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Canadian Pacific Railway

From Academic Kids

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The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR; AAR reporting marks CP, CPAA, CPI), known as CP Rail between 1968 and 1996, is a Canadian Class I railway operated by Canadian Pacific Railway Limited. Its rail network stretches from Vancouver to Montreal, and also serves major cities in the United States such as Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Its headquarters are in Calgary, Alberta.

The railway was originally built between eastern Canada and British Columbia between 1881 and 1885, fulfilling a promise extended to British Columbia when it entered Confederation in 1871. It was Canada's first transcontinental railway. Now primarily a freight railway, the CPR was for many decades the only practical means of long distance passenger transport in many regions of Canada, and was instrumental in the settlement and development of western Canada. Its primary passenger services were eliminated in 1978 after being assumed by VIA Rail Canada. A beaver was chosen as the railway's logo because it is one of the national symbols of Canada and represents the hardworking character of the company. The object of both praise and damnation for over 120 years, the CPR remains an indisputable icon of Canadian nationalism.

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Current network Map of the Canadian Pacific Railway
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An eastbound CPR freight at Stoney Creek Bridge. Photo by David R. Spencer
Contents

History

Before the Canadian Pacific Railway, 1871-1881

Creation of the Canadian Pacific Railway was a task originally undertaken for a combination of reasons by the Conservative government of prime minister Sir John A. Macdonald. British Columbia had insisted upon a national railway as a condition for joining the Confederation of Canada. The government thus promised to build a railway linking the Pacific province to the eastern provinces within ten years of July 20, 1871. Macdonald also saw it as essential to the creation of a unified Canadian nation that would stretch across the continent. Moreover, manufacturing interests in Quebec and Ontario desired access to sources of raw materials and markets in Canada's west.

Sir John A. Macdonald
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Sir John A. Macdonald

The first obstacle to its construction was economic. The logical route for a railway serving Western Canada would be to go through the American Midwest and the city of Chicago. In addition to the obvious difficulty of building a railroad through the Canadian Rockies, an entirely Canadian route would require crossing 1,600 km (1,000 miles) of rugged terrain corresponding to the barren Canadian Shield and muskeg of Northern Ontario. To ensure this routing, the government offered huge incentives including vast grants of land in Western Canada.

In 1872, Sir John A. Macdonald and other high-ranking politicians, swayed by bribes in the so-called Pacific Scandal, granted federal contracts to Hugh Allan's "Canada Pacific Railway Company" (which was unrelated to the current company) and to the Inter-Ocean Railway Company. Because of this scandal, the Conservative party was removed from office in 1873. The new Liberal prime minister, Alexander Mackenzie, began construction of segments of the railway as a public enterprise under the supervision of the Department of Public Works. The Thunder Bay branch linking Lake Superior to Winnipeg was commenced in 1875. Progress was discouragingly slow because of the lack of public money. With the return to power in October 16, 1878 of Sir John A. Macdonald, a more aggressive construction policy was adopted. Macdonald confirmed that Port Moody would be the terminus of the transcontinental railway, and announced that the railway would follow the Fraser and Thompson rivers between Port Moody and Kamloops. In 1879, the federal government called for tenders to construct the 206 km (128 mile) section of the railway from Yale, British Columbia to Savona's Ferry on Kamloops Lake. The contract was awarded to Andrew Onderdonk, whose men started work on May 15, 1880. After the completion of that section, Onderdonk received contracts to build between Yale and Port Moody, and between Savona's Ferry and Eagle Pass.

On October 21, 1880, a new syndicate, unrelated to Hugh Allan's, signed a contract with the Macdonald government. They agreed to build the railway in exchange for $25,000,000 (approximately $625,000,000 in modern Canadian dollars) in credit from the Canadian government and a grant of 25,000,000 acres (101,000 km², around 10,000,000 hectares) of land. The government transferred to the new company those sections of the railway it had constructed under government ownership. The government also defrayed surveying costs and exempted the railway from property taxes for 20 years. The syndicate officially comprised five men: George Stephen, James J. Hill, Duncan McIntyre, Richard B. Angus, and John S. Kennedy. Donald A. Smith and Norman Kittson were unofficial silent partners with a significant financial interest. On February 15, 1881, legislation confirming the contract received royal assent, and the Canadian Pacific Railway Company was formally incorporated the next day.

