Construction of the Hudson Bay Railway : a history of the work and the workers, 1908-1930

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Frederick, Beatrice A.
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The study, Construction of the Hudson Bay Railway: A History of the Work and the Workers, deals with an important part of Manitoba's social history. It is the study of the astonishing feat of the many thousands of labourers who built up the grade, laid the great steel highways which opened up new avenues of wealth, and made the Hudson Bay Railway possible. The emphasis throughout is on the narrative. I have attempted to recount and explain rather than to analyze. The first chapter examines the geographical justification for the Hudson Bay Railway. Conceived in 1870 by the farmers to provide the shortest possible shipping route--direct from train to ocean--the proposed railway would facilitate transportation of grain from the wheat fields of Canada's prairies to the markets of Europe. For several years powerful eastern interests, although opposed by farmers and prairie businessmen, almost succeeded in having existing section of track torn up. Owing to the first World War, operations had to be suspended before the project was completed. In the mid-twenties, an upsurge in public opinion supported completion of the railway. Agrarian unrest was increaslng on the prairies, and the farmers' determination to be free of the CPR's control of grain handling led them to demand the northern port once again. A little but valiant band of businessmen "The On To The Bay Association" also put up such stiff...