Home Books

The People’s Railway: Seventy Years of Canadian National

The railway hysteria that swept this country in the late nineteenth century left Canada with more railway miles per capita than any other country in the world. But when economic times turned bad, many of these railways began to fail. The Borden government stepped in, combining bankrupt private enterprise lines and unprofitable, patronage ridden government lines into a single large Crown corporation: Canadian National. This fascinating history describes the company’s uphill battle against mountainous debt and its constant struggle to make a profit while also acting as an agent for national development. The CN story is filled with colourful characters like Sir Henry Thornton, the charismatic American brought in by Mackenzie King to pit the railway against the glamourous, privately owned CPR. Lavishly illustrated with black and white photographs documenting the CN since its beginnings, this book is more than the history of a railway – it is also the history of a country.

About the book