On November 21, 1903, the Pennsylvania Railroad announced that its north-south through trains would no longer enter Broad Street Station in downtown Philadelphia and would stop instead at West Philadelphia. Nor would the company sell tickets from that station to downtown. These schedule changes, which seemed minor to the company and were intended to reduce congestion in the central city, threatened downtown merchants and manufacturers who worried that buyers would shift to more accessible cities. Philadelphia had been sidetracked, the North American reported. The result was an eruption of boycotts, protests, and petitions that pitted nearly every local trade association against the railroad. Encouraged by the North American's editorials, partisan reporting, and stinging cartoons, the protesters forced the Pennsylvania to back down, and in March 1904, through trains returned to Broad Street. The newspaper cloaked this local business dispute in the language of antimonopoly, linking the fears of small businessmen to national anti-railroad concerns. The sidetrack episode also helped launch modern corporate public relations, as the Pennsylvania—stung by this threat to corporate autonomy—soon hired Ivy Lee as its first publicity agent.