Although many thought it was nearly impossible to build such a railroad, Sir John A Macdonald had made a promise to the people of British Columbia. Soon after the promise, started the "Pacific Scandal" caused by Macdonald’s Conservative government, bribing private financers. This is one of the major reasons Macdonald lost the election in 1873 to the Liberals. After the Liberals came to power, interest in the railroad was lost. In 1878 Macdonald was re-elected and construction on the railroad had started again. The 10 year deadline was quickly approaching and Macdonald needed to do something to show the province that construction was under way.
To show progress on the railroad was a go, workers started building tracks. Over the next seven years 15,000 men, including
many Chinese labourers, built 545 km of track in British Columbia from Port Moody to Eagle Pass on less then $1.50 a day. The work was dangerous and tracks were built through some of the most treacherous geography
in the Fraser Canyon. Many workers lost their lives through construction on this section, but it showed B.C. the railroad was on its way. Because Canada kept its promise to B.C. they remained as part of the country.
Conquering the mountains:
The dream of this railroad was slowly coming a reality, but they would soon have to face their biggest problem yet, the
mountains. Because these tracks were built so long ago they didn't have the technology or equipment we do today. It took them
a long time but in the early 1880's Major A.B. Rogers found a pass crossing the Selkirk Mountains, they named it Rogers Pass. Nowadays the CPR uses tunnels to go through mountains and the Rogers Pass is now being used as part of the Trans Canada Highway.
Birth of the CPR
Since western Canada had a handle of the railroad, the east soon got involved. A group of investors gave the money to start building tracks starting in the east and moving towards the west. On February 16th 1881 the Canadian governer declared the CPR "Official" and the company was born.