Monday, November 15, 2004
Announce 2004 Railway Hall of Fame Inductees
Former Prime Minister Sir. John A. MacDonald and Ron E. Lawless of Montreal, former President and CEO of Canadian National Railway, have been named to the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame.
Sir John A. is being recognized as the driving force behind construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway -- the first Canadian transcontinental. Lawless led the team that introduced domestic and, later, international containerization to CN and its freight customers, and successfully prepared the railway for privatization in the mid-nineties.
Today, intermodal transport is the North American railroad industry’s biggest single commodity, and its’ fastest growing traffic segment. Lawless, whose career spanned 52 years, remains active in the community as President and Chairman of the Board of the Montreal not-for-profit Old Brewery Mission -- which has been caring for the community’s destitute since 1889.
He is past-president of VIA Rail Canada and of Bishop’s University, and is a Governor Emeritus of Concordia University.
Other 2004 inductees include Airchime of Langley, B.C. in the technology category. The company has been developing, manufacturing and marketing railway locomotive, industrial and marine sound-signal products for world markets since its’ founding in 1929.
Hall of Fame 2004 inductees in the Heroes category include Intercolonial Railway telegrapher Vince Coleman of Halifax, and retired railroader James J. Sirois of Sept-Îles, P.Q.
Coleman died in service Dec. 6, 1917 while warning two trains en route to Halifax Harbour during the First World War that two ships had collided. One, loaded with munitions, caught fire and exploded, killing 1,639 and injuring 9,000.
Sirois, a retired locomotive engineer, conductor, rules instructor and trainmaster, joined CN in Riviere-du-Loup and later, in 1955, moved to the Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway. He participated actively in the railway’s technological development and continuously upgraded his own skills over the next 36 years, safely operating some of the longest and heaviest iron ore trains in the world.
Edmonton, Alberta is being recognized for its role in planning next year’s 100th Anniversary of the Province and the centennial of the arrival of the Canadian Northern Railway, while McAdam, New Brunswick is being inducted as the historical CPR eastern transcontinental divisional point.
“The inductions are part of a series of annual events and activities that showcase the role that freight and passenger rail plays in Canada’s economy,” said Bruce R. Burrows, Acting President and CEO of the Railway Association of Canada.
The Hall of Fame was launched in 2002 with the support of the RAC’s 60 freight and passenger railways, communities, museums, noted railway historians, corporate sponsors and the public at large.
Work on the concept of a virtual, web-based industry hall of fame to celebrate the achievements of the people and developments in the rail industry began about 2000. Nominations for the awards come from the public.
For additional information on the initiative, visit the Railway Hall of Fame website at www.railfame.ca, or to learn more about the railway industry, click on www.railcan.ca
Canadian Railway Hall of Fame
Railway Association of Canada