, in small lots totalling approximately 600-odd shipments per day out of Vancouver alone, and directing the annual transportation of over 12-million gallons of bulk petroleum products, demands a high degree of control of operations. To achieve the necessary coordination of effort, Freightways has built up a well-trained staff. organized strategically-placed terminals throughout the territory it serves, provided them with the necessary tools to do the job, and given them expert .supervision.

Operations Control -- In addition to holding an interest in the Rural Truck Lines' terminal, in Vancouver. PFL owns outright, five smaller truck terminals located in Cloverdale, Abbotsford, Hope, Princeton, and Kamloops.

Terminal facilities at Chilliwack, Agassiz, Langley, Haney, and White Rock, are leased, but the staff in each of the rented terminals consists of Freightways personnel.

The Vancouver, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Hope, Princeton. and Kamloops terminals are in constant contact with head office by teletype, the remainder being controlled by telephone.

PFL People -- Cloverdale Terminal Manager Tom Dent, Senior, is President of the company; Gordon Winton, Assistant General Manager at Vancouver is Vice-President; and Louis Stevenson, who commands the White Rock operations, is Secretary. Other directors include General Manager J. C. Vanderspek, Superintendent Jack Winton, of the Heavy-Hauling Division, Haney Manager Jock Anderson, and Harry Black, chief of the key Abbotsford terminal.

Terminal managers at Chilliwack, Princeton, Kamloops, Hope, Langlcy and Agassiz, are W. (Bill) Drader, John Vanderspek, Tom Dent Jr., Ervin Lightbody, Stewart Kippen, and Ken Stanley, respectively.

Rounding out the supervisory staff are Cy Fishburne, in charge of Claims and Personnel, and Comptroller E. (Ted) Eaton, both of whom are located at the head office in the Rural Truck Lines' terminal, in Vancouver.

Under the supervision of two Rural Truck Lines' dispatchers - Frank Coles, and Mrs. R. Peacock-some 600 calls for LTL pickups are handled each day over the battery of 'phones in the Vancouver terminal.

Calls for the pickup of "large marks" which can be most economically handled by the "line-haul" trucks are handed over to Freightways' Dispatcher, Jack Winton. (Many of the "line" trucks are well on their way to being loaded by the time they reach the terminal in Vancouver, where they merely have to be finished off, a method which would be impractical for longer line-haul operations where large semi-trailer equipment is employed.)

Speeding Work -- To facilitate the work of Dock Foreman W. Hector and his ten-man crew, the messenger who makes the bank deposit each day picks up the bills of lading from the trucks engaged in pickup and deliver throughout the city. These bills are left at prearranged locations for the messenger's collection and are processed before the trucks start to arrive at the terminal, about four o'clock in the afternoon.

Between four and seven, in the evening, is the rush period for Rate Clerk Bill Waterston and his staff. Though they are able to get a few of the bills cut before four o'clock, the great mass of the 600 pros have to be produced after that time.

One copy of the bill of lading is used by the rating clerk and attached to the customers' copy of the pro-bill, and one copy is used by the dock foreman for assembling shipments and loading trucks.

Labor-Saving Idea -- Handling of the largest-volume single commodity which the company transports into Vancouver-thousands of cases of canned "Pacific Milk" from Delair to the City-is simplified by an agreement which Public Freightways has made with the major receivers for standardization and interchange of loading pallets.

Under the standardization agreement, McGregor Warehouses and grocery wholesalers - Malkins, Kelly-Douglas, Overwaitea, and Macdonald's (Safeway)-each built a prearranged number of pallets and put them into a "pool" within which they can circulate. Each pallet is marked with the name of the owner and is easily identified.

Public Freightways
     . . . motive power
Public Freightways
     . . . check valve

Profile Of Management

The top management team of "Freightways" represents decades of experience in motor freight operations, and of service to the trucking industry.

James C. (Jim) Vanderspek, General Manager of Public Freightways Ltj-, and his "right bower" Gordon Winton-Assistant General Manager and Vice-President of the company -make a balanced top management team.

On the one hand, Vanderspek is an expansionist, with a tremendously active imagination and, at times, almost uncontrollable enthusiasm, "Gordie" Winton, on the other, is controlled and inclined to be almost overly cautious in outlook.

Co-ordination of the qualities and capabilities of the two men is well known to all who have dealings with the company, insofar as daily operations are concerned. And the company's representation in trucking and general business organizations follows the same pattern.