Building the railway, 1881-1885

It was assumed that the railway would travel though the rich "Fertile Belt" of the North Saskatchewan River valley and cross the Rocky Mountains via the Yellowhead Pass, a route advocated by Sir Sandford Fleming based on a decade of work. However, the CPR quickly discarded this plan in favour of a more southerly route across the arid Palliser's Triangle in Saskatchewan and through Kicking Horse Pass over the Field Hill. This route was more direct and closer to the American border, making it easier for the CPR to keep American railways from encroaching on the Canadian market. However, this route also had several disadvantages.

One consequence was that the CPR would need to find a route through the Selkirk Mountains, as at the time it was not known whether a route even existed. The job of finding a pass was assigned to a surveyor named Major Albert Bowman Rogers. The CPR promised him a cheque for $5,000 and that the pass would be named in his honour. Rogers became obsessed with finding the pass that would immortalize his name. He found the pass on May 29, 1881, and true to its word, the CPR named the pass "Rogers Pass" and gave him the cheque. This however, he at first refused to cash, preferring to frame it, and saying he did not do it for the money. He later agreed to cash it with the promise of an engraved watch.

Another obstacle was that the proposed route crossed land controlled by the Blackfoot First Nation. This difficulty was overcome when the missionary Father Albert Lacombe persuaded the Blackfoot chief Crowfoot that construction of the railway was inevitable. In return for his assent, Crowfoot was famously rewarded with a lifetime pass to ride the CPR. A more lasting consequence of the choice of route was that, unlike the one proposed by Fleming, the land surrounding the railway often proved too arid for successful agriculture. The CPR may have placed too much reliance on a report from naturalist John Macoun, who had crossed the prairies at a time of very high rainfall and had reported that the area was fertile.

The greatest disadvantage of the route was in Kicking Horse Pass. In the first six km (four miles) west of the 1,625 metre (5,330 ft) high summit, the Kicking Horse River dropped 350 metres (1,150 ft). The steep drop would force the cash-strapped CPR to build a seven km (4.5 mile) long stretch of track with a very steep 4.5% gradient once it reached the pass in 1884. This was over four times the maximum gradient recommended for railways of this era, and even modern railways rarely exceed a 2% gradient. This section of track was the CPR's legendary Big Hill. Safety switches were installed at several points, the speed limit for descending trains was set at 10 km per hour (six mph), and special locomotives were ordered. Despite these measures, several serious runaways still occurred. CPR officials insisted that this was a temporary expediency, but this state of affairs would last for 25 years until the completion of the Spiral Tunnels in the early 20th century.

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Sir William Cornelius Van Horne

In 1881 construction progressed at too slow a pace for the railway's officials, who in 1882 hired the renowned railway executive William Cornelius Van Horne, who was recruited to oversee construction with the inducement of a generous salary and the intriguing challenge of handling such a difficult railway project. Van Horne stated that he would have 800 km (500 miles) of main line built in 1882. Floods delayed the start of the construction season, but over 672 km (417 miles) of main line, as well as various sidings and branch lines, were built that year. The Thunder Bay branch was completed in June 1882 by the Department of Railways and Canals and turned over to the company in May 1883, permitting all-Canadian lake and rail traffic from eastern Canada to Winnipeg for the first time in Canada's history. By the end of 1883, the railway had reached the Rocky Mountains, just eight km (5 miles) east of Kicking Horse Pass. The construction seasons of 1884 and 1885 would be spent in the mountains of British Columbia and on the north shore of Lake Superior.

