British Columbia wouldn’t exist without the railway; the province was brought into the Canadian Confederation in 1871 in exchange for the promise of a transcontinental line to the West Coast. It was the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1886 that set off economic development in the province, created the city of Vancouver and spurred others to build competing lines.
In Iron Road West, Derek Hayes charts the development of the province through its railway lines, using a wealth of photographs and other visuals to show how rails were laid through the wild terrain that characterized much of British Columbia. As railways revolutionized the province, they inevitably incited fierce competition and personal hatreds, creating an exciting frontier-like environment that Hayes describes in vivid detail. The book also covers the emergence of the modern freight railway in British Columbia, including fully automated and computerized trains. An extensive section details our railway legacy, including preserved railways, locomotives and facilities that can still be visited today. Prolifically illustrated, Iron Road West will fascinate not only railway enthusiasts, but anyone with an interest in the history of the province.