I opened up my album with the original postcards that belonged to my grandmother.
One hundred and twenty five years ago on November 7th 1885. . .
the Canadian Pacific Railway was finished.
The last spike was set in a place most of us have never heard of. . Craigellachie. .a few kilometers west of Eagle Pass between Revelstoke and Sicamous, BC. The line that was started in the east. .finally was connected to the line that started in the west.
Apparently it was a bone chilling day.
The dignitaries came out of their private rail cars just in time to take the honour of hammering in the last spike.
It is said. .that Donal A Smith the eldest of the directors for CPR was given the honour.
He bent the first spike. .was given a second one which he successfully nailed in but then promptly replaced it by a third to prevent souvenir hunters from grabbing the spike.
Once the line was complete luxury hotels were built by CPR and they also created a steamship line to bring people to the country. I suppose that is when tourism in Canada had it's beginnings.
Though the scenery along the Canadian Pacific Railway is something to behold the entire width of the country. .I haven't seen it further than Ontario.
It is British Columbia that I am most familiar with . .particularly the Fraser Canyon.
The train trip across the country is indeed a wonderful one, but sad to say - it is no longer possible to travel in the comfort of a sleeper from west to east. The train now only goes from Vancouver to Toronto. Any further travel means changing to a day liner to Montreal and then to the Ocean, another day liner, to Halifax. Trains used to criss cross the country, truly unifying it in a way that planes don't. My parents come west from Ottawa every year by train, but must go to Toronto to catch it! I looked at the Via site, which is offering 50 percent off tickets, bringing the 'single upper birth' option for cross country to over $600 - a bit steep for the average Canadian. I wish our government of the day hadn't been so quick to divest the country of the steel rail that unified us for so long! Via Rail is neither CN nor CP, and if we don't pay attention it will disappear completely.ReplyDelete
That was very interesting, Lovella. I enjoy reading about trains and their history.ReplyDelete
When hubby and I started searching family through genealogy, we found old letters from his 2nd great grandfather, who was an engineer on the The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway here in the states. His letters were written to his wife as he traveled the west as an engineer. Very interesting reading!
Taking a cross Canada rail ride is on our retirement list. Perhaps we will do it together.ReplyDelete
PS Your post cards are wonderful. Won't the grandson have fun learning some history with them someday?ReplyDelete
A nostalgic look at a mode of travel that has all but disappeared. Great post.ReplyDelete
I think you might have a few takers...for your 'bloggers cross the country by rail' tour!
Wouldn't that be something..riding the rails and picking up friends as you go. What fun that would be!ReplyDelete
Thanks for the history lesson Lovella.
Those are fabulous vintage post cards!ReplyDelete
My husband was born in southern Italy. Nine years ago he and I and our children (who were both college students at the time) visited Italy and rode the train system there from the very most southern point to almost the northern border, visiting his aunts, uncle and cousins in towns and cities along the way. It was wonderful!
I would love to do another cross country trip like that here one day, although I think it would be very expensive. European train fares seem to be much more economical than US or Canadian trains.
well now - how are you going to visit PEI if you stick to the rails?? We don't have any trains. Our railroad tracks are all hiking trails now so you could shift to bikes :) The last train service was 1989. I wish we still had them.ReplyDelete
Cool postcards! This must be the week for them - I have one that I'm going to show on Friday Faves.
Thanks for the wonderful post....my grampa was a train master at the end of the line railroad in the UP of Mich. Yep, I'm a UPer, eh!!ReplyDelete
Oh, to take my grands on a train trip, would be wonderful.
Anyway, I loved the postcards and the info. about the RR in CANADA...
Now that's a great idea and dream to go from coast to coast on the rails...ReplyDelete
I love these old historical post cards ...so cool...
Something tells me that you would not have any trouble picking up friends along any route that you would find yourself on. Old railroads have always intriqued me. I like the old postcards and the way you shared about their history. I would have that on my bucket list too.ReplyDelete
It's been one of my goals to ride the rails from East to West one day. I just called CPR headquarters today in Calgary, Alberta as Nan'll not be needing any more retirement checks.ReplyDelete