Many thousands of navvies worked on the railway. Many were European immigrants. In British Columbia, the CPR also hired workers from China, nicknamed coolies. A navvy received between $1 and $2.50 per day, but had to pay for his own food, clothing, transportation to the job site, mail, and medical care. After two and a half months of back-breaking labour, they could net as little as $16. Chinese navvies in British Columbia made only between $0.75 and $1.25 a day, not including expenses, leaving barely anything to send home. They did the most dangerous construction jobs, such as working with explosives. The families of the Chinese who were killed received no compensation, or even notification of loss of life. Many of the men who lived did not have enough money to return to their families in China, and many spent years in lonely, sad and often poor condition. But those navvies were hard working and played a key role in building the western stretch of the railway; even some boys as young as 12 years old served as tea-boys.

By 1883, railway construction was progressing rapidly, but the CPR was in danger of running out of money. In response, on January 31, 1884, the government passed the Railway Relief Bill, providing a further $22,500,000 in loans to the CPR. The bill received royal assent on March 6, 1884.

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Donald Alexander Smith drives the Last Spike

In March 1885, the North-West Rebellion broke out in Saskatchewan. Van Horne, in Ottawa at the time, suggested to the government that the CPR could transport troops to Fort Qu'Appelle in 11 days. Some sections of track were incomplete or had not been used before, but the trip to Winnipeg was made in nine days and the rebellion was quickly put down. Perhaps because the government was grateful for this service, they subsequently re-organized the CPR's debt to the government and provided a further $5,000,000 loan, money desperately needed by the CPR. On November 7, 1885 the Last Spike was driven at Craigellachie, British Columbia, making good on the original promise. While the railway was completed four years after the original 1881 deadline, it was completed over five years ahead of the new date of 1891 that Macdonald gave in 1881.

The successful construction of such a massive project, although troubled by delays and scandal, was considered an impressive feat of engineering and political will for a country with a small population, limited capital, and difficult terrain. It was by far the longest railway ever constructed at the time.

Meanwhile, in Eastern Canada, the CPR had created a network of lines reaching from Quebec City to St. Thomas, Ontario by 1885. The CPR had effected purchases and long-term leases of several railways through an associated railway company, the Ontario and Quebec Railway (O&Q), who also built a line between Perth, Ontario and Toronto (completed on May 5, 1884) to connect these acquisitions. The CPR obtained a 999-year lease on the O&Q on January 4, 1884.

1886-1900

So many cost-cutting shortcuts were taken in constructing the railway that regular transcontinental service could not start for another seven months while work was done to improve the railway's condition. However, had these shortcuts not been taken, it is conceivable that the CPR might have had to default financially, leaving the railway unfinished. The first transcontinental train arrived at Port Moody on July 4, 1886. By that time, however, the CPR had decided to move its western terminus from Port Moody to a hamlet that was renamed "Vancouver" later that year. The first official train to Vancouver arrived on May 23, 1887, although the line had been in use for three months before that. The CPR quickly became profitable, and all loans from the Federal government were repaid years ahead of time.

In 1888, a branch line was opened between Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario where the CPR connected with the American railway system and its own steamships. That same year, work was started on a line from London, Ontario to the American border at Windsor, Ontario. That line opened on June 12, 1890. The CPR also acquired several small lines east of Montreal; it also leased the New Brunswick Railway for 999 years, and built the International Railway of Maine, connecting Montreal with Saint John, New Brunswick in 1889. The connection with Saint John on the Atlantic coast made the CPR the first truly transcontinental railway company and permitted trans-Atlantic cargo and passenger services to continue year-round when sea ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence closed the port of Montreal during the winter months.

By 1896, competition with the Great Northern Railway for traffic in southern British Columbia forced the CPR to construct a second line across the province, south of the original line. Van Horne, now president of the CPR, asked for government aid, and the government agreed to provide around $3.6 million to construct a railway from Lethbridge, Alberta through Crowsnest Pass to the south shore of Kootenay Lake, in exchange for the CPR agreeing to reduce freight rates in perpetuity for key commodities shipped in Western Canada. The controversial Crowsnest Pass Agreement effectively locked the eastbound rate on grain products and westbound rates on certain "settlers' effects" at the 1897 level. Although temporarily suspended during World War I, it was not until 1983 that the "Crow Rate" was permanently replaced by the Western Grain Transportation Act which allowed for the gradual increase of grain shipping prices. The Crowsnest Pass line opened on June 18, 1899.