General Manager Vanderspek, a Past President of the BC Automotive Transport As,,ociation, has held a high place in Association affairs for many years, and has achieved an enviable reputation as a fighter for what he thought was right for the trucking industry. He also represents his company on the Vancouver Board of Trade, and is active in Rotary affairs.

Vice-President, and Operations Manager, Winton, is an active member of the Fleet Supervisors' Association.

Both men have had extensive experience in the trucking business, extending back to their childhood, Vanderspek having cut his teeth in the motor transport business more than thirty years ago, in his father's garage in Holland, while Gordon Winton is one of the three trucking sons of trucking veteran Daniel MacMillan Winton, owner of the Vancouver-Abbotsford public freight service before its absorption into the PFL family.

Diversification Is Featured In PFL Operations

TOPPING a million dollars in gross revenue per year, employee-owned Public Freightways Ltd., of Vancouver, ranks as the largest short linehaul trucking company West of the Great Lakes. And, strangely enough, it started as a full-fledged, though struggling young giant.

Started With Boom -- Formed in the great "boom year" of the intercity trucking industry-the year following the great railway strike of 1950--Freightways was a unique experiment. It represented the biggest merger in the history of British Columbia's motor transport history, involving nine operating motor freight lines and trucks, trailers and terminals valued at upwards of a half million dollars.

Heading the alphabetical list of carriers who submerged their individual identities, in the interests of greater economy, efficiency and service to shippers, was Anderson Freight Line.

Other lines, whose names are almost forgotten, included Chilliwack Cartage, Crescent Beach Transfer, Hume Truck Lines, Lake Freight Line, Surrey Freight Line, Vanderspek's Transportation, Winton's Transfer, and While Rock Transfer. All were prominent names in the early postwar trucking industry, and represented services which blanketed the lowlands of the Fraser Valley-Vancouver's "bread-basket" - excepting Richmond, Ladner, and Mission.

Also disappearing from the Lower Mainland trucking scene-though only as an indirect result of the big merger-was Johnston Storage Ltd.'s Red Ball line. The former business of the BC Electric's Consolidated Truck Lines in the Valley was taken over by Johnston's in 1949, but the experiment in line-haul did not pan out. They were happy to transfer their business to Freightways, for a consideration, and to concentrate their efforts on their warehousing and local cartage business.

Red Ball Ltd. is today only a name on the list of subsidiaries of sprawling, publicly-financed Johnston Terminals Ltd.

Co-operative Background -- There is a long history of co-operative effort behind the Freightways of today.

Though it was only two years ago that the company was purchased by the employees, the amalgamation of 1951 represented a form of co-operative ownership. And even before that time there was a considerable pooling of resources and services, through membership in Rural Truck Lines, the co-operatively owned trucking terminal in Vancouver.

Diversification -- In addition to the short-haul, scheduled motor freight services operated between Vancouver and practically all points in the Lower Fraser Valley-between New Westminster and Hope-Freightways operates regular, daily freight service between Vancouver and Princeton.

Rounding out its business, the company tanker fleet ranges over the Okanagan and Cariboo, moving hundreds of thousands of gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel each month; their "heavy-hauling" division carries machinery and construction equipment, and lumber, between Vancouver and ,,any point in British Columbia"; special vehicles and personnel are assigned to the wide-ranging explosives hauling division; and the Princeton Branch operates a ninety-mile "cant" hauling contract, from portable mills in the Glimpse Lake area to the finishing mill, at Princeton.

Public Freightways

The "Rural" Terminal

DATING back to 1917, when a handful of Fraser Valley truck operators banded together to open a trucking terminal at the corner of Georgia and Cambie Streets, in Vancouver, Rural Truck Lines Co-operative Association, has had a long history of service to the Lower Mainland.

Rural moved to Water Street in 1924, then back to Cambie, between Robson and Georgia, and finally to the present location, on Charles Street, in 1947.

Public Freightways is still a member of Rural. In addition, the terminal co-operative association includes Black's Motor Freight, Delta Freight Lines, Fraser Transfer, Mission City Freight Lines, Oliver Transfer, and White Transport.

Secretary of the Co-operative is Gordon Winton, of Public Freightways.

PF PRESIDENT Tom Dent and Ass'n/ President Bill Waterson
     . . . the employees take over the reins.

Novel Financing Scheme Retrieved Struggling Firm

PLAGUED from its inception by financing difficulties, Public Freightways Ltd. reached an impasse early in July, 1955, when urgently needed funds for capital expenditures could not be obtained from any of the normal sources. The only way out seemed to be sale of the company. But trucking was in the blood of the management, and the bulk of the employees were loyal to the group of men who had brought it together, and they searched for a practical alternative.

