The untold history of two giants of early-twentieth-century Canadian railroading.
A chronicle of the all-too-brief shipping ventures of two of Canada’s great transcontinental railways of the early twentieth century: The Grand Trunk Pacific and the Canadian Northern Railways.
A variety of vessels helped to build and serve these two railways, including sidewheel, sternwheel, and propeller steamers, tugboats and barges. Rail ferries and car floats towed by tugboats were used to transfer railway cars between isolated points on the mainland of B.C. and Vancouver Island. Passenger and merchant ships served B.C., Alaska, Washington State, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, and Canadian Maritime and European ports. These vessels were operating before navigational aids, in a time of frequent groundings, shipwrecks, and sinkings that often claimed lives.
These same steamship lines played an important role in World War I, when many Canadian vessels were provided to the British Admiralty to ferry men and war supplies. Numerous troopships and freighters were torpedoed, and Canadian Northern’s entire transatlantic fleet was virtually obliterated.
Illustrated with contemporary photographs and drawings, this book pays tribute to these two Canadian railway greats, which blazed the trail for today’s largest Canadian railway, the Canadian National Railway.