1901-1928

During the first decade of the twentieth century, the CPR continued to build more lines. In 1908 the CPR opened a line connecting Toronto with Sudbury. Previously, westbound traffic originating in Southern Ontario took a circuitous route through Eastern Ontario.

Several operational improvements were also made to the railway in Western Canada. In 1909 the CPR completed two significant engineering accomplishments. The most significant was the replacement of the Big Hill, which had become a major bottleneck in the CPR's main line, with the Spiral Tunnels, reducing the grade to 2.2% from 4.5%. The Spiral Tunnels opened in August. On November 3, 1909, the Lethbridge Viaduct over the Oldman River valley at Lethbridge, Alberta was opened. It is 1,624 metres (5,327 ft) long and, at its maximum, 96 metres (314 ft) high, making it the longest railway bridge in Canada. In 1916 the CPR replaced its line through Rogers Pass, which was prone to avalanches, with the Connaught Tunnel, an eight km (five mile) long tunnel under Mount Macdonald that was, at the time of its opening, the longest railway tunnel in the Western hemisphere.

The CPR acquired several smaller railways via long-term leases in 1912. On January 3, 1912, the CPR acquired the Dominion Atlantic Railway, a railway that ran in western Nova Scotia. This acquisition gave the CPR a connection to Halifax, a significant port on the Atlantic Ocean. The Dominion Atlantic connected to the CPR at Saint John with its own ferry service across the Bay of Fundy. DAR steamships also provided connections for passengers and cargo between Yarmouth, Boston and New York. On July 1, 1912, the CPR acquired the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway, a railway on Vancouver Island that also connected to the CPR by car ferry. The CPR also acquired the Quebec Central Railway on December 14, 1912.

World War I broke out in 1914. The CPR devoted resources to the war effort, and managed to stay profitable while its competitors struggled to remain solvent. After the war, the Federal government created Canadian National Railways (CNR, later CN) out of several bankrupt railways that fell into government hands during and after the war. CNR would become the main competitor to the CPR in Canada.

The Great Depression and World War II, 1929-1945

The Great Depression, which lasted from 1929 until 1939, hit many companies heavily. While the CPR was affected, it was not affected to the same extent that its rival CNR because it, unlike the CNR, was debt-free. The CPR scaled back on some of its passenger and freight services, and stopped issuing dividends to its shareholders after 1932.

One highlight of the 1930s, both for the railway and for Canada, was the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to Canada in 1939, the first time that the reigning monarch had visited the country. The CPR and the CNR shared the honours of pulling the royal train across the country, with the CPR undertaking the westbound journey from Quebec City to Vancouver.

Later that year, World War II would begin. As it had done in World War I, the CPR devoted much of its resources to the war effort. It retooled its Angus Shops in Montreal to produce Valentine tanks, and transported troops and resources across the country. As well, 22 of the CPR's ships went to war, 12 of which were sunk.

1946-1978

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The CP Rail logo (1968-1996)

In 1968, as part of a corporate re-organization, each of the CPR's major operations, including its rail operations, were organized as separate subsidiaries. The name of the railway was changed to CP Rail, and the parent company changed its name to Canadian Pacific Limited in 1971. The company discarded its beaver logo, adopting the new Multimark logo that could be used for each of its operations.

After World War II, the transportation industry in Canada changed. Where railways had previously provided almost universal freight and passenger services, cars, trucks, and airplanes started to take traffic away from railways. This naturally helped the CPR's air and trucking operations, and the railway's freight operations continued to thrive hauling resource traffic and bulk commodities. However, passenger trains quickly became unprofitable.

During the 1950s, the railway introduced new innovations in passenger service, and in 1955 introduced The Canadian, a new luxury transcontinental train. However, starting in the 1960s the company started to pull out of passenger services, ending services on many of its branch lines. It also discontinued its transcontinental train The Dominion in 1966, and in 1970 unsuccessfully applied to discontinue The Canadian. On October 29, 1978, CP Rail transferred its passenger services to VIA Rail, a new federal Crown corporation that would be responsible for managing all intercity passenger service formerly handled by both CP Rail and CN.

