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The Story of Manitoba
Chapter XLVI The Increase of Transportation Facilities

The trade routes of a country and the sites of its cities are generally determined by nature rather than by the deliberate plans of its inhabitants. This has been true in Manitoba. Long before the Indians came to the country, routes of travel and trade had been marked for them by the forces of nature. The Red River, Lake Winnipeg, and the Nelson River afforded a line of communication between the broad valley of the Mississippi on the south and the great sea on the north; the intersecting waterways on the east gave access to the Great Lakes; while the Assiniboine, the bifurcated Saskatchewan, and the Churchill Rivers led across the great plains to the distant western mountains. Primarily these were canoe routes, and some of them have remained such for the. Indians; but even after the natives had obtained horses, the trails to the south and west followed the old canoe routes. When the white man came, he adopted the lines of travel and the methods of transportation which his red brother had found best suited to the conditions prevailing in the country. When he introduced new means of transportation, he adhered closely to the old routes. The canoe might be superseded by the York boat, and the York boat by the river steamer, but the newer craft followed the old courses on river and lake. The pack-horse gave place to the Red River cart and the dog-train, but they followed the old trails across the plains to the south and west and through the forests of the north and east.

Even the first railways, which came after long waiting, followed the old routes laid out by nature centuries before engineers and surveyors appeared with chain and level. Manitoba's first railway ran along the Red River to the south; the second followed the old canoe route to Lake Superior somewhat closely; and its westward extension followed the Assiniboine. The next road ran to the southwest, giving access to some of the districts formerly reached by canoes on the Souris River or by ponies following the trails along its valley. Years passed, and two railways have been built to take the place of the canoes, boats, and trains of Red River carts which once traversed the long leagues between Fort Garry and the Upper Saskatchewan. One railway is being constructed, and others are planned, to follow in a general way the old water routes to Hudson Bay. Port Nelson and Churchill, so long the objective points of canoes, York boats, and dog-sleds, laden with peltries, will soon be terminals of railways, over which trains will carry the golden grain of the prairie to the sea.

An outline of the early history of the Canadian Pacific Railway has been given in Chapter XLII. The Pembina branch was planned by the Mackenzie government in 1874 as a link to connect Winnipeg with the railroads of Minnesota ; but several years passed before it was completed. The first spike in the

road was driven on September 29,1877, the last on December 3,1878, and six days later the first train to pass over the road arrived in St. Boniface, which was the terminus of the line until the Louise bridge across the Red River was completed. As other parts of the eastern division were completed by the government they were taken over by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, and m the meantime it was pushing forward the construction of its main line to the west and a branch line to the southwest. By 1881 it had completed 163 miles of the road west of "Winnipeg, and that city had railway communication with Rat Portage on the east and Brandon on the west, as well as St. Vincent on the south. By the end of 1882 the western line had been extended to a point 586 miles beyond Winnipeg; 100 miles of the Pembina Branch had been built and 65 miles were in opera tion: 13 miles of the Gretna Branch had been constructed; and the company had acquired and was operating the Stonewall Branch, 22 miles in length.

By the close of another year 956 miles of the main line west of Winnipeg had been completed, and Manitoba had railway communication with the eastern border of British Columbia, as well as three of the North-West Territories. During the same year the main line east of Winnipeg was completed to Port Arthur, and this made Manitoba's long isolation from eastern Canada a thing of the past.

Before the end of 1885 the Manitoba South-Western Branch had been completed for a distance of 120 miles The Manitoba & North-Western Railway, a semi-independent line running northwesterly from Portage la Prairie and serving a very productive district, was begun in 1883, and by the end of 1885 130 miles of the road were in operation, and it was giving railway facilities to an important part of the province which was not served by the Canadian Pacific Railway. In five years more the North-Western was extended to Yorkton in Saskatchewan. Both of these new roads drew land grants of 6,400 acres per mile from the Dominion government and became important factors in the settlement of the unoccupied lands of the^ province. The Souris Branch of the C. P. R. was extended considerably during the year 1890, and the Glenboro and Melita Branches were completed. In the following year the Souris Branch was pushed forward 82 miles, and in 1892 an extension of 47 miles carried the line to Estevan. During the same year 18 miles of railway between Deloraine and Napinka were built, and 32 miles were constructed on the Pipestone Branch.

