CP to the East - the International Division of Maine
About the Canadian Railroad Historical Association (C.R.H.A.) Book Award:
Each year the C.R.H.A. invites nominations for awards in the categories of Lifetime Achievement, Preservation, Articles in a C.R.H.A. publication and in a non-C.R.H.A. publication, a Book, and Multimedia.
The Book Award is "in recognition of outstanding accomplishment", and the recipient of the Award receives a certificate from the Association to acknowledge the author's contribution to railway heritage. The credit for this award is gratefully shared with everyone who made the publication of this work possible; as recognized in the "Editor's Foreword and Acknowledgments", and with Ian Cranstone, who designed this book and its cover.
For more information about the C.R.H.A, please visit http://www.exporail.org, and for a list of past recipients in all categories, please click here.
Canadian Pacific to the East - the International of Maine Division is a book researched and written by the late Omer Lavallée, that I have edited for the Bytown Railway Society. Omer is remembered with great affection and respect by a generation or more of rail fans, railway historians, colleagues at the CPR, and by many other people in all walks of life who had occasion to meet him, or just to know of him. In his time he was CPR's historian and archivist, but to many he was also a leading railway historian, if not Canada's chief railway historian. Omer died suddenly and prematurely, shortly after completing the manuscript for this book. After his death, this manuscript was acquired by the Bytown Railway Society of Ottawa.
It was a privilege to prepare this work for publication, not only in Omer's memory and honour, but also to provide the satisfaction of completion and closure for those who remember the railway, and also for those who originally assisted Omer in this book's preparation.
Thumbnail of the Subject Matter
While the driving of the last spike in the CPR's transcontinental railway on November 7, 1885 in Eagle Pass, British Columbia, marked the completion of the line of railway between Montreal and the Pacific coast, it fell somewhat short of making the Canadian Pacific a railway from ocean to ocean in the literal sense.
Clearly, it was in the railway's interest not only to gain access to an Atlantic coast port, but also to provide a shorter route for passengers and freight moving between central Canada and the maritime provinces. That route was found across the State of Maine, and the last rail which made the Canadian Pacific truly a railway from ocean to ocean, was laid December 10, 1888 at Packard Brook, twelve miles east of Brownville Junction, Maine.
Maine, Quebec & New Brunswick
The International Railway Company of Maine is almost unknown even among those most familiar with railways. The term "International of Maine" was intended by the author to refer to the incorporated company. Although the book is substantially devoted to operations in the State of Maine, it is not exclusively so, as it also covers history and operations of the line in adjacent Quebec and New Brunswick to complete an understanding of what came to be known as the CPR's major "Short Line".
The term "Short Line" was used by CP to identify a route which was shorter than some other route. In this case it was to signify that the CPR route was shorter than the Intercolonial Railway route to the Maritimes.
Ronald S. Ritchie, who wrote the original Foreword, has this to say:
"The story of how the goal of a railway from ocean to ocean was achieved is a gripping one indeed. Omer Lavallée was corporate historian emeritus and archivist of Canadian Pacific Limited and the dean of railway historians in Canada. During his lifetime he produced many excellent works on matters of railway interest. This manuscript was finished just before his untimely death, and this book is no exception to that standard of excellence. It brings to light an area of virtually unknown railway history, thoroughly researched in Omer's traditional style. The story is told with an appreciation of the politics and flavour of the day, and with an attention to detail that makes this book, complete with appendixes, endnotes and a general index, invaluable to anyone interested in Canadian or United States railway history."
The story of the Short Line has been brought up-to-date to 1995, when the CPR finally dispossessed itself of the International of Maine, and from there on to 2005. There are 356 photographs and 24 maps, with the majority of photographs being from the Omer Lavallée (OL) and Ronald S. Ritchie (RR) Collections, but significantly augmented from a number of other well-known railway photographers, including Jim Shaughnessy and the late Dr. Philip Hastings.. Also included is an accompanying Railway Post Office history, complete with illustrated cancellation marks, provided courtesy of Ross Gray, RPO historian.
Altogether an indispensable reference work, as well as a simply good read — with all those marvellous photographs to stir the memories.