1979-present

In 1984 CP Rail commenced construction of the Mount Macdonald Tunnel to augment the Connaught Tunnel under the Selkirk Mountains. The first revenue train passed through the tunnel in 1988. At 14.7 km (nine miles), it is the longest tunnel in the Americas.

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Soo Line 6022, an EMD SD 60, pulls a train through Wisconsin Dells, WI, June 20 2004.

During the 1980s, the Soo Line, in which CP Rail still owned a controlling interest, underwent several changes. It acquired the Minneapolis, Northfield and Southern Railway in 1982. Then on February 21, 1985, the Soo Line obtained a controlling interest in the Milwaukee Road, merging it into its system on January 1, 1986. In 1987 most of CPR's trackage in the Great Lakes region, including much of the original Soo Line, were spun off into a new railway, the Wisconsin Central, which was subsequently purchased by CN. Influenced by the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement of 1989 which liberalized trade between the two nations, the CPR's expansion continued during the early 1990s: CP Rail gained full control of the Soo Line in 1990, and bought the Delaware and Hudson Railroad in 1991. These two acquisitions gave CP Rail routes to the major American cities of Chicago (via the Soo Line) and New York City (via the D&H).

During the next few years CP Rail downsized its route, and several Canadian branch lines, including all of its lines east of Montreal (including the entire line to the port of Saint John), were either sold to short lines or abandoned. Both CP Rail and CN attempted unsuccessfully to buy out the eastern assets of the other, so as to permit further rationalization.

Finally, in 1996, reflecting the increased importance of western traffic to the railway, CP Rail moved its head office to Calgary from Montreal and changed its name back to Canadian Pacific Railway. A new subsidiary company, the St. Lawrence and Hudson Railway, was created to operate its money-losing lines in eastern North America, covering Quebec, Southern and Eastern Ontario, trackage rights to Chicago, as well as the Delaware and Hudson in the U.S. Northeast. However, the new subsidiary, threatened with being sold off and free to innovate, quickly spun off losing track to short lines, instituted scheduled freight service, and produced an unexpected turn-around in profitability. After only four years, CPR revised its opinion and the StL&H formally reamalgamated with its parent on January 1, 2001.

In 2001, the CPR's parent company, Canadian Pacific Limited, spun out its five subsidiaries, including the CPR, into independent companies.

Freight trains

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An old CPR caboose on display at Brockville, Ontario

Over half of the Canadian Pacific Railway's freight traffic is in coal, grain, and intermodal freight. It also ships automotive parts and automobiles, sulfur, fertilizers, other chemicals, forest products, and other types of commodities. The busiest part of its railway network is along its main line between Calgary and Vancouver.

Since 1970, coal has become a major commodity hauled by CP Rail. Coal is shipped in unit trains from coal mines in the mountains, most notably Sparwood, British Columbia to terminals at Roberts Bank and North Vancouver, from where it is then shipped to Japan. The CPR hauls over 34 million tons of coal to the west coast each year.

Grain is hauled by the CPR from the prairies to ports at Thunder Bay, Ontario (the former Fort William) and Vancouver, where it is then shipped overseas. Grain has always been a significant commodity hauled by the CPR; between 1905 and 1909, the CPR double-tracked its section of track between Fort William and Winnipeg to facilitate grain shipments. For several decades this was the only long stretch of double track mainline outside of urban areas on the CPR.

In 1952, the CPR became the first North American railway to introduce intermodal or "piggyback" freight service, where truck trailers are carried on flat cars. In 1999, the CPR introduced a short-haul intermodal service between Montreal and Detroit, called Expressway.

Passenger trains

Until the end of World War II, the train was the primary mode of long-distance transportation in Canada. Among the many types of people who rode CPR trains were new immigrants heading for the prairies, troops heading to war (especially during the two World Wars) and upper class tourists. To encourage tourism, the CPR built several hotels. It also custom-built many of its passenger cars at its Angus Shops so as to be able to meet the demands of the upper class.