In the past twenty years the Q„ P. R. Company has extended its lines widely in the newer provinces, but it has not neglected Manitoba. In 1900 it acquired the Manitoba and North-Western and the North-West Central. Both lines were soon extended and made integral parts of the C. P. R. system in the west. In taking over these lines the C. P. R. Company acquired their land grants, a total of 1,396,800 acres. In the same year it made provision for building the lines from Waskada to Snowflake, from MacGregor to Varcoe, from Molson to Lac du Bonnet, and the line from Selkirk to the western shore of Lake Winnipeg. These lines have been constructed, older branches have been extended, and new; branches have been built in various parts of the province. The Lac du Bonnet branch added 66 miles and the MacGregor-Varcoe line 55 miles to the railways of Manitoba. The Stonewall branch has been extended to Arborg, 56 miles,-* the West Selkirk line now reaches to Gimli; a branch has been built from Lauder to Tilston, 28 miles; 41 miles of road have been constructed between



Forrest and Lenore; anil the main line has been extended directly from Molsou to Winnipeg to avoid the detour to East Selkirk. A few miles pf the line connecting Reston with Wolseley and a small part of the Kirkella Extension are in Manitoba.

Every new line of railway within Manitoba, which affords additional facilities for marketing her products and bringing to her people the imports they must use, becomes a factor in the development of the province. But, as Manitoba is situated in the middle of the continent and, until recently, has been shut off from the sea, every railroad connecting the province with the rest of the continent may be essential to her progress. For similar reasons the deepening of the St. Lawrence canals, the construction of new locks at Sault Ste. Marie, and the extension of the season of navigation on the Great Lakes are all matters in which the people of Manitoba have a vital interest. Thus the establishment of a steamship service by the C. P. R. Company was an event of importance for Manitoba. This department of the company's business was first organized in 1882, when it purchased three steamships—the Alberta, Athabasca, and Algoma — and placed them on the Great Lakes to do a part of the carrying trade of the west. In 1886, one year after its main western line was completed, the company placed three ships on the Pacific; and a few years later it established a steamship service on the Atlantic. The development of this department of its business has kept pace with the increase in its railway traffic, and it now employs more than twenty steamers in its ocean service, while more than forty of its vessels are plying on the lakes and rivers of Canada. Although none of these ships are to be found on Manitoba waters, the C. P. R. fleet is an important factor in the carrying trade of the province.

We have already given some account of the circumstances under which the government of Manitoba found it necessary to build the Red River Valley Railway, of the subsequent transfer of the road to the Northern Pacific Company, and of the construction of a branch from Winnipeg to Portage la Prairie and another from Morris to Brandon. In 1889 the Northern Pacific and Manitoba Company was operating 266 miles of road north of the international boundary. During Mr. Green way's premiership the railways of Manitoba were increased by 1,100 miles, and a part of this was due to additions made to the Northern Pacific lines. Soon after Mr. Roblin became premier, the government re-acquired the rights of the Northern Pacific Railway Company in the Red River Valley Railway and its branches and transferred them to the Canadian Northern Rail way Company, a new factor in the development of Manitoba's transportation facilities.

In 1895 Messrs. Mackenzie & Mann, railway contractors, acquired the charter of the Lake Manitoba Railway and Canal Company, and in the following year they began to build a railroad from Gladstone in a northwest direction. Before the end of the year they had 100 miles of road in operation, and in 1897 and extension of 25 miles took the line to Winnipegosis. In 1898 these enterprising men, having secured the charter of the Manitoba and South-Eastern Railway, began to build that road, and completed 45 miles of it within the year. They also bought the Tort Arthur. Duluth and Western Railway and the rights of the Ontario and Rainy River road. Then, at a point on the latter some nineteen miles west of Port Arthur, they began the construction of a line which would meet the Manitoba and South- Eastern. The completed road connected their Manitoba lines with Lake Superior and formed a link In another trans-continental' railway.

In 1899 Mackenzie & Mann and the various companies whose charters they had acquired were combined m the Canadian Northern Railway Company. In that year the line running from Gladstone was extended to a point 195 miles from + he town, and the extension made in the following year took it beyond the boundary of Manitoba, while a branch, 25 miles in length, was built from Dauphin to Gilbert Plains. In the same year the South-Eastern was pushed forward to Rainy River.

