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Industry Achievement
Winnipeg, Manitoba (2009)

CPR's Winnipeg Yard (early 1950's) Winnipeg would have remained a small Prairie village except for the pluck of its citizens. Originally, the Canadian Pacific was to cross the Red River at Selkirk where the river was narrower and the ground less prone to flooding. However, Winnipeggers voted in 1879 to build a $300,000 bridge over the Red River and provide station grounds for the CPR to persuade the Dominion government to shift the crossing and place Winnipeg on the transcontinental line. It also made Winnipeg the terminus for the CPR branch being built from Emerson on the U.S. border.

Two years later, the citizens voted to provide the railway with grounds for freight yards and a perpetual exemption from taxation if the railway made their community a divisional point and site for their railway shops. These actions led to Winnipeg becoming the largest city in the province, the distribution centre for the Prairies and a major target for railway builders.

CPR's Winnipeg Station (1899)The arrival of the Northern Pacific Railway subsidiary, the Manitoba & Northern Pacific Railway, broke the CPR monopoly when it reached the city in 1888. The acquisition of the M&NP by the Canadian Northern in 1901 laid the groundwork for the expansion of the Canadian Northern into a transcontinental line from Montreal to Vancouver.

The Grand Trunk Pacific made the city its eastern terminus as it built to Prince Rupert, while its sister line, the National Transcontinental Railway, built to Quebec City and Moncton, New Brunswick from Winnipeg. By 1915, Winnipeg was on three transcontinental railways, all of which had their major shops and yards in or near the city.

Winnipeg's Historic Union Station - a masterpiece of the old Canadian Northern Railway system - continues to serve VIA Rail's transcontinental passenger ervice, and the regional service from Winnipeg to ChurchillModern day Winnipeg remains an important centre for Canada's two transcontinental railways, VIA Rail Canada services and for short line railways such as the Central Manitoba Railway which have operations within the city.

A westbound CN trains crosses the Assiniboine River at the Forks in downtown Winnipeg - July 2009.  The Fort Garry Hotel, built by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, is seen in the background right




VIA Rail Canada's Canadian is seen at Winnipeg's historic Union station in November 2007






Photos : 1- 2 CP Archives    3-5 K.M. Smith

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