Hearing of a method employed by the Tacoma transit company, whereby the identity of the company was retained, and refinancing was accomplished through a term purchase agreement with their employees, the directors of Freightways hit upon a similar plan which was accepted by their employees, and the imminent collapse of the struggling company was averted.

First In Canada -- The agreement hammered out by the directors of Public Freightways Ltd. and the Public Freightways Employees Association providing for acquisition of ownership of the company under a time payment plan financed out of wages and profits, was the first of its kind in Canada.

Effective on July 15th, 1955, the contract will run until 1961, at the present rate of payment. But if the company declares dividends, or the employees increase their rate of payment to the Trustee-Montreal Trust -the Freightways employees will be able to take over full control before that time.

With the exception of some part. time and temporary employees, all Freightways' personnel are members of the Association and share equally in the hazards and benefits of the plan.

A special "reserve" takes care of employees who may wish to leave the company. The value of their contribution to the trust fund is calculated and the fund pays off the departing member.

Working Arrangement -- During the period the shares are "frozen" in the hands of the trust company, a management committee made up of the former owners of the company's shares operates Freightways by consent of the Association.

Headed by Thos. Dent, President of Public Freightways Ltd., the Board of Directors includes General Manager J. C. Vanderspek, Traffic Manager W. G. Winton, and L. R. Stevenson, Branch Manager at White Rock. A representative of the Association also holds a place on the Board.

Board Power Limited -- By the terms of the agreement with the Employees' Association, the directors of the company cannot liquidate assets of the corporation, purchase capital assets, or assume mortgages or other fixed liabilities, without the consent of the Association.

Scheme Worked -- Despite the fact that employee-purchase plan was no "Open Sesame" to the money lenders of the world, it is a fact of history that the arrangements made such a good impression on the bankers and equipment suppliers that the company was able to do what had to be done to assure continued operation.

Old, high-maintenance-cost equipment was replaced with new, modern units, and the whole accounting department was reorganized and set up with the latest of bookkeeping machines.

During the past two years of the experiment" the company has proven the worth of the plan and looks to the future with enthusiasm and confidence.

"Financing operations, let alone expansion, is the biggest single problem in the trucking industry today," says General Manager J. C. (Jim) Vanderspek. "We haven't found a final answer for everyone in the business but we have found one that suits our peculiar problem."

Employee - Owners

INCORPORATED under the BC Societies Act, on July 8, 1955, the Public Freightways Employees Association-now having a total membership of 89 employees-is represented by a Board of Trustees.

President of the Board is W. R. (Bill) Waterston, Freightways' freight rate expert; Vice-President is W. A. Moul, a driver; salesman Gordon Philbrook is Secretary; and Treasurer is driver A. C. Brown.

The other members of the Board are: W. Hector, Vancouver warehouse foreman; E. Heron, office assistant at Abbotsford; driver Ed Dyer, of Agassiz; drivers E. Humble, L. Kroeker, and H. Smith, of Cloverdale, Hope, and White Rock, respectively; and S. Kippan, Branch Manager at Langley.

All members of the Association hold equal shares, and the Montreal Trust Company acts as trustee of the shares until all are paid for.

Union Relations -- Although many of the members of the Employees Association are also members of the Teamsters' Union, contract negotiations are carried on with the union in the same manner as in other companies where ownership and control is normal.

One re-negotiation of the Union contract has already been carried out since the consummation of the employees' agreement to purchase the company, and despite the apparent incongruity of the situation, increased wages were granted.

Oddly enough, two members of the executive of the Employees Association are active members of the Teamsters.

"We anticipate no particular difficulties arising out of this situation," says Association President Bill Waterston. "As a matter of fact, the Union seems happy with the situation, and the record of the Tacoma experiment -on which ours was patterned-indicates no cause for concern on the part of either the Association or the Union."

Refinancing Gave Freightways Enviable Group of Modern Rigs

SPARKED into activity by the 1955 agreement which resulted in strengthening of the company's financial standing, Freightways has built up an enviable fleet of modern trucks and trailer equipment.

During the past two years 50 new International trucks have replaced the well-worn, high-mileage vehicles with which the company struggled to kee on schedule before they got their "new lease on life."

Also added to the fleet have been two 1956 Kenworth tankers, one Freightliner (added to two obtained before 1955 and still in the fleet), and one International FC405 tanker.

Recent purchases also included eight new Brantford trailers-four flatdecks and four vans.

