Railway Nation

Railway Nation

Tales of Canadian Pacific, the World's Greatest Travel System

By (author): David Laurence Jones
ISBN 9781772033496
Softcover | Publication Date: November 3, 2020
Book Dimensions: 8.5 in. x 9 in.
304 Pages

About the Book

A riveting, visually engaging collection of vignettes highlighting the rich heritage of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Since its founding in 1881, Canadian Pacific has made an indelible mark on the lives of Canadians. Most commonly associated with its iconic railway, at its height CP also ran hotels, steamships, and an airline, and had myriad involvements in immigration, irrigation, resource development, war contributions, and international trade. It has been said that no other single corporation has shaped Canadian national identity as much as CP.

Railway Nation: Tales of the World’s Greatest Travel System is a compilation of more than fifty thrilling and historically significant stories based on colourful anecdotes and archival sources dating back to the company’s golden era. From the construction of the ground-breaking Spiral Tunnels on what was previously the most dangerous and accident-prone stretch of railway track in the Rockies, to the CPR-manufactured Valentine tanks that helped the Soviet Union fight off the Nazis in World War II, to the long and frustrating struggle of CP stewardesses fighting against sexist employment policies, this lively and nuanced portrait of an iconic company is illustrated with fascinating archival photography and will be an essential addition to any Canadian history buff’s library.

About the Author(s)

David Laurence Jones is the former manager of internal communications at Canadian Pacific Railway. A history graduate from Concordia University, he worked for fourteen years in the railway’s corporate archives, researching and collecting stories and anecdotes about the CPR’s rich heritage. He is the author of Railway Nation: Tales of Canadian Pacific—The World’s Greatest Travel System, as well as The Railway Beat, Tales of the CPR, See This World Before the Next, and Famous Name Trains.


Railway Nation is the most comprehensive history of the Canadian Pacific Railway and its associated enterprises that I’ve ever read. But unlike an historical tome, David Laurence Jones’s brilliant talent in blending fact, anecdotes, and images brings the book alive. Not only is this a fascinating story of the sprawling Canadian Pacific empire, it also highlights the roles played by industry giants as well as the railway “navvies” that turned the wilds of a far-flung country into a coast-to-coast Dominion. This book belongs on the shelves of our nation’s libraries.” —Terry Gainer, author of When Trains Ruled the Rockies
“David Laurence Jones has captured the magic of a time when travel via Canadian Pacific was an integral part of life in the young Dominion. From the company’s extraordinary contribution to the winning of two world wars, to the excitement of professional hockey and football teams riding the rails to national championship games, to the airline’s first flight attendants, who were trained in how to fuel the aircraft, there is something of interest here for everyone.” —Barry Lane, author of Canadian Pacific: The Golden Age of Travel
“Who knew that as late as 1947 CPR used enough ice to fill an eighty-mile-long train, or that the railway’s high-class transcontinental trains served a fish that was once used for dog food and fertilizer? These are just two of the hundreds of unusual facts you’ll discover in this delightful romp through some of the lesser known stories of CPR.” —Derek Hayes, author of Iron Road West: An Illustrated History of British Columbia’s Railways
“With enjoyable prose and riveting photos, Jones tackles tales of the fledgling company’s growth into a powerhouse that covered the nation, and eventually the globe. A captivating read." —Brian Antonson, co-author of Slumach’s Gold and Whistle Posts West: Railway Tales from British Columbia, Alberta, and Yukon
"This very readable book charts the many impacts Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) has had on the lives of Canadians throughout history. Jones highlights the ways in which CPR, including its hotels, steamships, and airlines, brought Canadians together and helped build the nation. Jones presents archival material in an engaging and relatable way, with captivating stories and anecdotes transporting readers into the vibrant history of the railway."
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