Pacific railway

At first, the idea of construction was considered just reckless youth, and, indeed, it was one of the most daring decisions in the history of railways. But then its implementation played an important role in the development of Canada. It all started in 1867, when the country's eastern provinces united in a confederation. To the west of them lay boundless prairies and unexplored mountains. Behind them, on the Pacific coast, was British Columbia, whose authorities hesitated for a long time which country to join: the United States or Canada. In 1872, British Columbia nevertheless entered the confederation, but under the condition that a transcontinental railway be built within the next ten years. In 1881, construction work began under the direction of William Van Horne, an American of Dutch descent. He once began his career as a humble telegraph operator of the Illinois Central Railroad. The path through the prairies was paved very quickly, in just 15 months. Construction and assembly trains moved west from the supply base in Winnipeg, each of which was loaded with building material for exactly one mile (1.6 kilometers) of the new road. We needed rails and sleepers, then telegraph poles and equipment for bridges. The Indians came up, looked at the workers. Squatting, they marveled at the "fire engine", which actually meant the end of their quiet life. But in the Rocky Mountains, railing was incomparably more difficult. Behind the small village of Calgary, the railroad had to go along the shore of the Bow River. At first, things moved pretty fast, for example, on one stretch of 600 feet, that is, 183 meters, the tracks were laid at a record speed - almost five minutes. But then, in order to advance through the Kiking Horse Pass (1628 meters), a team of 12,000 people was required. In addition, more than once had to build bridges across the Kiking Horse River. According to the original plan, the railway was supposed to go along the Columbia River. But a surveyor named A.V. Rogers found a convenient pass (later named after him) in the Selkirka Mountains, which reduced the line by 240 kilometers. Due to the danger of avalanches, large sections of the canvas had to be protected by canopies from snow, and later a tunnel was dug in the most dangerous section. A bridge was erected over Stony Creek on 61-meter wooden stilts - at that time the highest bridge in North America. Over the Shasuep Sea, the road, winding, went through the mountains of the Coast along the wild, almost impassable Fraser Canyon. The branch was planned to be completed at Port Moody on the Barred Inlet, but at the insistence of Van Horne it was extended to the place where Vancouver stands today. The name, by the way, was also chosen by Van Horn. So Vancouver - the most important port on the west coast of North America, owes its existence to the railway. The railway opened to new settlers Central and Western Canada. Winnipeg grew and became wealthy due to the railway and the mass of people who moved on the prairie. The city of Regina found its present shape also thanks to the railway. Its name, which means “queen” in Latin, was given to this city in honor of Queen Victoria in 1882, when the first train arrived there. Banff, the first large tourist destination in the Rockies, was named after the president of the Canadian Pacific Railroad, a Scot from Banfshire. After a hundred-plus years, in 1990, traffic on this railway stopped. The entire length of the single track between Montreal and Vancouver was 4,633 kilometers.