Maintenance Garage -- Day-today maintenance work and servicing of the company's freight trucks is carried out at the Vancouver terminal. Major maintenance, truck body-building, and everyday maintenance of the diesel tankers is done at the company's garage at Hope under the supervision of Ervin Lightbody, Maintenance Superintendent and Hope Branch Manager.

Tankers operating out of the Kamloops Branch are serviced at the Kamloops tenninal, but are sent to the Hope garage for major work.

Overall supervision of purchasing and maintenance throughout the company's operations is one of the many chores which fall on the shoulders of Gordon Winton, in Vancouver.

Public Freightways
     . . . Freightliner leaves Vancouver terminal

Rich Lowlands Of The Fraser Are Served By PFL's Big Fleet

Public Freightways

STRETCHING from the river mouth to the towering mountains of the Coast Range-about seventy miles - and from the International Border to the narrow, arable, north shore of the Fraser, "The Valley" covers approximately 700 square miles of some of the most beautiful country in the world.

The climate is temperate; the farmlands support lush crops of small fruits, berries, potatoes, fodder crops, and fat, high-producing milk cows; and, though the bulk of the merchantable timber is now receding into the valleys of the Pitt and Harrison tributaries of the Fraser, the Fraser Valley was once covered with some of the finest forests found on the Pacific Coast.

Logging and lumber manufacture still play a highly important part in the industry of the Valley, especially on the north bank of the river and at the eastern extremity, but it is no longer the dominant force in the life of its people, as it was in the early years of the century.

Urban Encroachment -- The western end of the Valley is gradually being built up with new housing developments springing up almost over night. The country store at Whalley's Corner, no longer stands alone on the hilltop overlooking the Fraser, opposite New Westminster. It is lost in the town of Whalley, amongst super-markets, gas stations, motels, and the other evidence of city life.

White Rock, a sleepy summer resort before the War, is a bustling new city, as is the new city of Langley.

And with these manifestations of urban encroachment, have come secondary industries. A tank manufacturing business which ships its products all over the world straddles the Trans-Canada Highway near Fry's Corner; a paint manufacturing concern, a production-line engine-rebuilding plant, and a machinery manufacturing company are located in the Langley district; and milk processing plants are located at Delair, near Abbotsford, and at Sardis. There are rumors that large Eastern manufacturers are interested in locating branch operations in both Surrey and Langley, further industrializing these former purely rural municipalities.

Haney, Mission, Abbotsford, Cloverdale, Agassiz, and the former "capital" of the Valley, the City of Chilliwack, are bursting with new growth, and with the energy of new people.

Modern Rural Life -- With electricity services readily available, with good main highways, and the promise of better rural roads, and the advent of natural gas just a matter of months away, the people and industries of the Fraser Valley are well served by modern conveniences.

And one of their most valued services is their enviable transportation system, the chief components of which are the freight lines of Public Freightways Ltd., and the network of bus lines operated by Pacific Stages.

It is a common occurrence for the people of Chilliwack to receive merchandise from Vancouver stores quicker than it can be delivered in the city of Vancouver itself.

This country, and the villages of Hope and Princeton-anchor towns of the Hope-Princeton Highway--look to Public Freightways to supply their general, intercity transportation needs. And they are well and truly served.

Two Decades Ago

"I can remember a long time, I guess it must be over twenty years ago, when there was a young broken down Cog Grinder by the name of James Vanderspek, he used to drive up and down the Old Fraser Canyon like a fiddle string and quite often he used to have his beautiful young wife June Vanderspek riding with him. Everyone just used to love June, and of course we all had to like Jimmy a little bit because he was her husband. But ninety nine percent of the deal was June.

I remember once when the Liberals and Conservatives were running in an election a few years ago, Jimmy started his own party down in Hope and I was plugging for the Liberals. (Hope Premier Bennett don't see this.) I bet Jimmy Vanderspek a case of Lambs Rum and I would wheel him up the main street of Hope in a wheel barrel if his party won. Well as it turned out my party won and the good sport paid off his debt.

The only thing I didn't appreciate, was that Jimmy brought the whole town of Hope with him and drank up most of my Rum. If you can just shut your eyes for a few minutes and see Vanderspek barefooted and just in his pants pushing Old Cog in the Wheel Barrell, with a case of rum in his lap, up the Main Street of Boston Bar and with a Provincial Police escort if you please; and the good lookin' Gal in the left hand corner is Jimmy's lovely wife. Can I say more."


