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Transportation Company - Pacific Great Eastern - Railroad

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Transportation Company - Pacific Great Eastern - Railroad
Company Name Pacific Great Eastern
Company Web Site Link
Category Railroad
Year Founded 1912
Final Year of Operation 1972
Termination Name Change
Successor/Parent British Columbia (Details)
Country Canada (Details)
Source of Text Bluford Shops
Text Credit URL Link
Transportation Company - Pacific Great Eastern - Railroad



Company History: PGE launched in 1912 with a 12 mile line from North Vancouver, British Columbia to Horseshoe Bay where they picked up another 30 mile line reaching a point just north of Squamish. Six years later, the Province of British Columbia bought the railroad. By 1921, they had built north as far as Quesnel but that was it for the next 31 years. The south end of the line was abandoned in 1928.

In 1951, the Province pushed construction of the PGE north to Prince George in central B.C. and a connection with a Canadian National transcon line. This was the first physical connection with the North American rail network. Prior to that, interchange required car barges. In 1956, a rail link was finally completed to CN and CP in North Vancouver, finally closing the loop. In 1958, lines were built north from Prince George to Dawson Creek (and another CN connection.) In 1971, northward construction resumed to Fort St. John and finally Fort Nelson. This brought the mileage to 1,372 (putting it between Lehigh Valley and Iowa Chicago & Eastern in relative size.) The following year, 1972, the Pacific Great Eastern became the British Columbia Railway.

Successor/Parent History:
BC Rail (reporting mark BCOL, BCIT), known as the British Columbia Railway between 1972 and 1984 and as the Pacific Great Eastern Railway (PGE) before 1972, was a railway that operated in the Canadian province of British Columbia between 1912 and 2004. It was a class II regional railway and the third-largest in Canada, operating 2,320 km (1,440 mi) of mainline track. Its operations were owned by the public as a crown corporation from 1918 until 2004, when the provincial government leased operations for 999 years to CN. The track and other assets, including a marine division and stevedoring subsidiary as well as large tracts of real estate, remain under public ownership. 40 km of track serving the Roberts Bank Superport that were scheduled to be sold to OmniTRAX remain under BC Rail management due to that sale being cancelled because of the transaction being tainted by an influence-peddling and bribery scandal resulting in convictions in 2010. The provincial government, which promised when originally elected to never sell the railway, has announced that the crown corporation and its remaining operations and assets would be "wound down" and taken over by various departments of the Ministry of Transportation The details of the sale/lease to CN, which are related to the OmniTRAX affair, have become the subject of protracted public inquiry as part of the proceedings of the trial surrounding a scandal known as the British Columbia Legislature Raids Affair, or "Railgate". Government leaders and civil servants involved with the arrangements to CN have refused to comment on the deal because the matter "is before the courts".

Chartered in 1912, the railway was acquired by the provincial government in 1918 after running into financial difficulties. A railway that ran "from nowhere, to nowhere" for over 30 years, neither passing through any major city nor interchanging with any other railway, its southern terminus was at Squamish and its northern terminus at Quesnel during that period. It expanded significantly between 1949 and 1984. Primarily a freight railway, it also offered passenger service, as well as some excursion services, most notably the Royal Hudson excursion train. The railway's operations only reached profitability in 1980, due to large capital and operating debts, which were intended as subsidies to develop and sustain mining and timber economies and employment in the regions it accessed, though during the 1980s it regularly posted significant profits, contributing to the public treasury significantly, and maintained a lower operating debt than any of the continent's other major railways. The railway's operations and management, as one of the province's largest crown corporations, have necessarily been at the centre of public debate since its takeover. Notably, as example, the Social Credit governments of WAC Bennett and his son Bill Bennett forgave the railways' capital debts in 1954 and 1979, respectively, with bookkeeping matters related to that bringing much criticism. The current provincial government has been accused of fabricating falsehoods about the state of its debts and viability in order to justify the deal with CN, claiming the railway was in disarray. Other participants in the bidding process withdrew their bids, saying that CN had unfair access to confidential information about their own operations, provided by the government, and at least one bidder (Canadian Pacific) privately stated in since-released communications that the bid was "rigged". Controversy over CN's management of the line has focused on layoffs, toxic spills and other safety concerns, and cuts in service to some regions. The line has generated profits for CN in the range of $25 million per year since its takeover of the railway's operations.

Brief History:
Canada is a North American country stretching from the U.S. in the south to the Arctic Circle in the north. Major cities include massive Toronto, west coast film centre Vancouver, French-speaking Montréal and Québec City, and capital city Ottawa. Canada's vast swaths of wilderness include lake-filled Banff National Park in the Rocky Mountains. It's also home to Niagara Falls, a famous group of massive waterfalls.


Item Links: We found: 2 different collections associated with Pacific Great Eastern - Railroad
Item created by: gdm on 2017-10-10 09:57:53. Last edited by gdm on 2021-05-09 12:41:03

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