Steam-Powered Railways In Canada

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As historian George Stanley wrote in The Canadians, "Bonds of steel as well as of sentiment were needed to hold the new Confederation together. Without railways there would be and could possibly be no Canada." Canada's railway network is the fifth largest in the world and railways provide the safest means of ground transportation in Canada. The development of steam-powered railways in the 19th century made transportation better in Canada and was important to the building of a nation. Railways played an important role in the process of industrialization, opening up new markets and tying regions together, while at the same time creating a demand for resources and technology. In the 1870’s railway engineer Sir Sandford Fleming split the Earth …show more content…
In Canada, a railway of this type may have been used as early as the 1720s to haul quarried stone at the fortress of Louisbourg. By the 1920s, the Canadian Northern, Grand Trunk Railway, and Grand Trunk Pacific were brought together to form the Canadian National Railways (CNR). This has prompted significant changes at both the Canadian National Railway and the Canadian Pacific Railway, including the privatization of CN in 1995 and the streamlining of operations at CP. Both railways are important carriers of bulk commodities in North America. The development of steam-powered railways in the 19th century revolutionized transportation in Canada and was integral to the act of nation building. By 1844 the promotion of railways called "The Mania" was under way.
The railway “Mania” was Creating a demand for fuel, iron and steel, locomotives, and rolling stock. The pioneer wood-burning locomotives required great amounts of fuel, and "wooding-up" stations were required at regular intervals along the line. The "Last Spike" was driven on 7 November 1885 and the first passenger train left Montréal in June 1886, arriving in Port Moody, BC, on 4 July. The CPR also had a huge effect on the settlement of the Prairie West, and new cities, from Winnipeg to Vancouver, were heavily dependent on the
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Many branches sprouted in the West, of which the most important was the Canadian Northern Railway. Entrepreneurs invested in the manufacture of almost everything that went into the operation of the railway, and railways had a positive effect on levels of employment. Some small towns became railway service and maintenance centers, with the bulk of the population dependent on the railway shops; as an example, the Cobourg Car Works employed 300 workers in 1881. The railway also had a huge impact on the physical characteristics of Canadian cities: hotels and industries were built around tracks, yards, and stations, making the railway a central feature of the urban landscape. The railway greatly enlarged engineering, particularly with the demand for bridges and tunnels. The building of the transcontinental perhaps provided for Canada the closest approximation of a heroic

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