Last spike driven to complete railway

It was on this day in 1913 that the last Spike was driven at the Québec boundary to mark the completion of Québec division of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railroad (GTPR).

This became the last leg of the National Transcontinental Railway (NTR) from Prince Rupert to Moncton via Winnipeg, Sioux Lookout, Kapuskasing, Cochrane and Québec City. This stage of the project was started in 1903 and only the $40 million Québec Bridge – the largest cantilever span in the world – remained unfinished.

As a result, Canada now had three transcontinental railways: the CPR, the Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR) from Vancouver to Nova Scotia, and the GTPR/NTR system.

The major cost overruns of the NTR/GTPR construction had led to the downfall of Laurier’s Liberals in 1911.

The new Borden government eventually amalgamated the lines into the Canadian Government Railways (CGR) in 1915, and the CGR and the bankrupt CNoR merged into Canadian National Railways (CNR) on December 20, 1918.

For more details on the history, click here.

In 1951, Canada Post released a four-cent stamp showing the trains of Canada between 1851 and 1951.

The lower stamp shows an old-fashioned wood-burning steam-engine train while in the top right corner is one of the first streamlined diesel electric locomotive manufactured in Canada at the Montreal Locomotive Works in April, 1950, for the Canadian National Railways.

coinThe Royal Canadian Mint, in 1981, issued a collector’s silver dollar to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the approval by the Canadian government to build the Trans-Canada Railway.

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