After World War II, passenger traffic declined as automobiles and aeroplanes became more common, but the CPR continued to innovate in an attempt to keep ridership up. On November 9, 1953, the CPR introduced Budd Rail Diesel Cars, called "Dayliners" by the CPR, on some of its branch lines. On April 24, 1955, the CPR introduced a new luxury transcontinental passenger train, The Canadian. The train provided service between Vancouver and Toronto or Montreal (east of Sudbury, Ontario, the train was in two sections). The train was pulled by diesel locomotives, and used new, streamlined, stainless steel rolling stock.

Starting in the 1960s, however, the railway started to discontinue much of its passenger service, particularly on its branch lines. For example, passenger service ended on its line through southern British Columbia and Crowsnest Pass in January 1964, and on its Quebec Central in April 1967, and the transcontinental train The Dominion was dropped in January 1966. On October 29, 1978, CP Rail transferred its passenger services to VIA Rail, a new federal Crown corporation that was now responsible for intercity passenger services in Canada.

In addition to inter-city passenger services, the CPR also provided commuter rail services in Montreal. CP Rail introduced Canada's first bi-level passenger cars here in 1970. On October 1, 1982, the Montreal Urban Community Transit Commission (MUCTC) assumed responsibility for the commuter services previously provided by CP Rail.

Special trains

Silk trains

Between the 1890s and the 1940s, the CPR transported raw silk cocoons from Vancouver, where they had been shipped to from the Orient, to silk mills in New York and New Jersey. A silk train could carry several million dollars worth of silk, so they had their own armed guards. To avoid train robberies and so minimise insurance costs, they travelled quickly and stopped only to change locomotives and crews, which was often done in under five minutes. The silk trains had superior rights over all other trains; even passenger trains would be put in sidings to make the silk trains' trip faster. At the end of World War II, the invention of nylon made silk less valuable so the silk trains died out.

Funeral trains

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Funeral train of Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald

Funeral trains would carry the remains of important people, such as prime ministers. As the train would pass, mourners would be at certain spots to show respect. Two of the CPR's funeral trains are particularly well-known. On June 10, 1891, the funeral train of Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald ran from Ottawa to Kingston, Ontario. The train consisted of five heavily draped passenger cars and was pulled by 4-4-0 No. 283. On September 14, 1915, the funeral train of former CPR president Sir William Cornelius Van Horne ran from Montreal to Joliet, Illinois, pulled by 4-6-2 No. 2213.

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King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at Hope, British Columbia

Royal trains

The CPR ran a number of trains that transported members of the royal family when they visited Canada. These trains transported royalty through Canada's beautiful scenery and small towns and enabled people to see and greet them. Their trains were elegantly decorated; some had amenities such as a post office and barber shop. The CPR's most notable royal train was also the last one it would run, in 1939.

In 1939 the CPR had the honour of giving King George VI and Queen Elizabeth a rail tour of Canada, from Quebec City to Vancouver. This was the first visit to Canada by a reigning Monarch. The steam locomotive used to pull the train was numbered 2850, a Hudson (4-6-4) built by Montreal Locomotive Works. Specially painted in silver and blue, the locomotive ran 3,224 miles across Canada, through 25 changes of crew, without engine failure. The King, somewhat of a railbuff, rode in the cab when possible. After the tour, King George gave the CPR permission to use the term "Royal Hudson" for these locomotives and to display Royal Crowns on their running boards. This applied only to the semi-streamlined locomotives (2820-2864), not the "standard" Hudsons (2800-2819).

School cars

Between 1926 and the early 1960s the CPR ran a school car to reach people who lived in Northern Ontario, far from schools. A teacher would travel in a specially designed car to remote areas and would stay to teach in one area for two to three days, then leave for another area. Each car had a blackboard and a few sets of chairs and desks. They also contained miniature libraries. These school cars were useful in spreading education and literacy.

Holiday Train

Starting in 1999, the CPR ran a Holiday Train along its main line during the months of November and December. The train celebrates the Christmas season and collects donations for community food banks. The holiday train also provides publicity for the CPR and a few of its customers.

