Monday, April 7, 2014

100th Anniversay: Last Spike on the Grand Trunk Pacific

April has a special meaning this year for students of Grand Trunk Pacific’s Western Expansion from Winnipeg to Prince Rupert British Columbia.

Today, April 7th, Rail Fans commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Last Spike Ceremony at Burns Lake in 1914.

My associate, Chantal, will be riding the train over the Skeena Subdivision,from Terrace to Prince Rupert.

She writes; “As to the train on Monday, it's the regular VIA run, with a added coach or two extra for the Rail Tour group. Our group booked 20 seats at least a month ago because we heard the regular coach was going to be full, which we now understand it is. Our fare for 20 people is $45.00 each, return. [Terrace to Prince Rupert BC]

“The train is doing its usual thing on Mondays. It will arrive late Monday evening and return Wed. morning. “We have Tuesday in Prince Rupert to sight see. We'll be going to the museum, the Kwinitsa station and the Pacific Cannery, all with the other group. At the cannery there will be a tour, dinner and some presentations by the P.R. Archives and the library Archives.

“We will be bringing two slideshows with us, one of me entitled The Railroader's Daughter where a film company from Victoria interviewed me on the train to Smithers a few years ago. The other is of archival photos of the region, including your stations.”

In the “R.A. Harlow Letter,” the Grand Trunk surveyor details his involvement in the Last Spike Ceremony, confirming the date and location of that exciting event.

This month, as we celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Final Spike on the Western Extension, I will feature the writings of another eyewitness to the construction project.  Frederick A. Talbot witnessed and wrote about all phases of construction, from the surveyors to the tracklayers, documenting his observations in "The Making of a Great Canadian Railway."