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With the advent of a transcontinental railway in the 1880s, need for accurate train schedules and timetables became apparent. The problem was that clocks were set by the position of the sun, and each town set its own clock. This resulted in several time differences even, for example, between Montréal and Toronto. Sandford Fleming changed this. Already known for his surveying and railway engineering skills, Fleming invented the notion of "standard time." This idea divided the world into twenty-four zones measured against the time set in Greenwich, England. It revolutionized travel and communication and is the system still in use today.
Sir Sandford Fleming
Canadian Pacific Railway, 1886. Telegraph lines were erected simultaneously with the construction of the CPR
Canadian Pacific Railway telegram to Sir John A. Macdonald, regarding the Northwest Rebellion of 1885
The telegraph was also instrumental to the smooth operation of the railway network. Telegraphers could send and receive essential information on changing daily railway conditions and schedules. Although the telegraph had been invented some years earlier, rapid transcontinental communication was not possible until telegraph lines were erected. These lines were erected with, and followed the route of, the Canadian Pacific Railway.
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