Piedmont and Western Railroad Club

Craigellachie, Site of the Completion of the Trans-Canada Railroad

by Ken Humphreys

The US Trans-Continental Railroad was completed on May 10, 1869 but it took more than 16 years before a railroad was completed across Canada. Canadian Pacific Railway accomplished that feat on November 7, 1885 with the driving of a ceremonial last spike at Craigellachie, British Columbia about 100 miles to the west of the infamous 4.5 percent grade, the "Big Hill." Unlike the US "Golden Spike" site in Utah, the Canadian site is not particularly ornate. It is more similar to a roadside rest area like those along many US Interstate highways. The location is marked by a simple stone cairn, a caboose, a few signs, and a small gift shop. The completion of the railroad was as momentous for Canada as was the Trans-Continental Railroad to the United States but the commemoration of the event is much more subdued in Canada.

Some of the photos here were taken in May 2004 from the Rocky Mountaineer eastbound to Banff, Alberta. Other photos were taken from the Trans-Canada Highway in August 2006. Click on an image below to see its full sized version. Hit your back button to return and view the next photo. All images are copyrighted by Ken Humphreys.

The Craigellachie location sign as seen from the passing Rocky Mountaineer
Visitors center and gift shop
The Craigellachie monument
The monument as seen from the Rocky Mountaineer
Plaque marking the historic site of Cragellachie
A sign showing an artist's depiction of the driving of the final spike on November 7, 1885. Note that the spike was plain iron, not gold as with the US ceremony.
The sole piece of railroad equipment at the site, tired Canadian Pacific caboose #437336

Prototype Images - Page 1
Prototype Images - Page 2
Prototype Images - Page 3
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