Freightways' Mountain Route Has Long, Colorful History

Public Freightways
     ... still hazardous

UNRIVALLED in scenic beauty, the Hope-Princeton Highway winds through the verdant mountain scenery of the Coast Range, up the valleys of the Sumallo and Skagit Rivers, through Allison Pass, at an elevation of over 4,200 feet above sea level, and follows the headwaters of the Similkameen until it emerges on the benches at Princeton.

Its history dates back to 1846, when Alexander Caulfield Anderson was commissioned by the Hudson's Bay Company to locate a road from the Fraser Valley through the Hope mountains to Kamloops.

At that time, a century ago, two routes were investigated - one via Fort Langley, Harrison, Anderson and Seton Lakes to Lillooet, through Marble Canyon and Cache Creek to Kamloops. The other started at Hope and wound through the mountains to Kamloops via Merritt, the present location of the Kettle Valley Railway.

It was not till 1910 that the question of constructing a road between Hope and Princeton was seriously considered. A reconnaissance survey by Cleveland & Cameron investigated two routes-one via Hope Pass-an elevation of 6,000 feet, and one via the Silver Creek route. The latter route was adopted and construction was started in 1911 from the Princeton and Hope ends. Some $180,000 was expended, but construction was discontinued due to lack of funds.

Another survey was made in 1919. Estimated cost of construction was placed at modest $856,000. No construction was undertaken, however, until 1929, when the Hope-Princeton Road was adopted as an Unemployment Relief Project.

But again lack of funds and high construction costs delayed work, and it was not until after the end of hostilities of World War 11 that surveys were completed for a highway of modern design.

Work was further delayed when heavy construction equipment ordered in 1945-was not delivered to the Public Works Department until the spring of 1948.

Sculptured through a country whose description demands superlatives, the highway provided, throughout its construction, a succession of king size problems for men to solve. Each was in turn, overcome, but the worst of them confronted engineers with some stupendous tasks. One took the form of a hole to be filled-65 feet deep, and 100 feet across. What it swallowed was about 83,000 cubic feet of material, which, in turn, added up to a lot of bites for the old fashioned 2 1/2-yard shovel, operating about 16 hours a day.

Nor was that the worst job to be handled. Some of the obstacles met along the way had been there since the ICE Age. Skagit Bluff, for instance. Solid rock, and too stubborn to move. Neither would the engineers deviate. They couldn't have, anyway, even if they hadn't been just as stubborn as the Bluff. The 200-foot vertical cut, 1,300 feet long cost $230,000 - a small fraction of what it would cost to-day.

Finally opened by BC's Premier "Boss" Johnson, on November 2nd, 1949, the new road was heralded by government advertising as "shortening the distance from the teeming cities of the Coast to the Okanagan Valley by one hundred miles, and the time by hours."

Almost a decade later the road stands as a monument to the vision of the men responsible for its building, and, as great truck fleets ply the route summer and winter on a standard ten-hour schedule for the 250 miles from Vancouver to Penticton, few remember the hub-deep struggles over the old route through Spence's Bridge and Merritt. And high-powered cars stroll over the mountain in a conservative, easy-going six hours.

Completion and opening of the short route to the Southern Interior sparked the greatest upsurge in intercity motor transport in the history of the province-but that is another story!

Whipsaw Studied

COMMENTING on a story in June MOTOR CARRIER regarding the construction and use of "Escape Ramps" on dangerous hills in California, J. A. Legarra, Design Engineer for the State Highways Division of the Department of Public Works says:

"The so-called truck escape ramp on Highway 99, near Bakersfield was constructed on a major truck route where the number of commercial vehicles average about 3,100 per day. It is near the foot of five miles of descending grade at a point where some runaway truck type accidents had been experienced."

Still Experimental -- Records of the State Highways Division show that 21 trucks have used the ramp to prevent loss of control of equipment during the eight months it has been in operation.

It is proposed to operate this ramp for some time in order to determine its value on the over-all safety conditions on Highway 99. At the present time, though, the California Highway engineer is of the opinion that more information will have to be collected before he can say that the construction of the truck ramp has been justified.

No further construction of escape ramps in other locations is contemplated "in the immediate future" the California highways expert says.

Canadians Interested -- Under severe pressure from the Princeton, and other Boards of Trade in the Interior, to take action to improve conditions on the Hope-Princeton's Whipsaw Hill, the BC Department of Highways will study the experiments in the South.

Last month three people were killed on the Whipsaw grade when a semi-trailer ran away and turned over on a private automobile. Further loss of life occurred when a private car drove off one of the hill's dangerous curves.

"We are going to write to the California State Highway Department to see if we can pick up information in regard to the use of escape ramps," says Deputy Minister Evan Jones, of the BC Department of Highways.