On January 15,1901, the Canadian Northern Railway Company leased from the provincial government the lines which it controlled. These included the Red River Valley Railway with its branches to Portage la Prairie and Brandon, the Portage and North-Western Railway, and the Waskada and North-Eastern Railway. The lease was to run 999 years. During the first ten years the company was to pay the government an annual rental of $210,000, during the next ten years an annual rental of $225,000, and $300,000 a year thereafter. The company had the option of purchasing the 354 miles of leased lines at any time for $7,000,000. The government retained a conditional control over freight rates on certain commodities, which could be fixed by order of the lieutenant-governor in council. To aid the company in the construction of new lines the government agreed to guarantee the interest on the company's bonds to the extent of $8,000 per mile in open, prairie country and $20,000 per mile in the rocky-region lying between Winnipeg and the Rainy River. Public opinion was divided in regard to the wisdom of the bargain which the government had made with the Canadian Northern Company; but reductions in the freight rates on wheat shipped to Port Arthur, on cattle and other products of the farm, and on lumber helped to reconcile the people to the change in the railway policy of the government.

The arrangement with the provincial government gave the C. N. R. Company railwav connection between Winnipeg and the south, connection between Winnipeg and the fertile country about Portage la Prairie, and access to the productive district of which Brandon is the centre, Only 19 miles of road had to be built to connect the lines terminating at Portage la Prairie with those terminating at Gladstone. This was done early m 1902, and about the same time the road to Port Arthur was completed ; and from that time forward the Canadian Northern Railway Company, possessing a fairly complete system of lines connecting the chief points of Manitoba with the head of Lake Superior, found itself in a position to do a large part of the transportation business of the province. The government's guarantee of interest on the company's bonds assisted it in securing capital for the prosecution of its enterprises and hastened the construction of new lines. During 1902 the 19 miles of road between Gladstone and Beaver, 33 miles on the Neepawa Branch, and 44 miles on the Carman Branch were built; and at the close of the year Premier Roblin could say that owing to the encouragement given by his government, 330 miles had been added to the railways of Manitoba, although portions of the new lines were not fully completed. The total mileage of the Canadian Northern system at the close of 1902 was 1,250 miles, and during the year its trains


had carried 12,000,000 bushels of grain to Port Arthur. The company was planning to extend its lines widely and to establish a system of grain elevators as soon as possible.

During 1903 the company constructed 44 miles of road between Neepawa and McCleary Junction, 20 miles on the Rossburn Branch, and an extension of 20 miles on the Carman Branch. In the next year the main line was extended 71 miles to Kamsaek, and the northern branch was pushed on 107 miles to Mel-fort, while the Oak Point Branch, 54 miles in length, was completed and turned over to the company.

In 1905 the legislature of Manitoba authorized the government to give the Canadian Northern Company special aid by guaranteeing the interest on $1,000,000 of 4% bonds, the proceeds of which would be used for the construction of terminals in "Winnipeg, and by guaranteeing the interest on bonds to the extent of $10,000 per mile for the construction of 189 miles of new branch lines in the province. These included a line from Carberry to Brandon, a line running east from Emerson, and a short branch running east from Winnipeg. The line from Brandon to Arizona Junction, 77 miles, the line from Clan-william to Rossburn, 58 miles, and the line from Greenwav to Adelpha, 5.1 miles, were built during the year; and at its close the C. N. R. Company had 2,400 miles of road in operation.

The Manitoba government gave the C. N. R. Company special aid again in 1906 for the construction of 35 miles of branch railways. During that year and the one which followed the company steadily extended its old lines and built new ones in various directions, and by the end of June, 1908, it was operating 1,427 miles of railroad in Manitoba alone. In the same year it obtained access to Duluth—a matter of some importance to Manitoba, as has been proved on more than one occasion since when there has been congestion of wheat consigned to Port Arthur and Port William or when the west has been threatened with a coal famine.

The steady extension of the main line of the Canadian Northern Railway through the Yellowhead Pass towards the Pacific coast and the extension of its other western lines in the provinces of Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia are matters in which Manitoba is interested. So, too, are the construction of the company's line north of Lake Superior and its acquisition of various lines in eastern Canada. The co-operation between the C. N. R. Company and a steamship company operating on the Great Lakes facilitates transportation to and from Manitoba, and the company's line of Atlantic steamships does the same thing for the province in a less direct way.