Royal Canadian Pacific

On June 7, 2000, the CPR inaugurated the Royal Canadian Pacific, a luxury excursion service that operates between the months of June and September. It operates along a 1,050 km (650 mile) route from Calgary, through the Columbia River Valley and Crowsnest Pass, and returning back to Calgary. The trip takes six days and five nights. The train consists of up to eight luxury passenger cars built between 1916 and 1931 and is powered by first-generation diesel locomotives.

Steam Train

In 1998, the CPR repatriated one of its former passenger steam locomotives that had been on static display in the United States following its sale in January 1964, long after the close of the steam era. CPR Hudson 2816 was redesignated "Empress 2816" following a 30-month restoration that cost in excess of one million dollars. It was subsequently returned to service to promote public relations. It has operated across much of the CPR system, including lines in the United States. It has been used for various charitable purposes, the most significant of which has been to raise awareness of the need to provide children with a nourishing breakfast to aid their learning in school. One hundred percent of the money raised goes to the nation-wide charity Breakfast For Learning — the CPR bears all of the expenses associated with the operation of the train.

Locomotives

Steam locomotives

In the CPR's early years, it made extensive use of American 4-4-0 steam locomotives. Use was also made of 4-6-0 and 2-8-0 locomotives, particularly in the mountains.

Starting in the 20th century, the CPR used a large number of 4-6-2 Pacific locomotives and 4-6-4 Hudson locomotives, which were used both in both freight and passenger service. The CPR bought Pacifics between 1906 and 1948. The CPR's best-known Hudsons were the class H1 Royal Hudson, semi-streamlined locomotives that were given their name because one of their class hauled the Royal Train carrying King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1939 across Canada without change or failure. That locomotive, No. 2850, is preserved in the Exporail exhibit hall of the Canadian Railway Museum in St. Constant (Delson) Quebec. One of the class, No. 2860, was restored by the British Columbia government and used in excursion service on the British Columbia Railway between 1974 and 1999.

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CPR Selkirk locomotive No. 5915

In 1929, the CPR received its first 2-10-4 Selkirk locomotives, the largest steam locomotives to run in Canada. Named after the Selkirk Mountains where they served, these locomotives were well suited for steep grades. They were regularly used in passenger and freight service. The CPR would own 37 of these locomotives, including number 8000, an experimental high pressure engine. The last steam locomotives that the CPR received, in 1949, were Selkirks, numbered 5930-5935.

Diesel locomotives

In 1937, the CPR acquired its first diesel-electric locomotive, a custom built one-of-a-kind switcher numbered 7000. This locomotive was not successful and was not repeated. Production model diesels were imported from American Locomotive Company (Alco) starting with five model S-2 yard switchers in 1943 and followed by further orders. In 1949 Alco FA1 road locomotives (8 A and 4 B units)and 5 RS-2 road switchers were all delivered. In 1948 Montreal Locomotive Works began production of Alco designs. In 1949, the CPR acquired 13 Baldwin locomotives for its isolated Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway, and Vancouver Island was quickly dieselised. Following that successful experiment, the CPR started to dieselise its main network. Dieselisation was completed eleven years later, with its last steam locomotive running on November 6, 1960. The CPR's first-generation locomotives were mostly made by General Motors Diesel and Montreal Locomotive Works, with some made by the Canadian Locomotive Company.

CP was the first railway in North America to pioneer AC traction locomotives, in 1984. In 1995 CP turned to General Electric GE Transportation Systems for the first production AC traction locomotives in Canada, and now has the highest percentage of AC locomotives in service of all North American Class I railways. As of 2004, 507 of the CPR's 1,622 locomotives are AC.

The Canadian Pacific Railway in Canadian culture

The construction of this railway is celebrated in the popular song by Gordon Lightfoot, The Canadian Railroad Trilogy. The story of the railway's construction was most famously told in popular history books by Pierre Berton, The National Dream and The Last Spike, which were adapted into a popular CBC television series called The National Dream.

References

See also

External links



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