This archived Web page remains online for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. This page will not be altered or updated. Web pages that are archived on the Internet are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats of this page on the Contact Us page.
Canadian Government Railways, 1895
One of the resolutions adopted by the Québec Conference leading to Confederation, was that the Intercolonial Railway be constructed to complete the railroad connection between Halifax and Québec City. Linking the Province of Canada (now Ontario and Quebec) to the Maritimes was seen as essential for the success of the union, and would give Nova Scotia and New Brunswick their desired access to the United States. The idea appealed to politicians and capitalists alike. The construction of the completely government-owned and operated line proved to be the country's biggest public works project of the century.
The project was popular locally because of the employment it provided, but it created resentment in Upper Canadians who were footing most of the bill yet receiving little benefit. After completion of the original line under Sandford Fleming, acquisitions were made to extend the line to Montréal.
In 1897, the Intercolonial and three other government-owned lines were grouped under the umbrella of the Canadian Government Railways, later to form part of the Canadian National Railways (CNR).
Intercolonial Railway of Canada, 1890, cover and map
Intercolonial and Prince Edward Island Railways, 1910, cover and title page
New Brunswick Railway, engine 12
In 1870, Alexander Gibson founded The New Brunswick Land & Railway Company (later the New Brunswick Railway). Northwestern New Brunswick was a relatively prosperous area, rich in natural and mineral resources. Gibson had extensive land holdings along the St. John River and knew that a railway, especially during the months when the river was frozen, would more easily, reliably and cheaply transport lumber within the colony and to Canada.
The original narrow gauge line was opened from Gibson (opposite Fredericton) to Edmundston. The company built, bought and leased other lines to build a much larger network, spreading within New Brunswick and to Maine. The gauge was standardized in the 1880s and, in 1891, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) leased the line for 999 years. K.C. Irving bought the company after the Second World War, primarily for its land holdings.
New Brunswick Railway, 1881, cover, frontispiece and title page
Visit the website ARCHIVED - The Kids' Site of Canadian Trains