For a thousand miles the main line of the Great Northern Railway runs almost parallel with the international boundary and scarcely a hundred miles south of it. From the main line a score of branches tap the productive country to the north. Beyond the boundary lies a country equally productive, and it was almost inevitable that some of the branches of the Great Northern would be extended to secure a share of the carrying trade of this rich Canadian country. This was done without land grants or subsidies from the government. A branch line to St. John, just south of the boundary, was pushed north 73 miles to reach Brandon^' another branch, running to Walhaila, was extended to Morden, a distance of 14 miles; a third branch was extended from Neche to Portage la Prairie, 78 miles; while from Emerson access to Winnipeg was secured over the Canadian Northern line, originally built as the Red River Valley Railway, until the Great Northern Company could complete its own line to Manitoba's capital.

The Northern Pacific Railway Company evidently came to the conclusion that it had made a mistake in surrendering its rights in Manitoba to the government and withdrawing from the railway business of the province, for in recent years it has been bidding again for a share of the country's transport action and has been running its trains from the south to Winnipeg over the Canadian Northern line.

The rapid development of the west and the possibilities of the northern parts of Ontario and Quebec made additional railway connection with eastern Canada necessary, and in 1902 there was considerable discussion about another transcontinental road. On March 27, 1903, a petition was presented to the house of commons at Ottawa, asking for the incorporation of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company with power to build a railroad from Moncton in New Brunswick to Port Simpson on the Pacific. The road was to pass through Quebec, Winnipeg, and Edmonton, and branches were to run to Port Arthur, Brandon, Regina, and Calgary. A bill to provide for the construction of the National Transcontinental Railway was introduced into the Dominion parliament by Sir Wilfred Laurier on July 31. It provided for the construction of the road in two divisions. The first or eastern division, extending from Moncton to Winnipeg, was to be built by the government of Canada. The work would be commenced at once and completed as soon as possible. When completed, this part of the line would be leased to the Grand Trunk Pacific Company for fifty years. For the first seven years the company would pay no rental, but thereafter it would pay a yearly rental equal to 3% on the cost of construction. The government reserved the power to give other companies running rights over this eastern division of the transcontinental road. The western division, extending from Winnipeg to Prince Rupert, was to be constructed, operated, and maintained by the company, and it was to be completed in five years. No land grant was to be made to the company, but the government was to guarantee the interest on its 3% bonds to the extent of $13,000 per mile over the prairie section of the road and $30,000 per mile over the mountain section. The company was to provide the rolling stock for both divisions of the line. There was strong opposition to the bill, both in parliament and throughout the country, and more than one cabinet change took place in consequence; but the bill passed and came into effect in October, 1903.

As soon as the necessary surveys for the national transcontinental road could be made, construction began at several points and was pushed forward energetically. The government built its division eastward from Winnipeg; and the company, starting at Portage la Prairie, pushed its division westward across the plains. The year 1907 was remarkable for railway building in western Canada. Tn March of that year it was estimated that 5,800 miles of railway would be under construction between the Great Lakes and the Pacific before the end of December. Of this mileage 1,400 miles would be undertaken by the C. P. R. Company, 1,500 by the C. N. R. Company, and 1,900 miles by the G. T. P. Company and the Dominion government By September 3.011 miles were under actual construction. By October 40 miles of rails had been laid on the Lake Superior section of the Grand Trunk Pacific road and 135 miles on the western division, while three-fourths of the line between Winnipeg and Edmonton had been graded. From Portage la Prairie to Rivers, about 100 miles, the road was ready for traffic. By the end of the year 800 miles of grading bad been completed and some work done on 200 miles more, 470 miles of track had been laid, and 200 miles of the road had been ballasted.

At the close of 1908 the western division of the national transcontinental line had been practically completed to the North Saskatchewan; rails bad been laid between Portage la Prairie and Winnipeg; and trains were running over 660 miles of the road west of the latter city. As soon as possible the branch line from Superior Junction to Port Arthur was completed, and the Grand Trunk Pacific could aid in transporting the wheat crop of the prairies to the head of the Great Lakes. By the end of 1911 the road was in operation from Port Arthur, through Winnipeg, Portage la Prairie, Saskatoon, and Edmonton, to Fitzhugh, a distance of 1,472 miles. The road has since been pushed through the Yellowhead Pass, parts of the British Columbia section have been built, and the eastern sections are nearing completion. Some of the branch lines of the western division have been built, and others are under construction. That in which Manitoba is most interested is the line from Harte to Brandon, with its probable extensions west and south. The Grand Trunk Pacific has now more than 300 miles of road in operation in the province of Manitoba.

