Welcome to this train excursion on the Canadian Pacific Railway in this beautiful month of May 2005. Throughout our trip, you will be able to admire the majestic scenery. You will also see some of the marvels of engineering. From a technological standpoint, it is said that for the time, building this train track was as hard as sending a man into space was in 1960.

This railway crosses Canada from east to west. It was completed in 1885, ending British Columbia’s isolation from the rest of Canada. Goods were now able to be quickly transported from one end of the country to the other, where they were then exported to the U.S. east coast and across the Atlantic.

The route itself had been the subject of numerous studies in an effort to find the best way to cross the mountains at the lowest possible cost. Moreover, it was necessary to determine what would be the train’s final destination. Vancouver was chosen because of its immense potential as a port city. Even back then, it was easy to see that one day train travel would become a very popular and profitable means of transportation.

The construction of the railway was incredibly difficult. Many workers were hired, including many men from China. These workers had to clear and level the ground before the railway tracks could be laid. They had to dynamite tunnels through the mountain rock. Nothing stopped them. But building the railway was dangerous work. Its construction was marked by several accidents that killed many men, most of them Asian. These accidents included fires, disasters, landslides and explosions.

Today, we are proud and happy to have such a quick and efficient means of transportation for carrying goods and people safely and comfortably from one end of Canada to the other.

I wish you a pleasant journey.

Author: Service national du Récit de l’univers social

Learn more about the railways construction on our page: Building the railway on occupied, mountainous land

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