The possibility of navigating the lakes and rivers of Manitoba with steamboats was evident to the pioneers at an early date, and the Hudson's Bay Company took the lead in placing steamers on the Red River. The first vessel used on the river was the Anson Northup, renamed the Pioneer, but it was soon superseded by a large steamer; the International. This vessel reached Winnipeg on her first trip on May 26, 1862. A brief sketch of the development of steamboat navigation oil the Red River has been made in earlier chapters; and we have merely to add the fact that the Hudson's Bay Company also led the way in placing a steamer on Lake Winnipeg and that its vessel, the Northcote, was the first steamboat to navigate the Saskatchewan River. Another company placed one or more steamers of light draft upon the Assiniboine. They frequently ascended the river as far as Brandon, and in seasons of high water sometimes went much farther.

The greatest obstacles to the navigation of Manitoba's magnificent stretch, of inland waters were the rapids at the mouth of the Saskatchewan and St. Andrew's Rapids on the Red River. More than thirty years ago the people of Manitoba began to urge the Dominion government to construct a dam and a lock by which the difficulty of taking vessels over St. Andrew's Rapids would be obviated; but governments came and went at Ottawa, and the petitions sent to thein accomplished little for the improvement of navigation on the Red River. Surveys were ordered and reports made, but actual construction of works at the rapids was postponed from year to year. In the meantime, however, considerable dredging was done in the various channels by which the river reaches Lake Winnipeg. Previous to 1893 most of this work was done on the western channel, but the flood of that year left such a large deposit of sediment in this outlet that it was abandoned and dredging operations commenced on the eastern channel. The dredges could hardly do more than remove the sediment brought down by the stream, and in August, 1897, the whole plant was so badly damaged by a gale that little more could be done that summer. In the next year the work was resumed, and it has been continued since.

Public opinion in Manitoba in favor of the construction of a lock at St. Andrew's finally became so strong that the Dominion government could not postpone serious consideration of the matter, and in 1899 it made plans for extensive works to improve navigation on the Red River. These included a dam and a lock at St. Andrew's Rapids. The surveys were made and the plans drawn by Mr. Arthur St. Laurent. The (lam was to be 800 feet long and high enough to raise the water in the river above it 21 feet. It was to be built of concrete faced with granite, to have movable sections of iron by which the flow of water could be regulated, and to be traversed by an iron service bridge resting on the piers. The lock was to be 215 feet long, 45 feet wide, and to have 9 feet of water on the sills. The contract was let to Kelly Bros., and work began on January 18, 1900.

The bed of the river was cleared for a distance of 1,500 feet, several hundred cubic yards of rock were removed, and by September, 1903. the excavation for the lock was almost completed; but early in 1904 the government suspended the work and ordered new plans to be drawn. These new plans were not completed until August 1, 1906. They provided for material changes in the dimensions of the permanent and movable parts of the dam, for some modifications in the lock, for entrance piers of a new design, and for a railway bridge along the dam. Many of the changes were suggested by the action of a spring freshet in 1904. The new plans did not render all the work done under the old ones entirely useless, although the river had filled up a part of the excavation for the lock during the long period in which work was suspended. New tenders were called for September 10, 1906, and. the new contract was awarded on October 11. Some preliminary work, undertaken by the government before it let the contract, was commenced on August 14. The contractors set to work without delay, removing earth from the lock pit and hauling material for the construction to be done during the next summer. During the winter of 1906-7 a complete hydrographic survey of the Red River was made and much valuable information secured.

By the close of 1909 the excavation had been done, and much of the masonry of the clam and lock had been completed. The entrance piers were under construction. the lock gates were ready, and a part of the movable dam had been built. In a short time the dam and lock were ready for use, and vessels of considerable draft could pass readily between Winnipeg and the lake. The completion of this important work has given quite a marked impetus to traffic between the city and various points on Lake Winnipeg.

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